Newly Purchased August 2018 Rae Dunn Ceramic Coffee Mugs from Marshall’s

These ceramic Rae Dunn brand coffee mugs (Made in China) were purchased at a Marshall’s in Portland, Oregon for about $5 each in August 2018.

Each has a slightly different finish, so one would expect them to each test slightly different in terms of an levels of lead found when texted with an XRF instrument.

To learn more about XRF testing,
click here.

I’ve chosen to test products from Rae Dunn periodically (when I have access to new examples) because, while many of their products are in the “lead-safe” range (a label I personally reserve for items that test at or below approximately 100 parts per million [ppm] lead when tested with an XRF instrument), in the past year I have found a few items from this brand with lead levels that I would not consider within an acceptable range.

I have therefore been curious to learn if this was more one type of product over another from this line (dark glaze vs. light for example or matte glaze vs. gloss) or if it was a random set of findings for just a few specific pieces.

To see more examples of Rae Dunn pieces I have tested,
click here.

Below is a description of each of the mugs with each of their related test results.

Read More: Can I test my dishes with a LeadCheck swab?

Rae Dunn “Calm” Mug
Description: Matte finish inside in out. Appears to be clear finish over white clay base. Black glazed decorative writing depressed into the ceramic.

XRF Test Results:

Back (matte finish) outside white side [no black writing within scope (=the testing window)]

  • Lead (Pb): 100 +/- 20 ppm
  • Cadmium (Cd): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Mercury (Hg): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Arsenic (As): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Barium (Ba): 360 +/- 61 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 17,700 +/- 600 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 1,290 +/- 196 ppm
  • Bismuth (Bi): 117 +/- 24 ppm
  • Vanadium (V): 607 +/- 75 ppm
  • Titanium (Ti): 1,201 +/- 123 ppm
  • Zirconium (Zr): 2,704 +/- 89 ppm

Section with black writing in scope:

  • Lead (Pb): 63 +/- 16 ppm
  • Chromium (Cr): 10,500 +/- 800 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 9,088 +/- 314 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 101 +/- 41 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 12,600 +/- 600 ppm
  • Bismuth (Bi): 120 +/- 20 ppm
  • Cobalt (Co): 3,008 +/- 240 ppm
  • Magnesium (Mn): 6,544 +/- 522 ppm

Rae Dunn “Home” Mug
Description: High gloss finish inside in out. Appears to be clear finish over white clay base. Decorative writing and flowers appear to be in the form of a decal (flat/not distinguishable from the background to the touch)

XRF Test Results:

Back (glazed) outside white side (no graphics in scope):

  • Lead (Pb): 32 +/- 11 ppm
  • Cadmium (Cd): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Mercury (Hg): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Arsenic (As): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Barium (Ba): 747 +/- 44 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 201 +/- 25 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 94 +/- 29 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 1,175 +/- 142 ppm
  • Bismuth (Bi): 180 +/- 16 ppm
  • Vanadium (V): 3,275 +/- 141 ppm
  • Titanium (Ti): 6,954 +/- 275 ppm
  • Indium (In): 25 +/- 8 ppm

Section with decorative floral decal in scope:

  • Lead (Pb): 995 +/- 49 ppm
  • Barium (Ba): 1,068 +/- 74 ppm
  • Chromium (Cr): 31,900 +/- 1,300 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 2,615 +/- 128 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 287 +/- 60 ppm
  • Nickel (Ni): 3,368 +/- 204 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 15,100 +/- 600 ppm
  • Bismuth (Bi): 122 +/- 22 ppm
  • Zirconium (Zr): 5,128 +/- 150 ppm
  • Cobalt (Co): 9,851 +/- 432 ppm

Rae Dunn “Gulp” Mug
Description: High gloss finish inside in out. Appears to be clear finish over white clay base.Black glazed decorative writing depressed into the ceramic.

XRF Test Results

Back (glazed) outside white side (no black writing in scope):

  • Lead (Pb): 78 +/- 26 ppm
  • Cadmium (Cd): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Mercury (Hg): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Arsenic (As): non-detect (negative within the testing limits of the XRF)
  • Barium (Ba): 1,858 +/- 153 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 6,714 +/- 316 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 508 +/- 86 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 2,224 +/- 324 ppm
  • Vanadium (V): 1,874 +/- 125 ppm
  • Titanium (Ti): 3,736 +/- 237 ppm
  • Zirconium (Zr): 26,300 +/- 1,000 ppm
  • Platinum (Pt): 295 +/- 107 ppm

Section with black writing in scope:

  • Lead (Pb): 108 +/- 18 ppm
  • Barium (Ba): 426 +/- 60 ppm
  • Chromium (Cr): 11,300 +/- 400 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 2,807 +/- 132 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 233 +/- 55 ppm
  • Nickel (Ni): 2,551 +/- 171 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 11,500 +/- 500 ppm
  • Bismuth (Bi): 62 +/- 17 ppm
  • Vanadium (V): 1,004 +/- 101 ppm
  • Titanium (Ti): 2,379 +/- 183 ppm
  • Zirconium (Zr): 7,531 +/- 211 ppm
  • Platinium (Pt): 199 +/- 62 ppm
  • Cobalt (Co): 4,908 +/- 289 ppm

Conclusion from these test results:

  1. The Rae Dunn white surfaces seem to consistently in the “low-lead”/ “lead-safe” range for glazes.
  2. The brightly colored decals are higher lead content (in the 600 to 1000 ppm range) than the white backgrounds.
  3. The matte vs. shiny white finish made a slight difference in the lead readings, but not significant.

To learn more about the concern for ANY lead in functional pottery pieces,
click here.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you for reading.

Tamara Rubin
#LeadSafeMama

Newly Purchased August 2018 Rae Dunn Ceramic Coffee Mugs from Marshall's

2 Responses to Newly Purchased August 2018 Rae Dunn Ceramic Coffee Mugs from Marshall’s

  1. Kristy September 15, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    It’s great to see that these tested in much better ranges than some others. Regardless, what about the high levels of chromium, zinc and other metals?

    • Tamara September 15, 2018 at 10:35 am #

      I don’t have concerns for those metals – but I like to list them when they are present, because it is interesting (for those interested in science and that sort of thing!)

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