For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-Federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead-poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals — including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic). All test results reported on this website are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Items are tested multiple times to confirm the test results for each component tested. Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
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Corelle brand Butterfly Gold pattern vintage (c.1970’s/ 1980’s) white glass plate: 18,700 ppm Lead on the decorative pattern when tested with an XRF instrument.
Originally published January 25, 2019
Updated December 1, 2019
How much Lead is “too much” Lead?
The painted/decorative elements on these particular dishes tested positive for 18,700 ppm Lead. For context, the amount of Lead that is considered toxic in a newly manufactured item “intended for use by children” is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint, glaze, or coating — and anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. Dishes (modern or vintage) are not considered to be items “intended for use by children,” and thus are not regulated for total lead content in the same way as toys and other similar children’s items (unless they are dishes expressly manufactured, marketed, and sold as children’s dishes after 2010).
Why is this much Lead a problem?
As both a mother of Lead-poisoned children and an environmental activist, I have taken the stand that there is no place for Lead on our dining tables (or in our kitchens). None at all.
It literally just takes a microscopic amount of Lead to poison a child (or any human for that matter) and there is currently (at the time of publishing this post) NO ONE studying the potential impact that eating off of Leaded vintage dishware has on the users (because no corporation has identified a direct financial benefit from such a study). Consequently, given Lead’s extreme toxicity, we need to err on the side of prudence and proactively remove all potential sources of Lead exposure from our homes ourselves, starting with the easy stuff like the dishes we choose to eat off of every day. To learn more about why Lead in vintage dishware is a potential concern, please click here.
- What should I do if my dishes are positive for high levels of lead? Click HERE.
- To learn more about XRF testing, click HERE.
- For a pretty Lead-free & Cadmium-free dish option, click HERE.*
Tests on this blog are done for at least 60 seconds each unless otherwise noted. All reported tests are repeated multiple times to confirm the results. Results are science-based, accurate, and replicable. The XRF instrument used in the testing is a high-precision scientific instrument specifically designed and intended for testing consumer goods for Lead and other metals. In most cases, the instrument used is the same instrument (same model and manufacturer) used by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to test consumer goods for Lead and other toxicants.
Here are the full XRF test results for the exact dish pictured in this post:
- Lead (Pb): 18,700 +/- 500 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 158 +/- 15 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 655 +/- 100
- Zinc (Zn): 231 +/- 37 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 188 +/- 49 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 423 +/- 150 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 4774 +/- 253 ppm
- Zirconium (Zr): 4625 +/- 150 ppm
- Platinum (Pt): 321 +/- 109 ppm
- Metals not detected using the XRF instrument in “Consumer Goods mode” are not listed
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts. To see more vintage Corelle patterns that I have tested, click here.