Lead in clay

mvmaryMay 20, 2005

Hi, I purchased some really beautiful rustic bowls at a local market in Cuzco, Peru. I asked and motioned to the seller if the bowls were OK to eat from. She nodded with an enthusiastic Si, Si!

I remember from a pottery class a million years ago that only certain types of clay could be used with food. How can I tell or is there any type of matte coating I could use to 'finish' the bowls to make them safe?

Thanks for any input. Mary

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i dont think there is anything you can apply to them now, as they have already been fired. it seems to me that anything you put on them now would be even more likely to leech into food than the glaze.

there are tests available to check the existing glaze for food safeness, but i'm not sure where you get them. you could try doing a web search.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 2:10PM
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To be on the safe side you could always use them to serve things like potato chips, crackers, nuts etc. I wouldn't use them for a snack mix with fruit to be on the safe side. Anthing without moisture or liquid in it can't leach out the lead if there is any.

I lived in Venneauela and the clay I used came directly from the local river and I know that there had to be lots of unsafe chemicals in it.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2005 at 8:03AM
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Thanks for taking the time to post. I did have a lead test done and they are really full of it. So, sadly, I think they will have to be decorative only. But, thanks anyway. Mary

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 6:27PM
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You're doing the smart thing. I used to work for the Environmental Protection Agency in their Lead program. One couple I dealt with had brought back some beautiful dinnerware from Mexico, and started to get sick several months later. Their condition and symptoms got so bad they had to be hospitalized; the doctors finally figured out that they had lead poisoning, which came, of course, from the lead that had leached out into their food and drink. They had to undergo chelation therapy to try to reverse the effects.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 1:19AM
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We knew about this back in Tucson Az 50 years ago. Friends would bring back great pottery from Mexicao but we couldn't use it because of the lead. I think we put some glass plates over them so the designs would show thru.
I'm wondering if you couldn't put some of that saran type stuff on them and pull it around to the back so the surface is showing but of course the food or snacks would be on the plastic. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 9:09PM
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