This post was originally published December 2, 2018
Updated December 1, 2019
When tested with an XRF instrument this Johnson Brothers “Fine English China” White Plate With Scalloped Edges was positive for Lead at greater than 70,000 ppm.
Why is this much Lead a problem?
For context, in 2019 newly manufactured items intended for use by children are required to be below 90 ppm Lead in the glaze, paint or coating. Dishes (new and vintage) are not regulated for total Lead content as detectable with an XRF instrument.Given the Lead-level and age of these dishes I would not consider them safe for food use purposes (especially in the absence of leach testing to confirm they are safe.) Nearly all Johnson Brothers dishes that I have tested have been positive for unsafe levels of Lead.
There is also a myth out there that if china is plain white is going to be Lead-free. This is simply not true. As demonstrated with this dish Lead can be present at very high levels in white china – in fact Lead pigments were originally available in only two base colors: Lead Red and Lead White. The high level of Lead in this white plate is – however – more likely to be coming from the shiny top coat (vs. the white glaze). When Lead is used as a shiny topcoat it creates an effect like coating a dish in Leaded crystal. To see more examples of white dishes I have tested, click here.
I’d like more information.
How do you do the testing you do?
- To learn more about XRF testing, Click HERE.
- To see more Johnson Brothers pieces I have tested, Click HERE.
- To see more vintage china I have tested, Click HERE.
- To read about the Lead-free dishes I use in my home, Click HERE.
- To answer the question “Can I test my dishes myself at home?“, Click HERE.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.