#AskTamara: Do you recommend Corning Visionware?

Do you recommend Corning Visions Visionware?#AskTamara

Question: Do you recommend Corning Visionware?

Answer: No.

Ok, while I could leave it at that I will elaborate.

First I have to address the fact that several people have confused me with other bloggers who DO recommend Corning Visionware, and I specifically have not ever recommended this product personally — because I have consistently found widely-varying results across the population of many similar – and even seemingly identical -Visionware pieces I have tested using a state-of-the-art XRF instrument!

So unfortunately, I am simply not able to say anything along the lines of “all Visionware pieces I have tested are lead-free.”, or even, “avoid this particular model or date range” — which is, after all, the kind of clear determination that my followers are generally looking for!

To learn more about XRF testing, click here.

My lack of recommendation is largely based on the fact that I have not found any way to draw a distinct conclusion for parameters that would dictate even whether or which of the pieces might be likely to be lead-free.

Here’s a link to share this post on Facebook!

Questions I have tried to answer:

  • Are certain pieces from certain countries of origin lead free?
  • Are certain pieces from certain years of manufacture lead-free?

This lack of certainty in large part aggravated by the fact is is VERY difficult for the layperson (vs. the antique and vintage Visionware collector!) to tell the difference between old pieces and new  – because the year of production does not appear to be marked on any of these pieces (at least not on any I have tested.)

To see more amber glass items I have tested, click here.

Do you recommend Corning Visions Visionware?

So… as just one random, NON-“representative” example, today I am sharing with you the small dish shown. This was purchased at a Portland, Oregon Goodwill store in the summer of 2018 for $3.00. I think it is a soup pot (like for making French Onion Soup? or similar?)

The markings on the back of this piece (on the handle) are:

  • Corning U.S.A.
  • 150-B 0.4L
  • 0 9

Do you recommend Corning Visions Visionware?

Here are the XRF readings for the specific piece pictured here:

  • Lead (Pb): Non-Detect*
  • Cadmium (Cd): Non-Detect
  • Arsenic (As): Non-Detect
  • Mercury (Hg): Non-Detect
  • Barium (Ba): 3,996 +/- 234 ppm
  • Antimony (Sb): 63 +/- 31 ppm
  • Bromine (Br): 204 +/- 16 ppm
  • Tin (Sn): 61 +/- 27 ppm
  • Zinc (Zn): 16,400 +/- 600 ppm
  • Copper (Cu): 187 +/- 64 ppm
  • Iron (Fe): 637 +/- 205 ppm
  • Vanadium (V): 1,164 +/- 130 ppm
  • Titanium (Ti): 14,300 +/- 700 ppm
  • Zirconium (Zr): 14,900 +/- 600 ppm
  • Platinum (Pt): 316 +/- 130 ppm

*Non-Detect = “negative”, within the testing limitations of an XRF instrument.

Note: just because an element is listed (because it is an element present in a particular manufactured amber glass item) does not mean it either is – or might in the future be – leaching.

My own work testing consumer items for toxicants (such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Arsenic) using an XRF instrument and posting my findings is not rooted-in nor confined to just concerns for leaching, nor is it equivalent to leach-testing.

Testing with an XRF instrument gives a highly accurate breakdown of the actual total content of the elemental metals in a consumer good — without any evaluation of whether or not these elements might constitute any toxicity concerns directly to the end user.

Obviously – and depending on amounts – in some kinds of coatings and/or substrates, the presence of one or more of these toxicants does in fact constitute a serious and immediate hazard. In the case of many items though, the risk of any actual exposure may be very small – or virtually nil – depending on numerous factors. But the risks of exposure to the consumer is only one layer of my concern about unnecessarily bringing products that have been manufactured with these neurotoxic heavy metals into my home…

The “nastiest” metals – again, Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Arsenic, in consumer goods are sometimes bio-available, but in many cases they have been “determined” (troublingly, often by the industry producing the item*) to not be bio-available.

*Or using regulatory standards & levels that were set – wholly or partly – by the regulated industry.

While the potential toxicity risk of an individual/particular product, as used by a particular consumer, may be nearly impossible to quantify (given the sheer number of toxic products we have in our homes), the inclusion of these toxic metals in consumer products seems irresponsible by modern standards.

Click the image to see the XRF readings for this piece too.

It’s also important to note that, regardless of whether or not a final manufactured product presents a toxicity risk to the end-user, using toxicants in the manufacturing process for consumer goods poses potentially extreme exposure risks to the workers engaged in materials mining and refining for the creation of the components used in the eventual manufacturing of the finished products. Not to mention the impact of these products at the end of their life-cycles, the impact on the families, local communities, and those poor souls (often children) who subsist through the repurposing and/or recovery from our steady consumer product export stream of used-up, broken, dead or simply unwanted “post-consumer waste.”

To see more Visionware pieces I have tested, click here.

In making my personal decision as to whether or not any consumer goods are safe (or an ideal choice) for my family, I look for things that are first free (ideally, of even “trace” levels) of lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium – and then expand my concerns to antimony and other carcinogens if they are present.

To see the XRF test results of this pan, click the image.

If consumers want more information I always encourage people to ask companies of cookware products especially IF the company has done leach testing and if those test results are available for the public to review. When making this inquiry, it is also important to know what metals the product was leach tested for.

I will be posting test results for many other pieces similar to this shortly and will also do a wrap-up post with all of the test results so you can compare different items and get a sense of my concern.

Please note: These test results that I will be posting shortly include results from at least one newly made Corning Visions piece (2018) that was positive for trace levels of lead when tested with an XRF instrument.

For my family I choose undecorated cast iron, clear glass and stainless steel for cooking.

To see products I recommend that are the same as or
similar to items I use for my family, click here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and also to share it with others!

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

Tamara Rubin

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