Introduction (for those new to this website)
Tamara Rubin is a Federal-award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety and childhood Lead-poisoning prevention and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children, 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 consumer goods 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.
April 3, 2023 — Monday
This gets so old — the story below is a typical example illustrating why Lead Safe Mama, LLC needs a legal team “at the ready” for when companies reflexively choose to respond in predictably stupid ways (like when they decide to “go after” us for using XRF technology to independently test items sent in by Lead Safe Mama readers and then simply reporting the results of that testing — unbiased, factual, replicable, clearly-articulated, neutrally-reported scientific data).
I am going to recount the story below as a simple timeline of what has transpired, to date — as it is really not worth my time to write up a whole detailed narrative about this. However, I will start with a numbered summary stating the main relevant points:
- Dowan is selling china that is (in general) “Lead-safe,” which as far as Lead Safe Mama, LLC is concerned, means it tests positive for Lead in the examples we have tested to date at levels below 90 ppm.
- A 90 ppm Lead reading is the strictest current regulatory standard (in both the U.S. and Europe) for consumer goods.
- This level (below 90 ppm for XRF-detectable total Lead content in consumer goods) is considered to be safe in the paint, glaze or coating of an item intended for use by children.
- We (here at Lead Safe Mama, LLC) use the 90 ppm standard as a point of reference when discussing all consumer goods because …
- 1.) currently there are no U.S. Federal total content limit regulations for Lead and other toxicants in most consumer goods manufactured for use by adults (even though there obviously should be)! AND …
- 2.) dishes (specifically) are not considered to be “items intended for use by children” by most regulatory bodies, when they should be — because children use dishes.
- Dowan is selling/marketing their products as “Lead-free” (in their marketing materials/packaging/website, etc.).
- The Dowan ceramics are not Lead-free.
- Lead-free means “zero Lead.” Just like “sugar-free” means zero sugar.
- Dowan’s products — as is the case with most ceramics today — contain trace levels of Lead (levels that, again, are safe by all current standards).
- What Dowan likely means when they use the term “Lead-free” in reference to their products is that they have tested their products (using leach testing methodologies) and confirmed they do not LEACH Lead at the time of manufacture.
- The folks who manufacture the Dowan ceramic products are confused (as many manufacturers of ceramics are) and have fallen into the common misunderstanding that “non-leaching” means Lead-free. It simply does not mean that.
- Dowan found out about Lead Safe Mama, LLC’s testing (testing done using XRF technology, which is distinctly different from leach testing and instead measures total content for metals like Lead and Cadmium) that confirmed certain Dowan ceramic products contain trace levels of Lead and Cadmium (at levels that based on the one item tested and reported on to date [in March of 2019] are considered safe by all standards).
- In response to these findings, which were actually generally favorable, Dowan representatives are:
- trolling my website
- posting disparaging comments on my article about their product
- challenging my findings
- disparaging the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC to their customers making inquiries
- “reporting LeadSafeMama.com to Google as spam“ (see below)
- and apparently (per the e-mail they sent to a customer — image above), “taking some actions about the authority of the Lead Safe Mama website” (whatever that means).
- My response to this nonsense of course (in true Lead Safe Mama fashion): I purchased some more of their products directly from their company’s website to address the challenges they are making about the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC and to see whether their new product available for purchase (2023) — direct from the company — continues to test positive for traces of Lead and Cadmium.
- Same old story.
- Nothing new here.
- Move along!
Here’s the timeline:
- March 25, 2019: (MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AGO!) I published my first and up-to-this-point ONLY article with XRF test results for a product marked with “DOWAN” in the maker’s mark. You can read that article here.
- As with most of the products I report on here on this website, I just report on what I have in my hands. I don’t do a deep dive into researching every company and all of their products. I photograph and test the items sent in by readers, and share the test results in an article on the website and then share the link to the article on Lead Safe Mama, LLC’s social media channels.
- I report the name of the product based on the logo marking on the product and sometimes (as was the case with the white Dowan bowl in question) I look the product up on Amazon in response to information sent in to me by the person who sent the product (in this case “Heather H.”) and share screenshots and links to the Amazon listing for the product as well.
- October 2021: A Lead Safe Mama reader started a conversation with Dowan asking for their test results confirming they were Lead-free. She got back assurances that these products were Lead-free, and that she need not “worry” about this concern.
- February 23, 2023: The above reader followed up with Dowan since she had never heard back from them with any actual test results backing up those claims after her final correspondence in 2021.
- February 26, 2023: A guy named “Bob” (later communicating as Bob in Customer Service at Dowan [see below]) commented on the above noted article here on LeadSafeMama.com, implying that it is not a genuine Dowan product — asserting “the logo is not Dowan Logo [sic].” Despite this comment, I have no evidence that the Dowan product I tested was inauthentic. I have no evidence either way to accept as true the comment from this person, but I published the comment anyway in case it turned out to be true and might be helpful to some. Image below:
- February 27, 2023: Bob with Dowan responded to the reader above stating the following:
- February 28, 2023: The above mentioned Lead Safe Mama reader responded to the above note (from Bob) asking to see the test results for the clay and the glaze of the Dowan products. She also noted that the logo on the bottom of her bowls (purchased in 2021) were different than the logo on the bottom of the bowl we had tested and reported on here on LeadSafeMama.com in 2019. Dowan responded by sending her some test reports — but not test reports that confirmed the product was Lead-free (only test reports that confirmed that the product was non-leaching at the time of manufacture).
- March 15, 2023: a different Lead Safe Mama reader confirmed that the Dowan products sold on Amazon have the “house” logo. Image below:
- March 30, 2023: Dowan sent the first reader the note at the top of the page, which is when she forwarded the correspondence to me:
- “Thanks for getting back to us and we understand your points. Please be 100% assured that these bowls are 100% safe when it comes to lead. We have been in ceramics industry for over 20 years and these bowls you purchased from us, whose materials are carefully selected, were calcined twice at very high temperature while most products in the markets are only calcined once. You can totally use them without any health concern. However, we know your worries as a customer and we have attached great importance to your case. Currently some actions are being taken about the authority of the website you provided for us in the previous email and we will let you know once we get updates on this issue. Thanks again for your attention on this matter. Have a nice day:)”
- March 30, 2023: In response to this veiled threat being sent out by the company (which I took as a bit of a challenge!), I purchased some new products directly from Dowan’s website so I could test them and settle the question once and for all about the Lead-content in Dowan ceramic products (regardless of whether or not they used to have a different logo, or whether or not items with a different logo are available for purchase on Amazon). The image below shows the receipts and confirmation emails I got for this purchase. Continue reading below the image.
- April 3, 2023 … TODAY: I received the colorful set of dishes (pictured below) and did some preliminary testing confirming that yes, they do test positive for trace levels of Lead and Cadmium (even with product purchased direct from the company/product with the NEW/”correct” logo). I will be reporting on the specific test results for each of the six different dishes pictured below in subsequent posts over the next day or two. Once those test result are published you will be able to find them on this link.
If you want to support the work of Lead Safe Mama, LLC in this particular situation — you are invited to e-mail Bob in customer service at Dowan and try to explain science to him (customerservice@Dowan.com). Although I don’t expect it will make a difference. Thanks for reading!
Owner — Lead Safe Mama, LLC
Lead-free & Cadmium-free statement on Walmart’s Site
Lead-free & Cadmium-free statement on Wayfair