30% Of Dinner Plates Contain Lead

After viewers were alarmed by a KUTV report about Walmart selling plates with high levels of lead, the station arranged for a lead testing station to be set up. Viewers were encouraged to bring their plates and get them scanned. The result: Out of 1,500+ tested plates, 30% were positive for lead.

A PDF containing the results and brands tested is available here.

Lead Plate Story Getting National Attention [KUTV]
PREVIOUSLY: Dinner Plates On Walmart Shelves Contain Lead
Baby Poisoned By Lead-Tainted Walmart Plates


Edit Your Comment

  1. QuiteSpunky says:

    I wondered why that meal of brown rice and broccoli still felt heavy.

  2. QuiteSpunky says:

    Less flippantly, it makes one wonder why there isn’t and epidemic of lead poisoning. Perhaps the lead does not leach off into the food?

  3. ninjatales says:

    With all that lead in our plates and bowls, we should slowly evolve into the x-men!

    Did anyone else see that cop tasering some dude clip?

  4. protest says:


    with all the absolutely stupid things people are doing these days, maybe there is.

    as far as glazed stoneware, the lead has to be in the glaze, and if the glaze is high fired it should not be able to leach into food. however, if the glaze does not reach a certain temperature it can leach and is obviously not meant for contact with food.

    chinet is starting to look better and better…

  5. QuiteSpunky says:

    @protest: A modicum of internet research reveals that you are correct on all fronts. Apparently coffee mugs are generally a worse risk as they have a lot of contact with heat and acidity. Scary stuff. Time to buy stock in paper plates, indeed.

  6. dollywould says:

    You’ll take my Fiestaware from me when you pry it out of my cold, dead, lead-poisoned hands.

  7. formergr says:

    @QuiteSpunky: I tried to raise that exact point in the thread about the baby whose doctor said she was poisoned via the breast milk of her mother, who ate off of contaminated plates just like in this article. Unfortunately my post was completely misunderstood by just about everyone (meaning I must have written it pretty badly, eek!) to imply that I hate babies, that I thought the parents were at fault, that I work for Wal-Mart, or that I had no heart.

    None of those things are true– I felt bad for the sick baby and her parents (who did nothing wrong!), but I was skeptical that her doctor was so certain this was all due to the lead.

    It seems if just about all children and adults are being exposed to lead through plates and toys (and I’m sure that didn’t just start this year), and I’ve read despite that people have *much* lower blood lead rates than 30-40 years ago when it was in paint and dust everywhere, then why isn’t there an epidemic of illness from it? Is it perhaps possible that humans are a bit more resilient and smaller exposures to lead aren’t quite as harmful as we thought?

    Obviously we shouldn’t test this or just hope it’s true, and it’s better to be safe and make sure lead-tainted plates, mugs, and especially children’s toys are recalled, but I do feel like there might be a bit of over-reaction by the media on this issue…

  8. mexifelio says:

    Am I the only one that thinks China is quietly attacking us??

  9. QuiteSpunky says:

    @formergr: It may be that overall lead levels are still down since less lead soldering is used on pipes these days. I guess it’s better for the media to overreact to a potential safety issue than to blow it off.
    @mexifelio: It seems we are being quietly attacked by OUR china!

  10. marsneedsrabbits says:

    I don’t think Fiestaware tested positive. The report says
    5 Fiesta
    0 Fiesta USA VVD

    Fiestaware is “Fiesta USA”.
    I think “Fiesta” (no USA or “Homer Laughlin”) must be something else.

    Or, you know, I hope so, cause I eat from Fiestaware every day.

  11. morganlh85 says:

    Even more interesting to me is that the majority of lead plates were NOT from China!

  12. morganlh85 says:

    Phew! I have the Corelle plates.

  13. iamme99 says:

    Lead has been a long term problem throughout civilized history. One wonders how much lead is really too much. Same with mercury in fish. And all the other contaminants we ingest.

  14. BigNutty says:

    Paper plates for me now.

  15. urusuru says:

    I think the problem with the early fiestaware was radiation not lead.

  16. The_Mhor says:

    XRF testing will only get a reading for Total Lead, and is not in any way representative of how much leachable lead there is in the item. I would like to see the more appropriate Soluble Lead test results for these items.

  17. ElizabethD says:

    I’ve felt lowbrow with our Corelle everyday plates and bowls, but I’m relieved to see they are totally green-lighted.

    Plus, they’re thin and easy to stack in the cupboard.

  18. swalve says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: Yeah, it just has uranium in it.

  19. burgundyyears says:

    Argh! Plates containing some amount of lead is not news, nor is it illegal. The test for leachable lead, which is what you need to pass as a manufacturer and what matters as a practical matter of course, has always been predicated on the amount of lead that matters is that which ends up in food and thus ends up in your body. Lead that is inaccessible to you is not going to hurt you, unless you actually eat the plate or (MAYBE) if you eat from a broken or badly chipped plate (which is already a bad idea for obvious reasons). XRF testing, as the PDF states, is NOT going to tell you how much lead will end up in food.

    It’d be interesting to see if all these people went home and threw out all the lead-containing items.

  20. m.ravian says:

    there is a really easy solution to this problem.

    find a local potter. buy some beautiful, one of kind plates from them. not only will you be buying something entirely safe (most potters mix their glazes by hand and can tell you down to the last gram what the ingredients are), but you’re doing a good deed by supporting your local artists. and lord knows, we need more of that.

    (full disclosure: i am a potter :)

  21. Charred says:

    @QuiteSpunky & burgundyyears: As a person who lives in KUTV’s demographic, I CAN say that, while it is unknown how much of the lead found was accessible, the causative events behind this test were a rash of people getting sick because of their plates. I’m also fairly certain that most of the people involved got rid of the offending items.

    And no, I didn’t have anything tested.

    @mexifelio: While not openly our enemy, neither is China our friend. It may be well for us to remember that.