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QUESTION: Can lead from lead crystal contaminate other items like metal jewellery, that come into contact with it? 20 Apr 2008 South Australia, Australia

I have bought a present, a ring stand which is made from lead crystal, to put rings on overnight (metal rings - gold, silver, etc). I know the lead from lead crystal can leech into food and drink, but I'd like to know whether it can also contaminate other items that come into contact with it.

Thank you!


Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank you for your quick reply, I really appreciate it, and I feel much better about the lead crystal ring stand now!


ANSWER: 20 Apr 2008

Hi Mel,

The lead crystal ring stand should be perfectly safe to use for the purpose for which it was designed. The problem with lead crystal leaching lead only occurs when it is mouthed or sucked (so it should be kept out of the reach of children who might do that) or when acidic or hot or alcoholic food or beverages are stored in it because both saliva and acidic or hot or alcoholic liquids can leach the lead out of the crystal.

For your interest, it is believed that one of the possible sources of lead which caused Beethoven to eventually die of lead poisoning, was that he used his saliva-wetted finger to make beautiful noises on the mechanically-spinning different sized lead crystal bowl rims of a musical instrument he loved to play called the armonica. See the Sydney Morning Herald article "Beethoven lead poisoning study sparks lively debate" of 15th February 2001 (attached) which says: "Beethoven was exposed to the [possibly leaded glass or lead painted glass] armonica before his [lead poisoning] symptoms started as a young man". [Reference ORIGINALLY AT].‍

All the best

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

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