I went to a free lead testing day put on jointly by the Macomb County Health Dept, WDIV Channel 4 News
, and Environmental Testing and Consulting
. I went with two items of cookware I have become dubious of since I learned about lead historically being used in glazing.
The first up was my big, enameled, 12 inch Tramontina cast iron skillet (they call it a "Saute Pan", but it weighs 9 pounds!) Item #80131/001, and it only appears to available at Meijer stores. Under the x-ray fluorescence analyzer, the bare cooking surface of the skillet was shown to be lead free, but the enameled exterior did show 0.05% lead by weight. This is well below the EPA's regulatory limit for coatings (0.5%) and just below the Consumer Product Safety Commission's (0.05%). Not a great thing to find out but better than it could have been.
Things get worse when I brought out my 6 inch terra cotta cooker made by De Silva that I bought from TJ Maxx in Auburn Hills, MI (I checked other TJX stores in the area to see how common they were, and the store at Great Lakes Crossing is the only one that had them). I don't have the item number, but I believe the product line is called "Terre D'Umbria." The interior enamel gave a reading of 0.13%, well above both the EPA and CPSC's limits. What's worse is that the exterior was found to have a shocking 6.6%. And to think I brought it as an afterthought!
I think it's only fair to note since much of the lead hysteria these days was generated by Chinese-made goods, that the Tramontina skillet was, in fact, made in China, but the terra cotta cooker was made in Italy, so there's clearly more to the story than country of origin. I urge everyone to take advantage of free lead testing if it's offered in your area. Heck, those of you in Metro Detroit can head out to Freedom Hill today until 7 PM today
. I was there at about 7:30 AM, so there was no wait except while the analyzer was doing its thing (30 seconds at the most), but they did have scads of chairs set up in the conference room if needed.