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The Lead Education and Abatement Design Group
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environment from lead in all its uses: past, current and new uses
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QUESTION: Can I serve food in leaded orange and red glazed clay bowls? 05 Dec 2007 NSW, Australia

 Hi, I have bought some beautiful orange and red clay bowls.  I was told the glaze contained lead.  Can I serve food in the bowls?  I was told by the vendor that serving food in them was OK, but storing food was not a good idea.  What is your opinion, do you have any information about orange and red glazes?  Thankyou.‍

ANSWER: 04 Jan 2008

Dear Madam,

Orange, red and yellow glazes are often the leaded colours but whether lead is going to leach into the food is dependent on the professionalism of the formulation and firing, the age and other factors affecting the current condition of the glaze, as well as, as the vendor points out, the length of time food or liquid is in contact with the glaze. Heating and cleaning in a dishwasher will also deteriorate the glaze. The storing of alcoholic or acidic foodstuffs in glazed ceramic ware is certainly not recommended. If there are cracks or corrosion (chalking) of the leaded glaze then the item should not be used for food. You can get the full low-down from "LEAD ALERT FACTS: Lead in Ceramics"

And the very best way to find out if lead (from any source) is getting in to you is to ask your doctor for a blood lead test prior to trying to conceive and about every 5 years as you age or whenever you have a full medical for any purpose.

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien,

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