Question: What should I do with my vintage dishes?
I will post a more realistic, practical answer to this question shortly… but here is my dream answer:
A giant plexiglass box…
I have a lot of dreams and goals for this unusual (and often surprising, sometimes outright shocking) work that I do.
One of those goals is to someday have a “Museum” of household products that contain high amounts of Lead (and/or Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, etc.). This space would be a literal physical brick and mortar location where I can display all of the objects I have collected over the years that are high in hidden Lead and/or other neurotoxic heavy metals. Children and adults will be able to come to the museum and see many of the common examples that are sources of the – mostly normally invisible – unintended negative impacts of the industrial revolution on our indoor environment and our health and wellbeing – examples of recognizable, yet often highly-toxic everyday items found in our homes.
At this museum we will also offer XRF testing to the public (on a drop-in or send-in-your-package basis) and it will serve as #LeadSafeMama HQ of a sorts (for interviews, filming of related videos, classes on environmental toxicity and keeping a healthy home, and more!)
In the meantime….
Prior to finding a brick and mortar location for this museum (and prior to finding funding for the project), I do intend to continue the conversations I have been having for the past several years with representatives at art museums and science museums around the country about the creation and deployment of a traveling museum exhibit of a smaller selection of these pieces, that will travel from one museum to another, showing prime examples of vintage Americana — with each piece accompanied by a card listing the full XRF readings of that piece, and highlighting the levels of toxic heavy metals for each item. It will be an installation exhibit that is at once both science and art – a commentary on our culture and our history, as well as a bit of a retrospective on product design (from a toxicant standpoint.)
I expect this traveling exhibit will be ready for deployment sooner rather than later (refrain: “once my legal battles are over”), and will be accompanied by my book “I Make Women Cry & Throw Out Their Shit”* as a companion piece (as soon as the book is done!).
Back to the “Brick & Mortar Store”/Museum idea…. (a giant plexiglass box…!)
At the #LeadSafeMama HQ location I intend to have a GIANT Plexiglass (or similar clear material) box created. This box will be dust proof (so dust from inside cannot get out) and will likely be on wheels and a platform (so it can be more easily moved once it is full.) The box will have a hole in the top (or possibly on the side) – see image below!
Visitors who come to the space can bring their china to be tested. If it tests positive for Lead with the XRF instrument they may choose to donate one piece to the museum for display (if it is not a design we already have an example of). Then, if they like, we will then pay them $5 for each piece of their vintage china that they throw in the box and smash to bits (I will have a budget for this each year and get a sponsor to cover it, as I expect it will be a bit of an attraction!) So bring me your 20 piece vintage china set and you will be paid $100 to smash it to bits by throwing it in the box! Go to Good Will and spend $20 on a 20-piece set of vintage china and we will pay you $100 to destroy it! [One china-smashing visit per person! ;-)]
We will set it up so that if you want to violently throw and smash your dishes (for “fun” – to get out your anger — at the Lead industry perhaps? regulatory capture? or your mother-in-law, etc.?) that you can have them rapidly launched into the box, where any remaining shards will be pulverized! It will be a “piggy bank” of sorts, filled with broken leaded china – and will remain on display until it is completely filled up.
If this ends up happening, and we generate a box full of smashed vintage china, this box will then become it’s own installation art exhibit of course, but we will also look at ideas for what, if anything, “harmlessly constructive” could possibly be done with the material. I am not yet quite sure what the final disposition of the broken dishes will be – but collecting and breaking all of those dishes will serve both as a symbol of their toxicity AND will get them out of the chain of being a perpetual possible exposure source to humans (so people will no longer be eating food off them, and so they will not be tempted to hand them off to Goodwill or similar!)
The thinking is that this will also be such an unusual/”bizarre” idea that it may also generate some national and international news coverage for the concern.
All of this is just “ideas” at this moment, but I wanted to write it all down to share it with you (and also so I can reference it when the time comes! ;-))
If you have any resources that you think might be helpful in making any part of this dream a reality (the traveling museum exhibit, the brick and mortar museum / store space, the completion of my book*!) … please let me know.
Thank you for reading.
The stick figure is supposed to represent a full-sized human
to show you how big I want this box to be!
Loved this article. Your museum would surely catch people’s interest. So many fun ideas. Thank you for all you give to help others.
I have recently learned that some people have a difficult detoxing lead because of MTHFR gene mutations. Another reason is because they may have an energetic sensitivity usually caused by trauma to their systems so their body is reluctant to do the processing it needs to do to eliminate it and stores it. It’s no fun when you are one of these folks, because not only is lead toxic for you, but your body has more trouble eliminating it. Learning about these two topics can help people in their management of what they can’t avoid. Energy psychology work can help the body be more comfortable with detoxing. Likewise understanding how to live with MTHFR mutations can be a big help. I am sure other reasons will also come to light. Bottom line–I agree that we need to take every measure we can to avoid exposure to lead. Thank you again for your dedication to this work
Thank you so much for commenting, Jennie!
My son Avi (who is now 14 years old and was acutely Lead-poisoned at 7 months old) has the MTHFR issue (“double” / both types?) I am still exploring what that means for him and for us as a family. What was surprising for me was that our “normal” pediatrician (not a naturopath, but a traditional medical doctor) ordered the test for him and it was even covered by insurance! …so I think this consideration / concern is becoming more mainstream.
Bliss Grey says
Smashing toxic dishes sounds so therapeutic!
but until then, if I have no place to store the unsafe items that I have, what other option is safe? Should I simply throw it in the trash? I am considering retiring and moving, soon, what are my options?
I am a PreSchool Teacher. I will be sharing your Blog with as many parents, and friends that I am able to reach. Thank you so much for your work.
While Correlle dishes of all kind is selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars, you telling people to to bring them to you or smash them is that make sense ?? If there is lead , it is only on the designs like you said and most of the designs are on the outside of the dish or on the edge which mean the food will never touch it , also lead can’t leech off the designs unless is chipped or exposed to some chemicals.
In these days small children has special dishes made specially for them for their small hands..and mostly unbreakable.
There’s lot of stone ware dishes that have no design but are made with mixed lead / glazed with lead and actually people use them in ovens. With high heat the lead is sipping into food…. so why are you focusing on Correlle?? We all grow up on aluminium and terracotta dishes with high lead. It made me feel bad about all these people that read your article and now feel sad because they have to give up on something they got from their beloved mom or grandma ….
I hope you aren’t going to delete my comment, which I already took a screenshot of it
Hello Naidine – I am not focusing on Corelle. There are over 3,500 posts and pages here with test results for consumer goods of all types. Please watch this video that shows you how to efficiently search the website: https://tamararubin.com/2022/05/how-to-use-the-lead-safe-mama-website-video/
Please read this article about why the lead is a problem if it is “only on the outside”:
Please read this article about impacts on generations:
Please read this article about the symptoms of Lead exposure in adults:
Informed decisions are the best decisions.
Hi, I forgot to mention that in 2018 I came back from death after I eat a swordfish while I was on vacation on the beach. I had block of respiration, swelling of throat, glands & all my body was red like if I was sunburned. I was diagnosed with lead poisoning …
So lead can come from anything not just Corelle dishes. I have been using Corelle for 20 years but never had any health problem like I had with swordfish…