EcoWaste Coalition Tests 20 Christmas Dinnerware,, Finds Them “Toxic”

Creating a yuletide mood in your dining table
through Christmas-inspired dinnerware may spell trouble for your health.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, made the precautionary warning after
detecting lead and other harmful chemicals in 20 imported plates and serving
dishes sold at cut-rate prices, from P29 to P199, in one department store in
Caloocan City.

The attractively-designed platters featured well-loved Christmas symbols such
as the evergreen tree, mistletoe and holly, Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus.

Bought and tested on November 4,
2012 using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemicals analyzer, the samples
revealed a worrisome concoction of heavy metals such as antimony, arsenic,
cadmium, chromium and lead, the infamous neurotoxin that is the focus of the
“We found lead on glazes or
decorations on the surfaces of the dishes that may leach into the food made,
kept or served in those dishes and contribute to a person’s overall lead
exposure,” said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
Lead up to 15,800 parts per million
(ppm) was detected in 16 of the 20 samples, way beyond the 90 ppm threshold for
lead in paint in the US.

None of these leaded dishware indicated any warning about their lead content.

The remaining four samples either had low or non-detectable amounts of lead,
but three of them showed excessive levels of cadmium (from 1,033 ppm to 2,292
ppm), and one had too much chromium (2,652 ppm).

The possibility of lead leaching from certain mugs and plates has prompted the
US National Safety Council to inform the public to “be wary of using or of
storing food or beverages in highly decorated or metallic-coated tableware.”

“This will explain why some lead-glazed or lead-painted plates sold in US,
especially the ornamental ones, bear the mark ‘Not for food use.Food consumed
from this vessel may be harmful’ to warn users against improper use,”she
pointed out.

To prevent potential lead exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition has advised users
not to heat, store and put highly acidic food or liquid in dinnerware that
contain or might contain lead.

Based on the probe conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, the five “most leaded”
platters were the following:

1. A dinner plate with a Christmas tree at the center with 15,800 ppm lead.
2. A square serving dish with a Christmas tree with 14,900 ppm lead.
3. A Snowman-shaped serving dish with 11,800 ppm lead.
4. A big oval serving dish with Christmas tree with 10,600 ppm lead.
5. A rectangular serving dish with Santa Claus with 9,207 ppm lead.

“Our findings lend urgency into
finalizing a chemical control order for lead and lead compounds, which among
other things, should prohibit the use of lead in glazes and paints for food
contact materials,”Lucero emphasized.

The government through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has
initiated a process to craft a regulatory policy on lead that is awaiting final
approval, she said.

Long term effects of lead exposure in children can include learning
disabilities, decreased intelligence, poor language and reading skills,
impaired motor and visual functions, hearing loss, attention deficit disorder,
memory and behavioral problems and even stunted growth, while lead exposure in
adults can bring about hypertension, reproductive disorders and cancer.