Researchers at the University of Plymouth found that improper handling
of enameled glassware can expose consumers to dangerous
levels of lead and cadmium.
New research from the University of Plymouth warns that drinking from enameled glassware can cause lead poisoning. In the study, researchers identified that dishwashing or stacking decorated glassware can cause enameled decorations to peel, exposing dangerous amounts of lead and cadmium-based paint.
The research comes right before one of the biggest feasts of the year, Thanksgiving - a time when many will break out the special dining ware for guest-use only.
Researchers at the University of Plymouth conducted 197 tests on both new and second-hand glassware. Lead was found in 139 tests and cadmium was found in 134 tests. The toxic metals were present on both the surface and rims of glasses - sometimes with concentrations 1000 times higher than the limit set by the U.S. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
"The presence of hazardous elements in both the paint and glaze of decorated glassware has obvious implications for both human health and the environment," Dr. Andrew Turner, lead researcher for the study, said in a recent press release.
Lead poisoning in particular is cumulative, which means the most severe symptoms come from repeated exposure. Lead exposure is known to cause neurological and developmental complications, as well as blood and bone disorders. Very high exposure to lead can be fatal.
In the report, researchers advised consumers that enameled dining ware should not be washed in a dishwasher to avoid eroding the decorative finish. Researchers also advised against stacking decorated glassware as this can also cause paint to peel or chip.
"I believe consumers should be made aware of this, while retails and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorated products," Dr. Turner said in a recent press release.