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Old 01-11-2008, 12:32 PM   #1
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Lead Scare

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.

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Old 01-11-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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No worries about the skillet.

Acidic foods can leach lead out of unglazed tc. The interior looks glazed so it is not likely to cause a problem either.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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DrThunder88,
Thanks a lot for the tip, I don't have items to check but for sure I will use the facility since I live 20 minutes away.
I've seen the "Terre D'Umbria" item you mentioned, TKMaxx stores in Madison Heights and Farmington Hills have some other terracota pots but I opted out of buying them because of the bright red glaze, a potencial sign of Lead's presence.

If I were you, I'd give the pot to my beloved ex Mother-in-Law LOL
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wysiwyg View Post
If I were you, I'd give the pot to my beloved Mother-in-Law LOL
He needs your MIL's address
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Old 01-28-2008, 10:07 AM   #5
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Thanks for the information.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #6
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I am so glad I found this website, and this forum! I was googling how to "season" my new De Silva terracotta (glazed) pot from....TJ Maxx....and read the above.... I still have the receipt, and plan on returning it! Thank you!!!!!!
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:22 PM   #7
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Remember the Original Fiestaware dishes that were so popular during WWII and after? They found that the red pieces were loaded with lead and when acidic foods were placed on them, it leached out the lead. So no more red pieces were made. And today if you find original red pieces in antique shops and elsewhere, they can only be sold with a printed warning that they are not to be used for food. Now the red pieces are under lock and key. You can buy a yellow plate for $10. But the red ones can cost more than $100. They are very hard to find. A lot of folks broke the red ones when they got the news. The present day ones they make are safe and made by the same company.

Fiesta (dinnerware) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You also need to be careful of food cooking items from Mexico. They make a lot of their cookware with red clay. And some of it is not glazed. Red clay is notorious for containing lead.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Addie View Post
Remember the Original Fiestaware dishes that were so popular during WWII and after? They found that the red pieces were loaded with lead and when acidic foods were placed on them, it leached out the lead. So no more red pieces were made. And today if you find original red pieces in antique shops and elsewhere, they can only be sold with a printed warning that they are not to be used for food. Now the red pieces are under lock and key. You can buy a yellow plate for $10. But the red ones can cost more than $100. They are very hard to find. A lot of folks broke the red ones when they got the news. The present day ones they make are safe and made by the same company.

Fiesta (dinnerware) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You also need to be careful of food cooking items from Mexico. They make a lot of their cookware with red clay. And some of it is not glazed. Red clay is notorious for containing lead.


I have a large original Fiesta Ware serving platter in the radioactive color -- Fiesta Red which actually reddish orange.

I use it all the time. But never with anything acidic.

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Old 10-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #9
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I have a large original Fiesta Ware serving platter in the radioactive color -- Fiesta Red which actually reddish orange.

I use it all the time. But never with anything acidic.

I remember them so well from my childhood. A neighbor had a whole set of them in different colors. I loved them. And still do. The new ones don't have the circles around the edges. The originals are now quite collectible and could cost you a pretty penny. Some folks collect only one color. There are even special shows for the original Fiests dinnerware. The same company also makes the Blue Willow pattern in this country. Thanks for giving me back a memory Jenny.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:38 AM   #10
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I also remember the free coffee mugs that Shell gave out in the 1970's with a free fill up...and then the panic to get rid of them when it was found that they were made with lead.
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