WARNING: Lead levels dangerously high in drinking glasses and popular merchandise
(NaturalHealth365) Most of us associate drinking out of glass drinkware with a higher-end dining experience. However, University of Plymouth researchers have determined that some glass drinkware and other products could be exposing you to toxic levels of lead and cadmium.
There are legal limits regarding certain chemicals, substances and heavy metals allowed in household products. However, the researchers determined that many enameled drinking glasses and other merchandise contained as much as 100 times the legal limit of cadmium and over 1,000 times the allowed level of lead.
Over 70 percent of drinking glasses contain lead and cadmium
The items tested ranged from water tumblers and beer mugs to wine glasses and glass jars. In all, nearly 200 tests were conducted on 72 used and brand-new glass items. Cadmium was found in 134 cases and lead in 139.
Products with added coatings or glaze were found to chip and flake over time, indicating that these substances could easily be ingested. There is evidence that some children’s toys and playground equipment could be made of similar hazardous materials that pose health risks to children. However, the risk posed by drinking glasses is higher due to direct exposure to the lips and mouth.
For the study, a range of glassware types were examined using portable XRF (x-ray fluorescence) spectrometry. The researchers found that over 70 percent of the products tested (52 of 72) contained lead. All glass colors tested were positive for lead. Nearly the same number (51) tested positive for cadmium, with the highest concentrations found in red colored enamels.
Lead and cadmium in glass products threaten health of humans and the environment
The U.S. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment sets limits for the lip area of drinking glasses at 200 ppm for lead and 800 ppm for cadmium. The research showed lead concentrations from 40 to 400,000 ppm and cadmium levels from 300 to 70,000 ppm.
Hazardous elements in the materials, coatings and glaze of decorated glassware has ominous implications for human health. Lead and cadmium also pose a risk to the environment. The research was published in Science of the Total Environment.
These days people are flocking to glass water bottles, tumblers and beverage containers as an alternative to plastic due to the health hazards associated with it. However, many of these glass containers may not be safe to hold to your lips, especially if they have been coated, colored or decorated in any way.
Consumers should demand safe materials and manufacture of drinking glasses
Safer alternatives to these coatings are available, including organic versions of many inks and glazes. Given this information, product manufacturers should be encouraged to use safer methods when creating these items. Unfortunately, many glass items are imported from overseas and it can be unclear how they were made and what harmful components might have been included.
Harmful and restricted elements should not be used to decorate contemporary glassware in any country. If in doubt, don’t buy it or use it. Consumers should demand specifics from glass dishware manufacturers and insist that they eliminate toxic materials from the manufacturing process.
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