Glazed Ceramic Mug from Cuernavaca, Mexico: 86,600 ppm Lead (Context: 90 ppm is illegal in children’s items).


I tested this glazed ceramic (made in Cuernavaca Mexico) mug with an XRF instrument, and it had the following reading:

  • Lead (Pb): 86,600 ppm

This amount of Lead is specially dangerous in an item like a ceramic coffee mug given mugs are often used on a daily basis (by the same person) for acidic and hot beverages that are especially effective at leaching lead from the vessels they are contained in. I would expect a person who used a mug like this on a daily basis to be lead poisoned simply from that functional food purpose use of this item (from using the mug as intended.)

To see my recommendations for Lead-free mugs, click here.

To see more mugs I have tested, click here.

For context, the amount of Lead that is considered unsafe in a newly manufactured item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint, glaze, or other coating – or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate (in an item like this, the substrate is the underlying bare ceramic base material below the decorative glaze). 

[Dishware is not regulated in the same way as an item explicitly intended for children (unless it is both recently manufactured dishware and has been expressly made and marketed for use by children).]

Unfortunately, in all my testing to date, I have found that Mexican pottery almost always has very high Lead content in the glaze; it’s a rare exception that this is not the case. Mexican pottery should not be used for food-use purposes unless you know for sure that it is Lead-free (and if it is marked Lead-free that is by no means any kind of assurance that it is actually Lead-free!)

Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.

If you are interested in participating in the testing I do (and would like to send in some of your things for testing and reporting on this blog) please read THIS POST.

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

Tamara Rubin

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