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  #1  
Old 11/07/12, 12:33 PM
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Eating off of Vintage Dishes?

We needed some new dishes and we found some very pretty Vintage China at the second hand store.

Now I'm wondering though whether it is safe to use them? I could get a swab Lead kit but people reviewing said it wasn't accurate without an expensive machine to actual test for Lead.

After doing internet searches, it seems to be divided whether it is safe to use vintage dishware for daily use? Anybody have any information about the likelihood of lead and cadmium in older dishes?

These particular dishes are marked Cunningham & Pickett, hand decorated, in Alliance, Ohio.

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Old 11/07/12, 07:38 PM
 
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My first thought was lead. I hope someone with knowledge will jump in here.

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Old 11/07/12, 08:17 PM
 
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The only one I can think of that was written about was the dark orange of the Fiesta ware, an old pattern...it contained lead but that was years ago....
I would use a paper plate over the top of it if I was worried about it...try googling it...
this link shows 5.9 on the lead content.....http://exposinglead.com/uploadfolder...tesresults.pdf

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Old 11/07/12, 09:27 PM
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Thanks!

Yeah, I don't think we can use them, not sure why I didn't think about that before I bought them!

Guess I will buy more new Fiesta.

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  #5  
Old 11/08/12, 09:10 AM
 
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That's interesting, I had never heard about the dishes - well Fiesta and I didn't think it was the lead, but rather something else in the red/orange ones.

It was the Mexico pottery that I read about -

But thanks, something else to think about ----

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Old 11/08/12, 10:37 AM
 
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The red fiesta was radioactive, some say, but did have excess lead in it. That was the only color that did.
Red glazed pottery from Mexico has lead in it also, I understand. Seems you can "treat" the pieces to remove the lead, but it removes the color as well. Pity, the reds are good looking pieces.
Ed

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Last edited by whiterock; 11/08/12 at 10:40 AM.
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  #7  
Old 11/08/12, 11:10 AM
 
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Are they Fiesta? Or something else? We use vintage china all the time here, but we handwash because most of the finishes don't do well through the dishwasher.

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Old 11/08/12, 11:17 AM
 
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My understanding of it was that the dishware is safe if made from porcelain. If it's a pottery/clay body then it's subject to same lead content as the earth it came from. Also much of the earth's crust is radioactive due to natural deposits of thorium.

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  #9  
Old 11/08/12, 11:24 AM
 
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If it is pottery, I would do some more research. It it is genuinely china or porcelain, I would consider it to be safe.

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Old 11/08/12, 11:46 AM
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How much lead can possibly leach into your food for the few minutes it sits on the plate? A cooking vessel, yes, I would be quite concerned, but dinnerware seems like it would be low risk even if it contains lead.

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  #11  
Old 11/08/12, 12:01 PM
 
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Do you have young children? If not, then I would have no fears of using them. Lead poisoning is an issue for very young children whose brains are still developing, but most older people don't have to worry about it.

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Old 11/08/12, 02:12 PM
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There's lead content and lead release...

Lead in glazes is used because it's cheap and allows pieces to be fired at low temperatures (pottery). China, Mexico, AND ITALY continue to use lead. Hand-decorated china is more likely to contain lead. (Say no to all that studio "I love Grandma" ware)

Don't use for food or drink:
All pottery items
Any item thats original glaze has crackled or has cracks.

It's the release of lead, a leaching process, in ALL Dinnerware that can be mitigated. Don't store food in them, don't microwave food in them, don't use serving bowls for high-acid foods or liquid foods. I would use your dinnerware, but wisely. (I don't think it will stand up well in the dishwasher though)

And about the Fiesta type ware, lead wasn't the concern back in those days, it was the uranium that had folks freaking out. That's been debunked, the pieces themselves never had measurable radioactivity.

This seems to be the best source for information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18472562

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Old 11/08/12, 04:41 PM
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I really, really, really doubt that they have a lead content.
But after googling the name you gave, I would suggest putting them up on Ebay.
Depending on what pattern, they are going for between $6 and $40 each plate.
Yikes!

and check this out..
http://www.thefind.com/kitchen/info-pickett-plates

Cool.
Or you could just enjoy using them and eating off of beautiful dishes.

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  #14  
Old 11/08/12, 05:23 PM
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Thanks for so much help!

I think they are Porcelain, so they are safe? Is it only Stonware to worry about?

These are the exact pattern, Oakmont. I have a ton of them. I couldn't find the pattern on Chickenista's link but did find at least the picture here at Replacements.
CUNNINGHAM & PICKETT OAKMONT at Replacements, Ltd

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Old 11/08/12, 06:20 PM
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Huh.
This is interesting....
exposinglead.com/uploadfolder/leadplatesresults.pdf

It is a lab that tested lead contents of plates.
Pier One, Target etc.. don't do so well...

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Old 11/08/12, 06:39 PM
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Thanks, Chickenista, that IS interesting! I couldn't understand the listings in "clear" with a 0 in the first column though, does that mean they weren't tested? (Homer Laughlin, the maker of our OP's dishes)

I've been poking around about heavy metals in general, and it looks like the opalescent glassware isn't very safe eiither. Goodbye, Mirrabelle Fire King coffee mug...

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Old 11/08/12, 06:48 PM
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I wouldn't worry too horribly about old dishes.
Food is only on there for a few minutes.
Just hand wash them and don't put them in the microwave.

But a coffee mug... yikes.
That I would kind of lean away from.
I know coffee sits all super hot in mine for long spaces of time..

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Old 11/08/12, 07:26 PM
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I know!

Thought glass was glass, never considered the opalescent stuff was any different. Of course, it's my favorite, I've collected up vintage sets of glasses too. So I'm going to give it a rest from use and try to find out more about it. I know you can damage the finish with abrasives, that should have been a clue.

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Old 11/08/12, 07:27 PM
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Thanks for that interesting link chickenista. Yippee for Corelle and Corningware! However, I am not tossing out my collection of vintage dinnerware...especially my Homer Laughlin! We rarely use it...sometimes at Christmas and, from the looks of it, it probably has less lead than my Wal Mart Christmas dishes!

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Old 11/08/12, 07:37 PM
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I have a bunch of the blue Currier & Ives dishes that I use at holidays. I did research when I bought them and learned that even if the glaze had lead in it, it won't leach into your food unless the finish has been compromised. So as long as there is no crazing (looks like a crackle finish) on the dishes, you should be fine to use them. Don't eat off of anything with crazing.

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