Lead can leach form ceramicware and be ingested with food or

drink prepared or served in it. Children are especially

susceptible and pregnant women are at high risk.

A child may absorb as much as 50 percent of the lead

introduced into the gastrointestinal tract. Adults can absorb up

to 10 percent.

Symptoms of lead poisoning often mask those of other

illnesses. They include headache, abdominal pain, irritability,

weakness, discomfort and paleness. With increasing exposure, the

brain swells and often hemorrhages, which can induce convulsion or


Foreign-made ceramicware is especially suspect. Makers of

ceramicware use lead to create bright surface colors. If the

application is done incorrectly it is not impermeable and will

leach out into food or drink. Liquid acidic foods are the ones

most likely to case the leaching. These include tomatoes, orange

or apple juice, wine, coffee, and foods containing vinegar.

You can convert any suspect ceramicware into strictly

decorative pieces, have your ceramicware tested commercially or

purchase a kit to test it yourself. One source of such a kit is:

Frandon Enterprises Inc., Box 300312, Seattle 98103.

(206) 633-2341. To test a ceramic piece with a kit:

* Pour household vinegar into each piece of ceramicware and

let it stand for 24 hours.

* Pour the liquid that has been standing into a plastic

container and add a drop or two of the test solution that comes

with the kit.

If lead has leached from your test piece, the solution will

turn anywhere from yellow to dark brown or black. The darker the

solution the higher the lead content.

Submitted by; Ronald Barker