Are you staring at your plate right now with suspicious eyes? If so, then relax and take off that crease from your forehead. If you are worried about lead being present in your dishes, then we are here for you. Here all your doubts about how to test dinnerware for lead will be addressed and you don’t have to worry.
Safety is the first thing anyone wants while buying any product. You wouldn’t have thought about searching for lead in your dinnerware. Did you? Dinnerware is the most regularly used item in our homes, but to find that unsafe for us is disappointing. And also you shouldn’t be even asking this question. Think about it, you bought a nice dinner set from a respectable company, but here you are getting suspicious? Don’t worry any further. We will clear all your suspicions. Come on, let’s have a look at how to test your dinnerware for lead?
Why is Lead unsafe?
Lead is a harmful toxin that if ingested, may cause serious damage to the body systems. Children and pregnant women stay at a higher risk of health issues from the toxic effects of lead. You may have heard of lead poisoning too. It is very real and lethal.
Lead does not leave your body after entering. It accumulates there and due to this, even small amounts are harmful to health. You need to remove lead from your dinnerware so that you can eat your food safely.
Why is Lead Used in Dinnerware?
Lead is used in dinnerware for glazes and bright colors. It is basically used to beautify the dishes. The glazes that make the dishes shine like glass, the bright red color designs, these all are lead. It seems nice but it’s lethal. Lead also provides strength to the dishes and prevents them from moisture.
How Does Lead Enter Our Body?
There are many ways in which lead can enter our bodies. Let us point them out for you.
- If hot food is served on plates with glaze, the heat tends to extract the traces of chemicals from the surface and enter the food.
- If you heat your food in the microwave, it can get lead into it. So don’t heat too many times.
- Serving too much acidic food on a plate can also cause lead to enter the food. Acids tend to fast forward the process.
What Type of Dishes Contain Lead?
Dishes come in many varieties, so it can be hard to figure out the safest one. But we have something for you that can help. Now try to avoid the following things when looking for dishes:
- Antique dishes that may be passed down in your family from generations.
- Heavily designed dishes, especially with bright colors like red, yellow, or orange.
- Used dinnerware found in thrift stores or second-hand dishes you bought at a lower price.
- Terra cotta dishes which are heavily glazed
- Handmade dishes or pots.
- Any dish with corroded glaze, or old dishes with worn-out designs.
- Dishes with designs made above the glazed surface.
How to Test For Lead in Dishes?
You didn’t think you can check for the lead with plain sight, did you? No, you can’t. But there are some ways to test dishes for lead. One of them is to avoid the above mentioned types of dishes. Another useful way is by testing the dinnerware by home kit for testing lead in dinnerware.
Home Kit for testing lead in dinnerware is mainly useful for high content lead testing. It does not detect if there are only small amounts of lead in the dishes.
Another way is to send the dishes to a laboratory. But this may be a bit of absurd advice considering everyone doesn’t have access to labs and it is a bit expensive as well.
Method to Test For Lead With Home Kit
- Buy the chemically tested swabs, which are not very expensive.
- Clean your dish with the swab.
- If your dish contains lead, the lead detector on the swab with turn bright red indicating the presence of lead in your dish.
- Or use a small chipped section of the glaze from the dish.
- Peel a small part of the glaze and test it with the swab for more accuracy.
This method doesn’t tell you the exact amount of lead present in the dish. It is not much use but is fine for testing at home.
Method For Testing Lead in Laboratories
- Laboratories use X-ray systems to test for lead in dishes.
- This method tells the accurate amount of lead present in the dish by using some electron reactions (which you don’t need to know about).
There are many ways to test for lead in laboratories. But some of them might damage the dish in the process. So this method is not feasible.
How to Reduce Exposure to Lead From Dishes?
The following points might be of some help:
- Stop using antique dishes
- Don’t heat food in contaminated dishes
- Don’t use highly glazed dishes for regular use
- Stop storing food in contaminated dishes for a long time
- Don’t wash the dishes containing lead in the dishwasher
- Don’t serve acidic food on dishes containing lead. It speeds up the process.
Safest Lead Free Dinnerware
Choosing lead-free dinnerware for your safety is not that hard as it sounds. Just keep some points in mind next time while shopping for dishes.
- Choose the dishes with minimum designs
- Dishes with less glaze will be safe
- Plain white plates or dishes is definitely a winner
- Try to find less bright colored dishes
- We recommend more glass dishes. With them, you can be sure they are lead-free.
- If you are an appreciator for old, vintage dishes, you may want to restrict to the plain white ones.
- Melamine is considered to be the safest as it is more plastic than a glazed surface.
Now you are just a step away from buying lead-free dinnerware. Step out, go to that store, keep these few points in mind and find the perfect dinner set for you. And we hope now you know how to test for lead in dinnerware.