Testing with an XRF instrument revealed this decorative Khokhloma wooden spoon from Russia to have the following ingredients (in the painted markings):
- Lead (Pb): 1,994 +/- 67 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): 7,624 +/- 148 ppm
- Arsenic (As): 70 +/- 36 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 607 +/- 107 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 489 +/- 73 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 327 +/- 47 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 446 +/- 29 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 35 +/- 12 pm
- Iron (Fe): 2,196 +/- 92 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 494 +/- 173 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 447 +/- 238 ppm
I am not at all surprised by this – as these are really just intended as decorative pieces, but I think it is very important to re-emphasize that these must be strictly regarded/treated as “intended for decorative purposes only!”
You can buy these on Amazon today (affiliate link), although I do not recommend having these in your home – given they were positive for (high levels) of lead AND mercury, and also contain arsenic!
Unfortunately, I have actually seen one of these used for serving food before – specifically for scooping candied anise seeds (intended to be eaten as a dessert) from a bowl. Please NEVER use these for food purposes and NEVER let a child play with this! Best idea: if you have one of these, put them in a shadow box and use them as a decorative piece, including a story about the artwork and the history of the piece on the box.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks Tamara . Who would think such beautiful pieces of vintage folk art would contain such poisons ?
I’ll be careful .
If you have a list of poison free khokholoma spoons or the manufacturers that produce them , I be happy to have a copy .
Ivan Mnih says
Thanks Tamara! We have occasionally been using such spoon to just scoop flour for some meals we cooked and fried… We’ve been stupid. On the other hand, we have tested our kids and ourselves for lead ~5 times throughout the last 5 years and we did not find anything measurable (<1ug/dl)… We also had a bit of lead in our water system anyway (1-2ppb). The spoon was in good condition without any visible paint chip loss. I assume a tiny amount of lead/mercury contaminated dust had escaped to our food, or even volatilized and was breathed in the form of particulate matter during frying… Perhaps, it's becoming much worse when the paint deteriorates, or comes in contact with hot food/liquids. Anyway, we threw it to the trash after I noticed your message. Thank you!