One of my readers sent this dish to me because she tested positive for Lead – and was concerned that perhaps her dishes might be the source of her Lead exposure. Well… based on the XRF test results, it appears that in this case, her concerns are likely valid. When tested with a a high-precision XRF instrument, the bowl pictured here had the following readings:
Blue & White Center of Bowl (food surface):
- Lead (Pb): 63,700 +/- 1,900 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 1,840 +/- 150 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 3,722 +/- 179 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 583 +/- 176 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 752 +/- 83 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,850 +/- 157 ppm
Clear Glazed Terracotta (exterior surface):
- Lead (Pb): 46,800 +/- 1,300 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 1,547 +/- 128 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 3,319 +/- 167 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 2,088 +/- 260 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 726 +/- 71 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,628 +/- 130 ppm
XRF testing was done for a minimum of 60 seconds per component, and repeated multiple times to confirm the results. Results are science-based, accurate, and replicable.
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 dishes are not covered by this regulatory standard (even though it is my opinion that they should be — because children obviously use dishes!)
If this bowl was manufactured today with these levels and (explicitly) sold as “intended for use by children” it would definitely be considered both unsafe and illegal. If it were manufactured today and sold for use by adults (i.e. not explicitly marketed as “intended for use by children“), it would be considered perfectly safe and legal (as long as it met regulatory limits for leach testing of Lead – at the time of manufacture)!
I always recommend avoiding ANY food-use ceramics from Portugal. Nearly every single piece of ceramics from Portugal that I have tested has been positive for a very high level of Lead. To see more pieces I have tested that were marked as. “Made in Portugal”, click here.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.