Coloured Glass Plates Are So Pretty, But They Can Be Dangerous & Highly Toxic

Antique china plates or vintage mixing bowls are nice additions to your tableware setup, however, are you aware that they could lead to dangerous complications?

Yeap, it’s true.

While we’ve always known that plastic and disposable paper plates are loaded with chemicals which can trigger diabetes and metabolic syndrome, apparently, glass pates can be harmful too.

They are glazed with lead

Almost all dishwares with artworks or decorations on the eating surface contain lead and cadmium.

Lead is usually found in the cheaper ones that are sold for less than RM1 at flea markets, but there are still some expensive brands who are guilty of including this compound in their products.

Research shows that every exposure to lead, no matter how small, is harmful.

Lead poisoning

What’s worse, exposing those pretty plates to heat such as by microwaving food in it will speed up the leaching process!

If the amount of lead that leach into food from your dishes is greater than Proposition 65 levels, your dishes may pose a serious health risk.

Lead poisoning can cause stomach problems, headaches, and even seizures in adults, and is especially dangerous for children and fetuses because it affects the development of the brain and nerves.


Uranium glass chicken tray and cup. Photo by LuisVilla CC BY-SA 4.0

Interestingly enough, another compound that’s widely used in glasswares since 1800 is uranium. It gives a yellowish tint to the dishes, which was considered attractive.

Technically, our ancestors have been eating and drinking from radioactive tableware, but this addition is still around in glasswares made today too.

Fluorescent uranium glass. Photo by JJ Harrison CC BY-SA 2.5

Researchers estimate a single red plate contains approximately 4.5 grams of uranium or 20% uranium, by weight. That means, if you eat off the radioactive dinnerware daily, you would be looking at ingesting around 0.21 grams of uranium per year.

Various Vaseline glassware glowing under UV black lights. Photo by Realfintogive CC BY-SA 3.0

Look. We know they’re pretty, but let’s be safe than sorry, and keep those vintage pieces as wall decorations instead! Stay safe, everyone.

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