Introduction (for those new to this website):
Tamara Rubin is an independent advocate for consumer goods safety. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. Tamara uses XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for metallic toxicants, including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic.
When tested with an XRF instrument this 2004 Laurel Burch ceramic mug had the following readings with 30 second tests:
On the exterior decorated surface of the mug:
- Lead (Pb): 18,600 +/- 500 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 154 +/- 18 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 1,501 +/- 114 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 4,584 +/- 654 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 76 +/- 29 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 1,043 +/- 57 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 3,531 +/- 174 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 124 +/- 55 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 1,472 +/- 154 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 3,094 +/- 313 ppm
- Zirconium (Zr): 6,390 +/- 228 ppm
- Platinum (Pt): 283 +/- 125 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 3,347 +/- 260 ppm
- Manganese (Mn): 1,786 +/- 382 ppm
On the white handle of the mug:
- Lead (Pb): 526 +/- 36 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 1,070 +/- 77 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 85 +/-19 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 1,718 +/- 102 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 103 +/- 42 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 2,899 +/- 280 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 60 +/- 18 ppm
- Zirconium (Zr): 7,303 +/- 214 ppm
On the interior purple food surface of the mug:
- Lead (Pb): 834 +/- 104 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 57,800 +/- 2,600 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 1,191 +/- 612 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 72,800 +/- 2,800 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 721 +/- 116 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 1,034 +/- 306 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 100 +/- 62 ppm
How much Lead is too much Lead?
The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe and illegal in a modern / newly manufactured item made and sold for use by children today is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint / glaze or coating and anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. Ceramic mugs are not covered by this regulatory standard (even though it is my opinion that they should be because children also use mugs!) If this mug was manufactured today with these levels and sold for use by children it would be considered unsafe and illegal. If it were manufactured today and sold for use by adults, it would be considered perfectly safe and illegal.
Some additional reading:
- To read more about the concern for Lead in pottery and dishware, click here.
- To read more about the type of testing I do, click here.
- To see more mugs I have tested, click here (many are high Lead!)
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.