Can Your Vintage or Imported Dishes Cause Lead Poisoning?

If you have vintage or imported ceramic dishes in your home, you may want to consider testing them for lead or getting a blood test to determine your blood lead levels.

According to Consumer Reports, health officials in New York recently issued a warning about traditional ceramic dishware that has caused at least 15 cases of lead poisoning in adults and children in New York City in recent months.

Officials say these cases have been linked to ceramics from counties such as Ecuador, Mexico, Morocco, Uzbekistan, and Turkey.

Excessive Levels of Lead

In addition to New York, other health departments, including those in Houston and the state of Arizona, have identified ceramics as a contributor to elevated blood lead levels in children who are more likely to have their blood lead levels tested than adults. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated lead levels in ceramic dishware since 1971 and has strengthened these regulations multiple times most recently in 1992.

However, officials say some types of ceramics such as those dishes that are handmade, chipped, or damaged, may be dangerous. Health officials are also drawing attention to risks from imported ceramics, particularly Latin American folk terracotta and products from Mexico that are typically exposed to large amounts of lead. They said that highly decorated traditional dishes from Asia could also have high amounts of lead.

Importance of Testing

Health officials are urging consumers to stop using traditional, antique or imported ceramic dishes, which are not “food safe.” If you have been using these dishes regularly, it might be best to speak with your doctor or get a blood lead test. Officials say users of these ceramics are nationwide. According to one study, people with high levels of lead in their blood had a 70% higher risk of death by cardiovascular disease and a 37% greater risk of premature death for any cause.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Victims and families may be able to seek damages, including medical expenses, lost income, cost of testing, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, and pain and suffering. An experienced product defect attorney can advise victims regarding their legal rights and options.



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