Testing the tomato in the vegetable pattern on the outside of the dish, Tamara found the lead levels to be nearly 300 times the acceptable amount. She also found alarming levels of cadmium - well above the levels considered safe in modern testing. Click here to see her full results.
Writes Tamara: ‘I feel it is prudent never to have any Leaded cookware or utensils in our kitchens or food serving environments.
‘With pieces like the vintage Corningware casserole pictured here on this post (and much of the vintage Pyrex I have tested), where the toxicants found (like Lead and Cadmium) are primarily on the outside (not on the interior food surface of the item), my concern is more for the potential long term trace level exposure that might be caused by regular use of an item like this (due to the long-term wear of the exterior painted coating).
‘For context, please understand that it quite literally just takes a microscopic amount of Lead to poison a human being. Even a minute amount – of a neurotoxicant as potent as Lead – in household dust (or transferring to your hands, or wearing off into your kitchen cabinets, dishwasher, sink or prep surfaces) sufficient to poison a child literally cannot be detected without the aid of XRF testing or chemical reagent testing or other sensitive testing protocols (i.e. it cannot be seen with the naked eye).
‘In addition to concerns for potential exposure from normal use of these items, they are also usually stored in your cabinet stacked up – with the outside of one dish stored on the inside of another, creating friction as they are moved/removed. This could transfer the worn-off trace residue on the inside of a casserole that has just been washed before storing in the cabinet (and therefore is not likely to be washed again with removal from the cabinet/before use.)’
Tamara says she’s been asked by many concerned followers about the levels of lead in vintage Corningware, such as this casserole dish. She’s carried out various testing of similar dishes, saying it’s all part of her fight to make people more aware of the hidden lead in their cookware.
'I am a mother of Lead poisoned children,’ writes Tamara on her website. ‘My children were poisoned in 2005 by the work of a painting contractor ... Since then I have become an award-winning environmental activist for childhood Lead-poisoning prevention.
‘A main component of the environmental activism I do is independent consumer goods testing for toxicants, including Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and Mercury.
‘I test things that people send me to test, and I also do home visits with families – where I test everything in their home that I (or they) have toxicity concerns about. This casserole is an example of one of the items that one of my readers asked me to test.’
She adds: ‘In many cases, when I see certain items (or a member of an entire class of similar items), I have immediate concerns for actual poisoning of the user(s), based, unfortunately, on a great deal of personal experience…’
To find out more about Tamara’s important work, head here.
Main image: Lead Safe Mama