When this Franciscan Desert Rose Pattern China (Made in the England by Johnson Brothers in 1995) was tested with an XRF instrument it came in at 47,800 +/- 1,400 ppm lead. It is negative for Cd (cadmium), As (arsenic) and Hg (mercury), however that is one heck of a lot of lead to be found in the glaze of a dish intended to be used for food.
What does this mean? Why is this number a problem?
For context; there is currently no federal standard for an allowable limit of XRF detectable lead in consumer goods like dishware. The only relevant federal standard for XRF detectable lead is in items manufactured for and intended to be used by children. The allowable limits for items intended for use by children are 90 ppm lead in the paint, glaze or coating and 100 ppm in the substrate (in the case of dishes, if they were children’s dishes, this would be the ceramic base of the dish, vs. the glaze.) Dishes are not considered by the industry to be “items intended for use by children” unless they are expressly sold and marketed as a baby dish set. ???Because children don’t use dishes? !!!
It is the intention of my work that there will eventually be a standard set for XRF detectable allowable limits of Lead in dishware and that it will be equal to (or more stringent than) the limits set for items intended for use by children. There is no logical reasoning that could be used to justify “allowable” limits for Lead in dishware that are higher than the amount of Lead allowed in children’s items. Children use dishes too, and that should be a good enough reason to mandate stricter regulations (for both new and vintage / antique goods.)
Is all Franciscan china toxic?
Pretty much, yes.
Franciscan China is generally (and consistently) VERY high lead, regardless of the year made, country of manufacture, or pattern. I highly recommend not having any in your home and if you do have some in your home that not ever use it for any food use purposes.
If you want to keep one piece of your Franciscan china on hand to remind you of your grandmother (or of a time gone by!) please consider putting it in a shadow box with a glass cover and please hide a note behind the dish (in case anyone ever breaks the dish out of the shadow box) that the item is high lead and should not be used for food consumption purposes.
Hands should also be thoroughly washed after handling these dishes as they most often also test positive with a reactive agent test (like a LeadCheck swab), which means there is likely available lead on the surface of the dish and that can easily wear off on your hands.
Continue reading below the image.
Note: Most Johnson Brothers china is also very high lead. Please click here to see more examples of Johnson Brothers china that I have tested.
Can you tell me more about the testing you did on this Franciscan China?
Here’s the full XRF reading set for the dish pictured:
- Lead (Pb): 47,800 +/- 1,400 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 559 +/- 98 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 342 +/- 40 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 1,078 +/- 65 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 146 +/- 36 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 1,014 +/- 206 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 1,531 +/- 113 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 582 +/- 68 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,150 +/- 114 ppm
XRF test results are science-based and replicable. Items tested for this blog have been tested in “Consumer Goods” mode using a Niton XRF XL3T instrument that gives readings in Parts Per Million (ppm). Tests are done for a minimum of 60 seconds unless otherwise noted.
MOST dishes (from other brands) will NOT test positive with a LeadCheck swab, but the handmade and handprinted Franciscan brand dishes are one of the main brands that consistently does test positive with this testing method. [Read more here: Can I test my dishes with a LeadCheck swab?]
How do you decide what to test and report on here on your blog?
I love testing specific items that people want me to test and in order to do that need contributions to cover the cost of purchasing these items (as well as to cover the costs related to testing these items.)
If you want to support my independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, please consider chipping in something (any amount helps) at this link.
IF you want me to test a specific item that will cost me less than $25 to purchase, please chip in at least $45 and send me a note about what you would like me to test and I will see if I can find it (there are a lot of antique shops on the blocks surrounding my home) and after I am able to test it (it sometimes takes me between 4 and 8 weeks to have items tested] I will post the test results here on my blog to share with everyone.
If the item turns out to be lead-free I can either offer it as a prize for a free giveaway on Facebook or send it to you (if you can also cover shipping.) If the item is leaded and is a popular and known brand I would love to be able to hold onto it for my “Museum of Lead” (and to use in my upcoming book!)
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.