Poisoned by Dinnerware

Poisoned by My Beautiful Dinnerware – A Cautionary Tale

At the beginning of 2019, I found out that I have mercury and lead toxicity. I had an idea of my possible mercury exposure, but the lead was a mystery to me. I have been working with my Functional Medicine Doctor to detoxify. I know from my education and research that it is important to avoid exposure to successfully detox.

I am extremely careful about what I put in and on my body. I only use certified cleaning products and no longer use any plastic in my kitchen. I got rid of my nonstick cookware long ago. I even use glass mugs because I don’t trust the paint on most mugs to be lead-free. I live particularly clean and figured that my exposure must have somehow been in my past.

Two weeks ago, I got the nudge to check and see if my dinnerware could be where I was being exposed. I have beautiful dishes that I love. Some of them were my mother’s from the 1980s. Some were from the early 1990s with a few odd pieces added more recently. The pattern is still currently sold, and it is fun and easy to pick up new pieces as needed. Could it possibly be the case that my dishes were poisoning me?

Since I am extremely cautious about protecting my health, I wanted to be sure not to over-react. I began to research my pattern and learned that it has been found, in the past, to contain lead. My first reaction was to want to immediately throw it all out. I took a moment and decided not to jump to conclusions. I wouldn’t do anything (except stop using them) until I tested the plates and knew for sure.

In researching about lead in china and dinnerware, I found out more about the standards and laws regarding what is considered acceptable. I learned that it is considered acceptable to use lead-based paint on dishes as long as there is a seal over the top. Well, this was alarming for me! I instantly pictured my older plates and bowls … all pretty worn. The colors had faded … what had I been consuming?

I ordered a lead check kit online. I knew that there was a possibility of a false negative with these swabs, but I felt that it was a good place to start. Three days later I tested a plate. Even though I had significant concern, I was totally shocked to find the first plate test unquestionably positive for leaching lead. I then went to test some of the newer pieces and some were positive, and some were not.

What did I do? I threw every piece of everyday dishes in the dumpster! I will not take the chance of not knowing when the seal on the newer plates would wear off. Out it all went! This was high quality, pretty stuff. But now I can truly begin to detoxify and heal.

What did I keep? I have some serving pieces that get used once or twice a year. I am still sitting with whether or not to use them. With Thanksgiving a few weeks away, I will need to decide soon. You might be wondering why I would keep them. Let me explain …

If you have dishes that you use infrequently, they are likely not putting you at risk. The wear on the seal is the first step to danger. My dishes were used for decades and went in the dishwasher often. Seal being intact is the first, most important factor. Next, if they are pieces that aren’t used often, the exposure risk is low. I have fine china that I haven’t even tested because it is used so rarely.

If you haven’t given thought to what you are using to hold your food and drinks, I strongly urge you to learn more about it. Are your dishes old? Even if they are new, are they colorful? If so, please be cautious. Take action before you have an issue.

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