Healthy Homes DepartmentIncluding the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
What does that yellow triangle mean?
Dishes with a yellow triangle have been tested and have been found to leach lead into food in amounts greater than the Proposition 65 warning levels. The triangle is there to help you make an informed choice. Many dishes that are being sold don't require a Proposition 65 warning label for lead.
Why are they suddenly putting lead in dishes?
Lead has actually been used in serving ware for centuries, both for the bright colors on ceramic dishes and for the smooth, transparent glaze.
Unfortunately, lead poisoning is also an ancient disease. Proposition 65 has helped to highlight this long-standing problem.
Why weren't we warned about this before now?
Proposition 65 took effect in 1988. In early 1993, a group of dish manufacturers agreed to provide warnings about the lead content in their dishes.
The research into the harmful effects of lead in the body is on-going. The Federal Centers for Disease Control have determined what level of lead in a child's body is considered to be hazardous. The agency recently set the hazard levels much lower than they had been before - meaning many more children are now thought to be at risk.
How does lead get from dishes into the body?
Lead can leach out from the surface of the dish and get into foods or beverages. Then, when the food is eaten, the lead gets into the body. The amount of lead that leaches from a dish depends on how the dish is used and what kind of food is put in it.
- Acid foods and drinks will leach lead out of dishes much faster than non-acid foods. Spaghetti sauce, salsa, orange juice, applesauce, coffee, tea, cola drinks and salad dressing are examples of acid foods.
- If you aren't sure about the lead in your dishes, you should not use them for storing food. The longer the food stays in contact with a dish surface containing lead, the more lead will be leached into the food.
- Heating up food in a lead-containing dish can speed up the lead-leaching process.