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).
Published: July 18, 2023 — Tuesday
Below are the full XRF test results for the vintage crystal goblet pictured above (additional photos below as well). These etched crystal goblets (possibly from about 1960, as reported by their owner) tested positive for very unsafe levels of Lead, especially when considering the age and function of the object (over 10% Lead!).
Vintage or antique Leaded crystal goblets similar to this one have been demonstrated (through multiple scientific studies) to leach microparticulate Lead into the contents of the goblet, especially when the contents are acidic (like wine, juice, or other alcoholic beverages).
The crystal industry has consistently publicly shared contradictory statements (statements contradicting science) espousing the safety of goblets like these while silently (without ceremony or major public announcements) shifting to Lead-free formulations for crystal over the past decade or so.
While some may consider the following irrelevant (as one may not typically expect children under the age of 14 to drink from a goblet like this one), for context, I will share that the level of Lead in the substrate (base material) of an object made today and expressly manufactured for use by children that is considered illegal is anything over 100 ppm Lead. If this goblet were intended for use by a child and manufactured today — coming in at over 117,000 ppm Lead — it would be considered extremely illegal. Given a goblet is tableware, it is not regulated in the same way items intended for use by children are regulated, so it is NOT illegal at all. Unfortunately, that does not mean that a glass like this might not have the opportunity to poison a child. You can read a story (at this link) of a family I worked with in which a child had a mysterious source of Lead-poisoning that (after several hours of “detective work” in his home) we traced to a crystal glass his mother was letting him use every morning for his juice.
When glassware tests positive for levels of Lead below 500 ppm, it is possible there is no concern for leaching of Lead into the contents of that glassware. However, I always advise families that when glassware tests positive at levels of 10,000 ppm or higher (even though the leachability of Lead from lower-level Lead-content glassware is not as well studied as the leachability of Lead from the higher Lead-content glassware), it should not be considered safe to drink from at or above those levels.
If you have vintage glassware like this, it is best to set it aside (boxed up where it cannot be accidentally used) until you have the opportunity to have it tested either using XRF technology or other laboratory testing. While home test kits for Lead may work well on some high-Lead glassware, those home test kits have not been expressly designed for testing glassware (or other consumer goods) and are not likely to provide accurate reliable results on this type of item.
Bowl of Goblet
100-second test (repeated multiple times to confirm results)
- Lead (Pb): 117,600 +/- 3,000 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): non-detect / negative
- Tin (Sn): non-detect / negative
- Mercury (Hg): non-detect / negative
- Selenium (Se): 215 +/- 53 ppm
- Barium (Ba): non-detect / negative
- Arsenic (As): non-detect / negative
- Chromium (Cr): non-detect / negative
- Antimony (Sb): non-detect / negative
- Bromine (Br): 118 +/- 12 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): non-detect / negative
- Copper (Cu): non-detect / negative
- Zinc (Zn): non-detect / negative
- Manganese (Mn): non-detect / negative
- Zirconium (Zr): non-detect / negative
- Iron (Fe): non-detect / negative
- Platinum (Pt): non-detect / negative
- Cobalt (Co): non-detect / negative
- Bismuth (Bi): non-detect / negative
- Chlorine (Cl): non-detect / negative
- No other metals were detected in consumer goods mode.
Some additional reading that may be of interest
- More crystal items we have tested
- An overview article about the concern for Lead in crystal
- The link to the “Menu” of this website