When tested with an XRF instrument this vintage Tupperware brand yellow plastic “Cake Decorator” tool (a tool that one would use to scrape along the surface of the frosting to make patterns [something that I would bet $1,000,000 was often later licked by children wanting the extra frosting bits when mom or grandma was done making the cake!]) had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 1,283 +/- 29 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): Negative / Non-Detect
- Mercury (Hg): Negative / Non-Detect
- Arsenic (As): 135 +/- 21 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 184 +/- 80 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 461 +/- 55 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): Negative / Non-Detect
- Selenium (Se): Negative / Non-Detect
- Bromine (Br): 28 +/- 4 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 31 +/- 14 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 260 +/- 13 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 14 +/- 8 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 286 +/- 28 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 4,251 +/- 294 ppm
Metals not listed were not detected by the XRF instrument.
For context: the amount of Lead considered unsafe in a newly manufactured item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm or higher in the paint or coating and anything 100 ppm or higher in the substrate. As a result, by current / modern manufacturing standards this item would not be considered safe for use by children if sold and marketed to children today.
As with many other companies who are trying to deflect blame for potential toxic exposure to their customers who purchased their products historically, Tupperware has stated (to some of my readers who have made inquiries) that they have always complied with or exceed all government regulatory standards for their products. This is all well and good, except for the fact that, unfortunately, when this was manufactured there were no limits on total content of heavy metals (as detectable by XRF technology) in kitchenware. While some of the yellow vintage Tupperware brand items have tested negative (non-detect) for Lead your average consumer (you) cannot tell by simply looking which items might have Lead, Arsenic, Mercury and Cadmium and which might be free of these heavy metals.
As a result, I would recommend not using this item or any other vintage Tupperware items for any food use purposes. Here’s my post about disposing of items that test positive for high levels of toxic heavy metals.
For those who ask “What is vintage?” – generally vintage refers to items 20 years old or older. It seems (based on the testing I have done to date) that the Tupperware items that are testing positive for high levels of toxicants are primarily those from the 1980s, although I understand that by Tupperware’s own admission – any products made prior to 2010 may also have unsafe levels of BPA. Here is a nearly complete image set of all of the pages from a 1980s Tupperware catalog for you to look through to help you identify potentially concerning items.
Takeaway: If you must use plastics in your kitchen (and Tupperware specifically) please consider only using post-2010 pieces – and for other brands please look for labeling that specifies “BPA Free”.
If you work with or for Tupperware (or if you are a regular customer), please consider approaching Tupperware and asking them to address this concern (for heavy metals found in their vintage pieces) in a public statement. They have not yet done this since I brought the concern to the attention of the public in March of 2019 (with this original post about the yellow measuring cups) and the only response I have received as a result of my inquires can be seen on this link.
Mother of Lead-poisoned children.
To learn more about my story, please watch this 2.5 minute video: link.