Lead Safety in Ceramics
Lead is a toxic substance and pervasive in our environment, usually in amounts so insignificant that it poses no harm. Given its utility, however, larger quantities are sometimes present in common household objects, such as ceramic dishware. It is a safety concern, especially in older or imported dishes, but you don’t have to worry about ceramics from Zak Designs. Even though it may not be possible to eliminate all exposure to lead, we make it a priority to keep your family safe by following all lead safety regulations.
Federal lead regulations vary depending on the type of dishware, and the guideline for cups and mugs allows up to 0.5 micrograms/mL of leachable lead. You can read the details on the FDA website, Compliance Policies, but even the highest category has a maximum limit of only 3 micrograms/mL. This unit of measurement is equivalent to parts per million, which should give you an idea of the small scale involved. There is also plenty of state legislation regulating lead leaching in dishware, and in some cases, a state can be even stricter than the FDA.
To be clear, these regulations focus on the danger of lead, not its presence—it’s a common misconception to believe that they mean the same thing. Lead is used in ceramic glazes to facilitate melting or to brighten colors, but if the piece is properly fired, the lead will remain trapped. Ceramics don’t have to be lead free to be lead safe, which is why the FDA regulates lead leaching instead of lead content. It’s also why tools like X-ray fluorescence analyzers may cause unnecessary alarm: while they are sensitive enough to detect lead content, XRF analyzers have no way of knowing how much (or how little) lead is actually migrating into your food. If you still have questions, this FAQ may be able to help.
Rest assured that when it comes to lead safety, Zak Designs is compliant with all applicable regulations. Every single one of our products are tested for lead and other heavy metals, and if manufacturing is continuous, they’re retested every year. With this concrete knowledge of the protections in place, we hope our commitment to lead-safe products give you peace of mind.