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Consumer Report Warns of Lead in Dishware

December 15, 2007 09:02 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
With the public uneasy about news coverage of dangerous lead levels in toys this holiday season, many are taking a closer look at other household items, such as dishware.

30-Second Summary

A rash of lead-poisoning stories inspired KUTV, a Utah CBS affiliate, to produce a whole series on lead poisoning from dishware. The channel’s reporters conducted a study in which 1,500 plates from members of the public were tested. Of these, 30 percent had a higher lead content than the Division of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency deems acceptable.

The agency’s findings are at variance with those of another recent study, conducted by the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune applied the standards of a different government agency, the Food & Drug Administration. It is the FDA that regulates all imports of dishware into the United States.

In the Tribune survey, from 21 pieces of newly purchased dinnerware, only one item had a higher lead content than allowed by the FDA’s regulations.

According to the National Safety Council, lead can leach from plates and mugs into food and drinks. It advises consumers to “be wary of using or of storing food or beverages in highly decorated or metallic-coated tableware, particularly items made in other countries or by amateurs and hobbyists.”

The long-term effects of lead poisoning can include loss of IQ points, impairments in language fluency or communication skills, memory problems, attention deficits, and poor fine-motor skills.

Headline Link: ‘Toddler possibly poisoned by lead paint from plates’

Background: Surveys and research

Related Links: National Safety Council tips, lead in dishware and household areas, and lead poisoning symptoms

Playing it safe

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