Published: July 19, 2022 – Tuesday
Well… Frankly this is outrageous (perhaps you sensed a little bit of my outrage from the headline). Why is this outrageous? Let me count the ways:
- It seems like in 1988 (89?) (the apparent year of manufacture baed on the embossed number on the bottom of the glass), they should have known better than to use high-Lead paint on food packaging, especially food packaging intended as a “collectible” — to appreciate, hold on to, and reuse…with targeted marketing overtly aimed at young children!
- All public agencies (international and U.S.) agree that there is no safe level of Lead exposure to children.
- No recall was ever issued on these products (that I am aware of), perhaps because they are not considered “products” but “food packaging” and – as such – slipped past anyone’s radar at the time. Not that this was illegal for food packaging in 1988/89 (or today for that matter) though – but there were some attempts to recall Lead painted McDonald’s glasses 30+ years ago (link)!
- Circa 1990, the amount of Lead in paint that would generate the determination that the paint is “Lead-based paint” (vs. alternate distinctions that might have included “Lead containing paint” or “Lead contaminated paint”) is that the paint contain at least 5,000 ppm Lead. Paint that contains 5,000 ppm Lead (or more) is considered “Lead-BASED paint.”
- Here in the United States, Lead paint was “banned” (“outlawed”) for use in housing in 1978, with the permissible limit for Lead in house paint that was set at that time was 600 ppm [so anything over 600 ppm Lead was declared illegal for use in areas of a home where children could reach or touch that area of a home].
- As science conclusively confirmed severe health risks at far lower levels, this limit for Lead in paint was – GREATLY – reduced. Current (modern) regulatory standards require that Lead in the paint, glaze or coating of items intended for use by children not exceed 90 ppm. This is the same limit for Lead in house paint today.
- I wonder – in this particular case – since it is a current manufacturer (Welch’s) that still has products for sale today if the company might have records from 1988-1990 and – if – as such we could determine which paint company made the paint that was supplied to paint these glasses? Which company was responsible for selling this paint to the glassware manufacturer who made the jars for Welch’s. I’m quite curious to figure out that bit of data! [For the public record – to hold that paint company accountable!]
What to do if YOU have these Welch’s collectible jelly jar glasses
- It seems (from the testing of the FIVE Welch’s glasses that I have done so far) that the range of Lead in the paint varies considerably (from design to design, and year to year – even from designs within the same series of the same year).
- Consequently, YOU (as a consumer) have no practical way to know if your particular glass is high-Lead or not.
- Unfortunately you cannot test them with a home test kit (reliably) because the home test kits have a low threshold of detection of 600 ppm, and are designed for testing for Lead in house paint (not Lead in the paint used on glassware).
- What this means is that even if you do get what appears to be a true “negative” with a home test kit, the paint could still be positive for Lead above 90 ppm (and under 600) — not to mention that it also could still have unsafe levels of Cadmium or other heavy metals- (and there are no home test kits to test for Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic and other toxic metals.)
- As a consumer, you really have no way of knowing if your particular Welch’s collectable glass is highly toxic or Lead-free, so we have to stick with the #KnowBetterDoBetter policy.
- Accordingly, my advice would be to simply stop using these immediately [I personally think they should be destroyed — as there is too much of a real risk that some child might use them in the future.]
IF you have a design that I have not yet tested (one that is not yet reported here – link), and you want to send it to me for testing and reporting (and to include in my “Museum of Lead” collection), you may do that. And in this particular case, I will not require a contribution towards the testing – but of course you are still welcome to contribute, if you wish. I think it is just too important, given the number of inquiries I have had about these over the years — and the extreme range of levels I have found across these first three I have been able to test so far (pictured above) — that we get some more data points (test more examples of these glasses), and get this information out there to the public, so I am extending this offer at this time in order to make that process as easy as possible.
Please send glasses to the address below and please make sure to include your email in the package so I can send you the results once the glass has been tested and the test results have been published. If you would like to make a contribution in support of this testing you can find out more about how to do that on this link.
- Tamara Rubin
- Lead Safe Mama, LLC
- 7933 SE 15th Avenue
- Portland, Oregon 97202
If your child has been using glasses like these on a regular basis, please consider getting them tested for Lead immediately.
- This article discusses the known risks of Lead and Cadmium containing paint on glassware.
- This scientific study from 2017 demonstrated that this was an exposure risk to the users of this type of glassware.
- This article discusses blood Lead testing.
- This article discusses hair and urine testing that might be ordered by an alternative doctor.
Full XRF Test Results for the “Pterodactyl” glass pictured
Reading on the purple paint of the dinosaur
- Lead (Pb): 103,600 +/- 3,300 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 2,706 +/- 149 ppm
- Tin (Sn): non-detect
- Mercury (Hg): non-detect
- Selenium (Se): non-detect
- Barium (Ba): non-detect
- Chromium (Cr): non-detect
- Antimony (Sb): non-detect
- Titanium (Ti): 35,700 +/- 2,300 ppm
- Platinum (Pt): 344 +/- 184 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 227 +/- 82 ppm
- No other metals detected in consumer goods mode.
For those new to this website:
Tamara Rubin is a multiple-Federal-award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. Tamara’s sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in August of 2005. 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 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 (and separate components) are each tested multiple times, to confirm the test results for each component tested and reported on. Please click through to this link to learn more about the testing methodology used for the test results discussed and reported on this website.
Amazon links are affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking on a Lead Safe Mama, LLC affiliate link, we may receive a percentage of what you spend at no extra cost to you.