To read details about the concern for toxicants in vintage Tupperware products, I encourage you to read my original post on the subject here (and please also read all of the comments and responses on that post for the full conversation.) Thank you! [Please also scroll down to see all of the images – which include close ups of the product numbers on the item pictured.]
To see more vintage Tupperware products I have tested, click on the links below (these will be live as soon as each of the posts is up!)
- Yellow Vintage Tupperware
- Orange Vintage Tupperware
- Brown Vintage Tupperware
- White Vintage Tupperware [not live yet]
- Green Vintage Tupperware
When tested with an XRF instrument the bowl pictured here had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): Negative / Non-Detect (ND)
- Cadmium (Cd): 2,677 +/- 25 ppm
- Mercury (Hg): 15 +/- 4 ppm
- Arsenic (As): Negative / Non-Detect (ND)
- Barium (Ba): 2,921 +/- 73 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 131 +/- 36 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 392 +/- 11 ppm
- Vanadium (Va): 687 +/- 130 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,498 +/- 189 ppm
Other metals not listed were not detected with the XRF in consumer goods mode. Tests were done for a minimum of 2-minutes and confirmed multiple times. The above numbers represent one specific test results set from one single 2-minute reading (not an average of multiple tests or similar.)
Cadmium is a known carcinogen that is often found in red or orange (and sometimes yellow) cookware (plastic, metal, ceramic, glass). Please click this link to read more about Cadmium toxicity. The amount of Cadmium in this bowl is quite concerning.
The consideration here is two-fold:
- For those who are readers on my blog and NOT Tupperware users, you may not realize that these 40-plus-year-old products are still in high-frequency regular use in homes across America. Just because they are vintage does not mean they are not in daily use today – they most definitely are, as confirmed by some of the comments (and I could have perhaps guessed, given the frankly unbelievable popularity of my original post on Facebook — which has now been shared more than 2,800 times and reached over 94,000 people in just about 24 hours [click the image here to read some of the hundreds of comments on this post on Facebook ]!
- It is my understanding that common lore has supported the idea that these dishes should be considered “microwave safe”, even though they are made of plastic. This means food is being heated in the dishes and that, combined with the potential use of acidic foods in these dishes gives me quite a concern for potential leaching — especially over time…in dishes that (one reader told me) came out about 1972. Specific acidic foods of concern would include lemon juice (pretty much any juice, really), vinegar, tomato sauce, soups, etc…
Continue reading below the image.
In response to some criticisms on my original Tupperware post (about the yellow plastic measuring cups):
A handful of readers had asserted their concern that the measuring cups might only test positive for toxicants as a result of contamination caused by some sort of unusual usage with toxicants. While I did not expect this to be the case (based on my experience of a decade of testing consumer goods including hundreds, and perhaps thousands of vintage plastic items) I was excited to find this set of dishes (which the bowl picture here is part of) which help to disprove that concern. These bowls are in “brand-new-never-used” condition, and were sold with a tag indicating as much (at the antique store where they were purchased), yet the toxicant levels are comparable to those found in ones that have seen normal use and wear over the years. The toxicant levels are also consistent throughout the product as there is no paint or coating – just a uniform substrate material (plastic) that makes up the entire product.
As alway, please let me know if you have any questions. I will do my best to answer them personally although it may take a while due to the increased traffic on my blog.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts. I am not yet covering the costs of my Lead poisoning prevention advocacy and consumer goods testing work. If you are in a position to make a contribution in support of this work, please click here for my GoFundMe link, or click here if you would like to contribute via PayPal. I can’t thank you enough for your support in this way.
Karen Dawson says
What about the yellow canisters? I’ve been storing flour and sugar in them for YEARS!
Hi Karen, I haven’t tested any of the canisters yet. Here’s a full set of images of everything I have already tested. I will be adding to this post periodically: https://tamararubin.com/2019/03/is-my-tupperware-toxic-here-are-pictures-of-everything-i-have-tested-so-far-with-links-to-the-xrf-test-results/
Marianne Asaro says
Kudos for using XRF to look at metals plastics.
I am wondering about the two types of orange or yellow Tupperware bowls you have pictured that look very similar but are not identical. Mine say 1206-16 and were bought in 1984. Your test items might be older. I’m wondering if there is a time or models past which you stop seeing Pb and As.
Even beyond these bowls, do you see less toxic metal content in items released in recent years?
Vicki Huennekens says
Are the new plastic storage sets you can buy today, Tupperware, ziplock, or other plastic bowls made in China safe? Thank you
Since so many of my readers focus on using glass over plastic I have not tested a LOT of new plastics. That said I do have some examples here on my blog of newer plastic food storage items I have tested (that are negative for Lead)… check out these posts: https://tamararubin.com/category/lead-free-food-storage/