August 7, 2023 — Monday
Hello, Lead Safe Mama friends and readers!
Reporting the test results for this Uranium Glass is an interesting conundrum. The instrument we use for testing for elemental metals does not detect Uranium (nor does it detect or measure the radioactivity of Uranium or any other types of radioactive elements — you need a Geiger counter for that! And did you know you can actually buy a Geiger counter on Amazon?! — Here’s a link). However, the levels of Lead, Cadmium, and Antimony found in the piece pictured above are safe by all current standards. (Please scroll down to see the full XRF test results for the vintage “Deco-style” Uranium salt dish.)
This is really a good example demonstrating that just knowing the elemental (XRF-detectable) makeup of an object does not “tell the whole story” — and knowing the XRF-detectable metals makeup of an object should be just a jumping-off point in your inquiry as to whether or not you choose to integrate any item into your home (and life) as it may be unsafe for other reasons.
While the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (!) asserts that using or handling Uranium Glass presents “no recognized danger,” I personally am not interested in incorporating any “lovely, vintage, collectible” Uranium Glass items into my home or life — regardless of the likely potential for little-to-no-harm to come from these objects. For me, any completely avoidable potential risk (no matter how apparently slim) is not worth the possible potential impacts of that risk, especially when it comes to toxicant exposures that we can choose to fully eliminate or otherwise easily control.
Full XRF Test Results for the Salt Dish Pictured
Repeated multiple times to confirm the results
- Cadmium (Cd): 10 +/- 3 ppm
- Lead (Pb): 23 +/- 5 ppm
- Manganese (Mn): 209 +/- 91 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 568 +/- 63 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 1,023 +/- 35 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 91 +/- 10 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 104 +/- 3 ppm
- Zirconium (Zr): 297 +/- 6 ppm
- Niobium (Nb): 430 +/- 11 ppm
- Indium (In): 10 +/- 4 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 23 +/- 6 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 21 +/- 5 ppm
- No other metals were detected in consumer goods mode.
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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). Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).