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"Always start out with a larger pot than
what you think you need."
— Julia Child

Are Bakeware Lead

author
James Smith
• Thursday, 03 December, 2020
• 10 min read

On 30 November 2016, the Facebook page “Punk Rock Homesteading” shared a report that vintage Pyrex dishes contain unsafe levels of lead. The linked article was published by Creative Green Living in October 2015, and strongly discouraged the use of vintage Pyrex due to a purported issue with high lead content.

baking dish usa stoneware pottery three lead pc
(Source: www.cottagecraftworks.com)

Contents

In the Facebook post that ignited a firestorm, she shows an image of a 3M Lead Check Swab after being used to test the outside of a Pyrex bowl. The milk glass interiors, classic to most vintage Pyrex and Anchor Hocking pieces, commonly contain lead as well.

The lead in milk glass is probably inert, however, no lab tests are currently being done on these vintage pieces. People insisted that since food doesn’t come in contact with the outside of the bowls, these tests do nothing more than drum up fear.

If you carry the dish to the table and a micro amount of lead comes off on your hands and then you turn around and start preparing your child’s food, you’re spreading that contamination. The source of most social media claims appeared to be the Tamara Rubin documentary about childhood lead poisoning.

Other people attempted to test their own pieces; one owner of vintage Pyrex in the “Butter print” pattern discovered different results: A search for definitive answers about lead in vintage Pyrex originating from any source other from Rubin was difficult.

First, as a bit of background, FDA established and began enforcing limits on reachable lead in tableware 40 years . In addition to using a home test kit, consumers who want to be cautious might choose to avoid storing foods in older holloware (bowls), consuming hot and acidic liquid beverages such as coffee or tea out of cups, and heating bowls, cups and plates in the microwave.

ware nordic bakeware mold baking pan santa cake
(Source: www.flashbackalley.com)

All dishes of that vintage Pyrex pattern were manufactured after the FDA’s enforcement of reachable lead levels for cookware in 1971. The “Butter print” pattern tested in the video above was manufactured between 1957 and 1968, but Pyrex did not appear to have changed their product composition in that timeframe.

We could find no evidence in Pyrex’s well-documented history that the FDA’s updated standards for lead in cookware altered the standing composition or manufacture of the product in any way. Its cooking potential was discovered in 1913 by Dr. Jesse T. Littleton of Corning when he provided his wife, Becky, with a makeshift casserole out of a cut-down None battery jar.

After Corning revised the original None formula to remove the lead (dangerous in food products), the ovenware was successfully tested by Sarah Tyson Roger, Director of the Philadelphia Cooking School and culinary editor of the Ladies Home Journal. We were unable to locate any other information substantiating the claim that vintage Pyrex contained any worrisome levels of lead.

We may earn a commission through affiliate links on this page at no extra cost to you. Infants, young children, and pregnant women are at the greatest risk of its effects.

Lead can also attack body functions such as the central nervous system and organs. The body’s ability to absorb important nutrients like calcium and iron are also likely to be affected.

dishes lead test tamara fiesta dishware rubin
(Source: tamararubin.com)

Some results of lead exposure may be irreversible, especially brain damage in infants and young children. Tableware manufacturers use lead for glazes and decorations to improve their product’s appearance.

Fortunately, there are some common characteristics that you can look for to determine if dishes contain some level of lead. Of course, not all products that have these traits are necessarily dangerous to use, but they provide a good starting point.

You don’t always have to throw away your current tableware and buy new to keep your family safe from lead. You can first start by testing your dishes, then based on the results, decide if you want to keep or replace the items.

Lab tests are conducted on products by agencies and groups such as the FDA. You may be able to get a copy of the testing information by inquiring with certain advocacy groups or the product manufacturer.

You can also contact the manufacturer and request information, including lead testing results that have been completed on their products. If they don’t provide any information, they probably have something to hide and you should steer clear of their dishes.

taza barro artisan lead oz painted traditional floral hand
(Source: www.kitchenrestaurantsuperstore.com)

It will get ruined in the process, but if the test comes back clean, then you still have the rest of the vintage set to enjoy. Most stoneware uses glaze, which is notorious for containing small amounts of lead or cadmium.

However, they state that their products are baked at temps well over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, which they claim “binds” heavy metals and decreases the amount they leach. Most lead is found in the coloring or decorations on a dish, so avoid that and you should be good to go.

Lead crystal is commonly found in more elegant items like decanters or wine glasses. To put that in perspective, an item marketed for use by children is considered toxic if its lead levels are 90 ppm or higher.

PTFE nonstick coasting contains toxic chemicals such as Perfluorooctanioic acid (FOA or C8) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (UFOs). Perfluorooctanioic acid (FOA or C8) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (UFOs) has been used as a surfactant when making PTFE.

They are linked to cause harmful health effects such as decreased fertility, thyroid disorders, changes in growth, learning and behavior of the developing fetus and child, testicular cancer and kidney cancer. When cooking above 500 °F (260 °C), PTFE nonstick coating starts to deteriorate and release toxic fumes and chemicals into the air or into the food.

beer stout glasses glass craft libbey english bass brews ounce triangle rare amazon decor bakeware storage
(Source: digitalcatalog.libbey.com)

Just because nonstick cookware or bakeware says, it is FOA or UFOs free, it doesn’t mean it is safe from toxic chemicals. Safe materials for non-toxic bakeware includes stainless steel, glass, porcelain enamel, ceramic and cast iron.

Stainless steel is generally a safe material for bakeware except when baking salty or acidic food especially for a long time. Stainless steel bakeware leaches iron, nickel and chromium into food within safe levels.

However, it will leach higher amount of iron, nickel and chromium when cooking acidic food for a long duration. Therefore, just avoid baking acidic food such as tomato sauce in stainless steel bakeware.

Nor pro makes stainless steel square cake pans like this. (thermal shock) It can also break if it is dropped and experiences a harsh impact.

Borosilicate glass is more expensive to produce and it has high tolerance to heat and extreme resistance to severe temperature changes. It can handle sudden temperature changes from freezer to oven without cracking.

melting iron cast pot ounce
(Source: www.lifestylesco.com)

According to Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data, consumers are far more likely get injured from glass impact breakage than breakage from thermal shock. Therefore, some people say soda lime glass is actually better in preventing injuries from breakage.

However, there has been some report that glass bakeware such as Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glassware exploded in the oven or unexpectedly shattered due to thermal shock. Even borosilicate glass can still crack in rare cases if it experiences extremely radical temperature fluctuations.

Ar cuisine Glass Rectangular Roaster Pan is made in France. You can place this bakeware from freezer to oven to table to refrigerator safely.

If you feel more comfortable with soda lime glass, there are two leading glassware companies. Le Crest is French company who makes quality cookware.

Their cookware quality is amazing and people keep Le Crest pieces for generations. Their cookware is in compliance with rigid California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium.

curtains bamboo tape pleat pencil room strawbridge angel darkening 137cm curtain 229cm natural argos chateau
(Source: www.leekes.co.uk)

Their enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, French ovens or round raisers are great for acidic dishes such as lasagna or meat roast. Lodge also makes porcelain enamel cookware and bakeware similar to Le Crest.

Their products are also in compliance with strict California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. I own both Le Crest and Lodge porcelain enamel Dutch oven.

Their bakeware is in compliance with stringent California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. Their test result show that their products are safe from lead and cadmium.

All of Le Crest’s signature enameled cast iron products are made in France. However, all of their products are in compliance with rigid California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium.

I love my cast iron skillet for cooking eggs, pancakes and meats. Therefore, I wouldn’t use cast iron bakeware for baking acidic dishes such as lasagna or chicken with lemon sauce.

baking bowl prep 2pc colored solid 3pc fiesta direct factory
(Source: fiestafactorydirect.com)

Glass, porcelain enamel, ceramic, stainless steel and cast iron are all non-toxic bakeware options. Stainless steel and cast iron are reactive with acidic foods, so I would avoid cooking dishes like spaghetti meatballs or salmon with lemon sauce.

Glass, porcelain enamel or ceramic are non-reactive material, therefore, they are great for casseroles or pasta dishes. However, ensure ceramic and porcelain enamel bakeware has been tested for lead and cadmium.

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Sources
1 www.simplyrecipes.com - https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/slow_cooker_mexican_pulled_pork/
2 www.foodnetwork.com - https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/slow-cooker-pork-tacos-recipe-1972753
3 www.tasteofhome.com - https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/slow-cooked-pork-tacos/
4 www.rachelcooks.com - https://www.rachelcooks.com/2020/10/19/slow-cooker-pork-tacos/
5 talkingmeals.com - https://talkingmeals.com/slow-cooker-pork-tacos/