Newer (c. 2015) large translucent blue glass marble with iridescent rainbow finish.
Given the nature of the way most colored glass is commonly produced, many marbles (and especially those with iridescent finishes) do have at least some level of detectable toxicants when tested with an XRF instrument.
Some actually have quite high amounts of Lead (Pb) — at levels considered dangerous for children by current/modern regulatory standards.
This particular marble is negative for Lead (Pb), but positive for Cadmium (Cd) and Arsenic (As). Here’s the full XRF reading set for the marble pictured.
- Lead (Pb): Non-detect (ND)
- Cadmium (Cd): 60 +/- 29 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): Non-detect (ND)
- Arsenic (As): 366 +/- 24 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 3530 +/- 382 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): Non-detect (ND)
- Antimony (Sb): Non-detect (ND)
- Selenium (Se): Non-detect (ND)
- Zinc (Zn): 1,528 +/- 79 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 2,468 +/- 105 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 589 +/- 98 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 4,514 +/- 935 ppm
While new marbles often have lead, my experience has been that older ones are more likely to have higher levels of lead than newer ones.
In my opinion NO amount of Arsenic or Cadmium belongs in ANY toy intended for use by a child.
A consideration with glass marbles is that they can vary significantly from batch to batch (and from company to company) — so testing results from one batch from one company might be very different from the test results for the same product from a different batch from the same company!
Said simply: In nearly a decade of consumer goods testing, I have never found any particular company whose marbles consistently tested lead-free (with XRF technology). Even companies who specifically market and advertise their marbles as lead-free do not have consistently lead-free marbles (based on the testing I have done!)
As a result, I do not recommend ANY marbles for used by younger children (especially for children who might put them in their mouth)—because the average consumer does not have access to an XRF to test for variations from batch-to-batch in order to confirm safety.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
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