Clean Living

Toxins Found in Dinnerware

Did you know… It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the FDA began testing dinnerware for safety? This is one important reason to avoid vintage dinnerware, but even today dinnerware with traces of lead, cadmium and other toxins are legally allowed to be sold in the USA.

In a 2017 study, conducted by Dr. Andrew Turner, University of Plymouth, approximately 70% of the glassware tested contained unsafe amounts of heavy metals.

“The presence of hazardous elements in both the paint and glaze of decorated glassware has obvious implications for both human health and the environment. So it was a real surprise to find such high levels of lead and cadmium, both on the outside of the glassware and around the rim. There are genuine health risks posed through ingesting such levels of the substances over a prolonged period.”

Unfortunately, heavy metals and other chemicals listed below still continue to pose a risk to the consumer. It’s advisable to choose healthy dinnerware for your family whenever possible.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: durable, creates shine, gives intensity to colors like red, yellow, and orange.
  • Health Concerns: behavioral issues, learning disabilities, anemic conditions, kidney problems, and death, in some cases.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: adds bright colors to paints and glazes.
  • Health Concerns: birth defects, reproductive harm, and cancer (particularly lung and possibly kidney and prostate).


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: in the production of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Most recently BPA has been replaced with BPS and BPF in many consumer goods which leaves some scientists questioning long term health effects of these two chemicals.
  • Health Concerns: infertility, early puberty, miscarriage, thyroid issues, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer are some concerns among BPA. BPS and BPF have shown to be endocrine disruptors in some studies as well and their long term effects are not fully known.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: phthalates are plasticizers that are used to soften plastic and make the plastic break-resistant.
  • Health Concerns:  asthma, liver and kidney problems, behavioral issues, neurodevelopmental problems and lower IQ, development problems, and cancer.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: in terms of dinnerware, antimony is usually mixed with other metals like lead to ensure hardness and durability.
  • Health Concerns: lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases, and cancer.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: used for adding bright coloring.
  • Health Concerns:  cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment, skin lesions, hyperkeratosis, cancer and death.


  • Why it is used in dinnerware: creates shine.
  • Health Concerns:  nervous, digestive, cognitive and immune system harm, neuromuscular effects, loss of motor function, lung and kidney failure, tremors, insomnia, memory loss, and death.

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