I’m sorry, why is there lead in my dinnerware?

I guess it should have come as no surprise that my dishes have a lead glaze, after all if corporations are willing to sell baby items that contain Bisphenol A (BPA), and kids toys and lunch boxes that contain lead, then they would certainly have no qualms about poisoning me.

Luckily the FDA has our back! The FDA only allows a little bit a lead in dinnerware, after all what could possibly be wrong with small amounts of lead leaching off of a product? Well, what if you used that product every day, several times a day for years? What if that product leached more lead when it came in contact with something acidic or was heated or had something stored in it? What if that product leached lead into things that you and your kids ingested? Would that small amount of lead that the FDA allows still be acceptable to you?

Californians didn’t think so, and so in 1986 California voters approved the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act or Proposition 65 which provided consumers with warning labels on tableware and other products that exceed their new tough toxin standards. Standards that are between 5 and 13 times tougher than the FDA’s standards.

Not only have some manufacturers begun making dishware that meets or exceeds the standards put forth by Proposition 65, but other manufacturers are have gone a step further and completely removed lead from their products. Which begs the question: if some manufacturers can make lead-free products, why can’t they all? I wonder how fast manufacturers would switch to lead-free glazes if consumers started demanding it?

So who are these manufacturers that meet the Proposition 65 standards or produce completely lead-free dinnerware? Well I don’t know yet, for reasons beyond me they they don’t really advertise that they are less-toxic. I have contacted the following manufacturers about whether any of their dinnerware patterns are lead free:

  • Corelle
  • Mikasa
  • Lenox
  • Homer Laughlin China Co.
  • Dansk
  • Dudson
  • Pfaltzgraff

We will see who responds. In the meantime, Environmental Defense provides and a Dish Owner’s Guide for people who are concerned about their existing dinnerware, a Dish Buyer’s Guide for people who are looking to purchase new dinnerware and of course information about the Health Impacts of Lead for people who don’t want to be able to sleep at night.

Update: Find out which manufacturers claim to be lead-free! Checkout the follow up post: There is no more lead in MY dinnerware… I think…

19 Responses to “I’m sorry, why is there lead in my dinnerware?”

  1. Christy Says:

    Did you hear back from these companies? I’m interested in Corelle’s response!


  2. Joan Rummell Says:

    I’d like to know too. I own newer Pfaltzgraff dishes.


  3. zakary Says:

    Hello Christy and Joan, thank you for your interest, I have published the follow-up post: There is no more lead in MY dinnerware… I think…


  4. Victoria Says:

    I’ve been researching this for several days and the only ceramic type product I have found that is actually advertised as lead-free is Homer Laughlin China. I also found a list that shows low-lead products at:
    http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/111/dishes


  5. zakary Says:

    Isn’t it amazing how hard it is to find a company that actually openly states it is lead-free. I searched forever and only found Homer Laughlin China Co talking about being lead-free, which is why I contacted some other companies directly.

    I wonder if we will slowly start to see companies become more eager to inform their potential customers after the rash of lead recalls this year?


  6. Christy Says:

    I’ve heard that Fiesta Ware says right on it 100% lead free. Haven’t verified that myself though.


  7. zakary Says:

    Hello Christy, what you have heard about Fiesta Dinnerware being lead-free is correct – or at least it is lead-free according to the manufacturer. Fiesta Dinnerware is the major product of Homer Laughlin China Co.


  8. Adele Says:

    I am just now beginning to research lead free dinnerware and feel like I need to be a PI. All of your comments are helpful – keep them coming.


  9. patricia bersano Says:

    I have had my pfaltzgraff dinnerware for sometime, and find the glaze is wearing thin, and notice a “black” coloring coming through. I’m very worried that this is a lead base…my food,etc.,is subject to this. Please advise as to getting rid of these dishes.


  10. patricia bersano Says:

    I have had my pfaltzgraff dishes for sometime and notice that there is a “black” coloring coming through. Could this be lead? I’m very concerned. Thank you. Pat Bersano


  11. karen maione Says:

    I have been searching for new lead-free dishes, too and they’re difficult to find in local department stores. I found a store in California which claims to sell lead-free dishes. They are beautiful Tuscan style. The name of the store is TLC Housewares and the pattern I’m looking at is Sorrento. Do you know anything about this pattern? Or this store?


  12. Shari Says:

    I own a huge collection of Pfaltzgraff Villa Della Luna and it does have lead in it and is being recalled. There entire line has lead in it.


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  15. Debra Pilkington Says:

    Was there a recall on older patterns of Pfaltzgraff? I have a set of the brownish with navy flowers on it.


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