I tested this vintage / antique glazed ceramic (made in Mexico) mug with an XRF instrument, and it had the following reading:
- Lead (Pb): 79,100 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.)
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!)
- To see more examples of items from Mexico that I have tested, click here.
- To see more glazed ceramic items I have tested, click here.
- To read more about the concern for Lead in dishware, click here.
- For safer choices for your family (specifically the type of dishes I use in my home and my guidelines for purchasing dishware for your home) please start with THIS LINK.
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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.