Hazardous Products: Traditional Ceramic and Metal Ware

Traditional or handmade ceramic ware and metal dishware from other countries — including Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, Uzbekistan and India — may contain high levels of lead. The lead can get into food and drinks that are prepared, stored or served in these products. Lead is a poison that can cause serious health problems.

If you use these types of traditional ceramic or metal ware products to prepare, cook, serve or store food or drinks, call your doctor to request a blood lead test. If you do not have a doctor, call 311.

Traditional Ceramic Ware

Ceramic ware can be dangerous when it is covered with lead-containing glaze or paint. Lead may be added to brighten colors and provide a smooth finish.

Avoid using the following products for your food or drinks:

  • Ceramic ware that is labeled for use only as a decorative item and contains a warning label, such as "Not for Food Use — May Poison Food"
  • Handmade ceramic ware with a crude appearance or irregular shape
  • Antique ceramic ware
  • Damaged or worn ceramic ware
  • Ceramic ware that is purchased from flea markets, street vendors or shops where it is not clear who made the item or how they made it

Brass Ware, “Kansa”, Silver-plated Tableware

Some brass ware or traditional “kansa” may contain high levels of lead. Some imported and domestic silver-plated tableware may also contain lead.

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