Older stoneware in the microwave can be dangerous!

bcskyeDecember 8, 2012

I put this on with the subject as "Oops", but it was suggested I put it under a name that would draw more attention.

I put a stoneware saucer in the microwave with a package of gravy on it. Instructions said to nuke on high for 3 minutes 45 seconds. When done, I opened the microwave only to see my saucer's glaze had cracked and burned in the cracks. I didn't even realized I'd inhaled when my breath was totally taken away from me. It took a couple of minutes before I could actually take any good breaths. My Pfaltzgraff stoneware is getting close to 40 years old. I've had this happen once before with a plate, but didn't evidentally enhale immediately when opening the microwave so wasn't aware of any gas exposure. I keep telling my DH I'm okay. Has this happened to anyone else on here or am I the only one who has done this?

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Makes sense. Forty years ago stoneware/dinnerware was not made to be heated, unless it was specifically made to be put in the oven. So the glaze probably can't tolerate that kind of heat, especially if it has metal in it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 1:16PM
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You might want to call your dr. even though you think you are fine. Just in case. Especially since it took your breath away. Not a good sign. Stone ware can be replaced. You can't.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:06PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

A lot of pottery does not do well in the nuker, gets too hot. I try to stick to glass and corelle.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Many stoneware can be microwave safe. Try microwave at low power first, if it heats up, don't do it.

More importantly, for old stoneware, get lead test kit to see if it contains lead.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:25PM
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You can find many discussions on how to determine whether stuff is microwave safe. One supposed method is simply to put it in the microwave alone and if it gets hot it's not MW safe. Others warn against this method saying it can damage your MW, and that there should be a glass of water in the MW during the test. Sounds reasonable, but then why do my Pottery Barn mugs, less than a few years old, get burning hot to the touch despite being labeled MW safe? I have a hard time believing a company as large as PB is selling mislabeled, potentially dangerous products, but then again these days you never know.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Sky, that sounds like a scary moment. Glad you are okay.

Foas, is the Pottery Barn mug full of water when it gets hot? A microwave safe dish in the microwave full of hot food or liquid will get hot because the microwaves heat the contents and the contents transfer heat to the dish.

Something to be careful when heating water in the microwave is that it can superheat. This happens because with still water there may be nothing for the bubbles to form around so it doesn't vaporize and bubble even though the temperature gets above boiling. Then when you something in it or sometimes even just jiggle the cup in picking it up, there is an "explosion" of boiling and steam.

I put a wood skewer in my cup when I zap water for my morning tea to prevent superheating. It gives places for bubbles to start forming. (I got the idea from an Alton Brown show where he used a chopstick but the chopsticks I have were too tall.)

My mug gets hot from the hot water in it but the handle stays cool.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:12PM
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No, cloud_swift, the PB mug was empty and dry. I placed a glass of water next to it, but not touching it, in accordance with instructions I've seen on the 'net (actually right here on GW) in order not to damage the MW by running it "empty." I ran it like that for one minuute and the empty PB mug was too hot to handle.

Here is a link that might be useful: the thread i read

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 1:42PM
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Below is from the Pfaltzgraff website. They say microwaving stoneware is safe, but it can crack if it is subjected to temperature differences or a microwaving heating element. What that is, I don't know! So maybe that was it. It didn't say anything about fumes or reactions. I wonder if you could contact them. They may know how to handle it. And if I were Pfaltzgraff, honestly, I'd want to know what happened. But that's just me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pfaltzgraff website

This post was edited by rob333 on Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 16:44

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 4:10PM
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I had some cobalt blue mugs that were made in China. The outside of the mugs and the handles would get exceedingly hot in the microwave. I finally realized there might be some lead in the glaze so I stopped using the mugs.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Thanks everyone. I have pre scheduled doctor appointments with my oncologist on Weds. and my G.P. on Fri. of this week and I intend to tell both of them about this incident. I do plan to contact Pfaltzgraff about this as well. I did have a plate crack and burn in the cracks about a year ago in the microwave, but when I took it out, there was no fumes. Maybe I was just in the wrong place in front of the microwave this time. I've already told DH that the Pfaltzgraff no longer goes in the microwave.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:31PM
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Let us know how it goes. Best wishes bcskye! I'll be thinking about you.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 9:17AM
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