How to Test for Lead in Dishes

Test Dishes for Lead

It’s that time of year again. Once fall begins, Halloween comes and goes in a flash and the holiday season is upon us before we know it. With all the planning that goes into getting the family together to enjoy meals and celebrate the season, some things can fall through the cracks. The safety of your family and guests shouldn’t be among those neglected things. When you put out your best china and ceramic dishes, it’s important to determine if they are safe. That said, many people remain unaware of how to test for lead in dishes. Read on to find out how and make your holiday gatherings safe this year.

Why is There Lead in Dishes?

While indoor air quality issues at home and work receive a lot of attention, dangers also exist on surfaces such as tableware. Lead used in glazes of ceramics gives a smooth finish that lets decorative patterns and colors shine through. It strengthens dishes and prevents moisture from getting inside. That said, lead is toxic and presents a risk to people of all ages. However, it is especially harmful to children, pregnant women, and their unborn babies. Lead builds up in the body over time and even small amounts create a risk of lead poisoning.

Ceramics made for serving, cooking, and storing food may contain lead. In particular, dishes made from clay present a risk. Traditional dishware with rustic glazes from Latin America and decorated dishes from Asia should be tested. Antique items passed down from one generation to the next may contain lead. Lead is more common in decorated dishes than plain white items.

You cannot detect the presence of lead in a dish just by looking at it. Therefore, the only way to find out if your tableware contains lead is through testing. Home lead tests detect high levels of leachable lead in dishes. Leaching occurs regardless of whether or not the surface is intact. That said, cracked or chipped cookware and tableware increase the risk of exposure. Dishes tend to leach more as they age so knowing how to test for lead in dishes is important.

FDA Regulation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does provide regulation on lead levels. It is illegal to sell products, including dishes, that exceed their recommended levels. California, in particular, takes it a step further. The state requires businesses to warn consumers when products contain hazardous chemicals such as lead. It’s also important to note that, while lead-free tableware does not contain lead, lead-safe items do contain lead.

Lead Test Kit
Order a lead test kit before the holidays and ensure your dishes are safe.

Easy-to-Use Lead Test Kits

If you’re wondering how to test for lead in dishes, a test kit is the answer. These easy-to-use test kits return results in seconds. Once you test your dishes, no further analysis by an outside lab is required. Use the test kit on your special occasion dishwasher as well as your everyday cookware, plates, bowls, and drinkware. Use them at the office on dishes you use to heat up and serve meals at work. These lead screening kits also work on toys, paint, and other lead-surfaced items.

Test for Lead

Use a test kit to determine lead levels in dishes as well as the following products:

  • Painted pets toys, food bowls, and kids toys and lunchboxes
  • All-natural and man-made fibers and fabrics
  • Paint chips and painted surfaces
  • Electronics and circuit boards
  • Dust from renovation and construction
  • Jewelry

How to Test for Lead in Dishes

No level of lead is safe, therefore, the first step is to order a Lead Screen Check to identify lead on surfaces. Test up to eight surfaces per kit. Use it on ceramics, plastic, paint, and metal. Before testing, clean the surface to remove any dirt or dust. Insert a swab into the Indicator Vial then rub the swab on the test surface for 30-60 seconds. If lead detection occurs, the swab changes color. Dispose of any item that contains lead or if dishes contain lead use them only for display.

Order Your Screen Check Today

Don’t take a gamble on your family’s health during the holidays or at any time of the year. Test your dishes for lead, but also check children’s toys, electronics, and the paint found in your home or office. For more information on how to test for lead in dishes and other products and to order your lead screen check, call 727-572-4550 today.