Every now and then there’s a vintage find that actually doesn’t contain any of “the usual suspects” (5 neurotoxicant metals commonly found in the decorative coatings and/or substrates of so many vintage consumer goods) — Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic, and Antimony…
When tested with an XRF instrument this goblet (pictured here in this post) had the following readings:
- Barium (Ba): 2,649 +/- 71 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 15,800 +/- 300 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 257 +/- 77 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 587 +/- 36 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,176 +/- 61 ppm
Barium is common in brown, yellow or amber colored glass. It is both a colorant and a stabilizer of the glass. Some of the info on Barium out there discusses “Barium toxicity“, and I do not know the degree to which it has been studied as a possible toxicant to humans in an application like glassware (for drinking cold beverages.)
I would assume (based on what I understand as of the time of writing this) that there is minimal risk in an application of this nature as the Barium is possibly a non-toxic form (compound) containing the element and it is also likely bound in the glass (and is not present at a level that could possibly leach.)
For context when Leaded crystal is considered potentially dangerous that is usually because it has 200,000 to 400,000 ppm Lead (or more.) Lead (again, for context) is also not generally considered a leaching concern if bound in the glass at similar levels to the amount of Barium found in this glass. Correlating the implications of the Barium levels found in this glass to the potential implications of Lead at similar levels are purely assumptions of course, based on my own research to date. If you have information that purports to demonstrate something to the contrary, please let me know. [And again, as always, I prefer to see all food use products be 100% Lead-free, regardless of current safety standards and acceptable levels in the various industries that manufacture specific types of products.]
In general, I don’t like the idea of Barium in high concentrations in cookware — but I think in this application, it is likely within safe range.
This item was tested for a minimum of 120 seconds (two full minutes) using an XRF instrument testing in “Consumer Goods” mode. All test results reported on this blog are science-based and replicable. Metals not listed in the reading sets above were not detected by the XRF in “Consumer Goods” mode. All tests are also done on a freshly calibrated instrument.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.