Lead Free Glassware Options

posted in: Kitchen Products | 54

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Last updated on September 18th, 2018

Lead Free Glassware OptionsWhen outfitting your kitchen, you may have a lot of questions, such as: Does glass used in cookware, dinnerware or storage containers contain lead? Does it leach other heavy metals such as aluminum and cadmium? Is glassware the safest material? These are very good questions. Let’s try to answer them and go over some lead free glassware options.

 

First, it is important to know that there are different types of glass material. Typical glass is called soda lime glass. And Pyrex glass storage containers and glass baking dishes are made with soda lime glass. Pyrex was acquired by World Kitchen in 1998.

 

Lead Free Glassware Composition

 

I called and emailed World Kitchen and, unfortunately, they do not disclose the materials with which their soda lime glass is made. They recommended searching on the Internet, which I did and my blog came up (which I found extremely illuminating) (just kidding, kind of).

 

And according to Wikipedia, “soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as sodium carbonate (soda), lime, dolomite, silicon dioxide(silica), aluminium oxide (alumina), and small quantities of fining agents (e.g., sodium sulfate, sodium chloride) in a glass furnace at temperatures locally up to 1675 °C.”

 

Before 1998, Pyrex was made of borosilicate glass by Corning. European Pyrex, called Pyroflam, is still made of borosilicate glass, which is more heat resistant. However, when it is dropped, it shatters into tiny particles instead of breaking into pieces.

 

According to Wikipedia, borosilicate Pyrex is composed of the following (as a percentage of weight): 4.0% boron, 54.0% oxygen, 2.8% sodium, 1.1% aluminum, 37.7% silicon, and 0.3% potassium.

 

Does glassware leach aluminum?

 

As you might have noticed, both types of glasses contain small amounts of aluminum. I do not have much information on how much aluminum leaches into food. I found two studies here and here that pointed to the fact that trace amounts of aluminum can leach into the contents.

 

I wish I could hear from the makers of Pyrex themselves about the composition of Pyrex glass and what may be leaching.

 

In the meantime, I am not very concerned about the possibility of aluminum leaching. I have a feeling if there is any leaching, the amounts should be minimal. Unlike lead, which has no safe amounts, our bodies can tolerate bigger amounts of aluminum before it becomes toxic. I have had challenge heavy metal tests done twice, and no aluminum was found in my body either time, and we use Pyrex all the time.

 

On the other hand, I have elevated amounts of lead stored in my body over the years, so I am very concerned about exposure to materials containing lead. So let’s talk about lead.

 

Leaded Crystal Glass

 

Lead is not part of glass composition. The only type of glass that is known to be made with lead is leaded crystal. Lead is used to impart the crystal effect. Leaded crystal is used to make wine decanters. This study found that storing wine in them for one day would pose a hazard. I would not store wine in them at all. I do not think the study took into consideration that lead accumulates in the body and there are multiple ways we can be exposed to lead that we can’t control.

 

Lead in Colored Glass

 

Colored glass or glass with something painted on it may contain lead or cadmium. For example, Tamara Rubin, the founder of the Lead Safe America Foundation, tested a Pyrex measuring cup and found elevated levels of lead in the painted markings on the outside.

 

Tamara also tested newer blue Ball mason jars and found some lead in them. However, she found that Ball is the most consistently lead-free brand.  Thus, when using mason jars, it is best to use clear plain glass without any painted features, and I recommend the Ball brand.

 

Based on my research and the results of Tamara’s tests, please find a list of glass products that I recommend.

 

Lead Free Glassware Options

Lead Free Glassware Options

Lead free Glassware Dinnerware

 

Corelle plates and bowls are made in the USA with Vitrelle® glass. Mugs are made in China with stoneware. While World Kitchen assured me that all their products are tested for heavy metals and were found to comply with California’s Prop. 65 limits, they would not show me the proof of that.   Tamara Rubin tested Corelle plates, bowls, and mugs and found some lead in the mugs.

 

I recommend when buying plates and bowls that you go for plain without painted decorations, which may contain lead or cadmium. Unfortunately, at this point, the dinnerware industry is not very transparent.  We use and like the set below.

 

Corelle Livingware 18-Piece Glass Dinnerware Set

 

Durelax Glass Bowls (tested lead-safe by Tamara Rubin)

 

 

Anchor Hocking Glass Salad Plates (tested lead-safe by Tamara Rubin)

 

 

Libbey Crisa Moderno Dinner Plate (tested lead-safe by Tamara Rubin)

 

Lead Free Glassware Mugs, Storage Containers, and Tools

 

This might be a surprising recommendation, but we have been using Ball mason jars as drinking glasses (some restaurants do, too) and as storage containers for years now. Tamara Rubin of Lead Safe America tested mason jars and found that the Ball brand mason jars were consistently the least likely to contain lead. Avoid colored ones as they tested positive for lead.

 

These are the Ball Mason jars we use for drinking and storing food. Make sure you wash and wipe lids to avoid rusting, but do not put them in the dishwasher, and do not let food or liquid touch the lid as the lids may contain BPA or other bisphenol chemicals.

Ball Half Pint Regular Mouth Jars

I store homemade broths or tomato sauce in the bigger jars.

Ball Pint-sized Mason Jars

 

This mason jar soap dispenser looks like a fun idea.

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

If you are not enthusiastic about using mason jars for drinking, these mugs are deemed safe by Tamara Rubin.

These glass mugs are made by another reputable glass company and like Pyrex are made in the US.

Anchor Hocking Café Glass Coffee Mugs

Pyrex glass food containers we use.

 

Pyrex Glass Baking Dishes

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid breakage; we have never had a problem.

 

Lead free glassware Pyrex mixing bowls that we use

Pyrex Prepware Glass Mixing Bowl Set

 

As tested by Tamara Rubin of Lead Safe America, the red markings on the Pyrex measuring cup may contain lead. These are two glass measuring cups without red markings made in the US.

Anchor Hocking 8 Cup Measuring Cup

 

Anchor Hocking 8-Ounce Triple Pour Measuring Cup

 

Lead-Free Glassware Cookware

 

Visions cookware is made of glass ceramic. The cookware is made in France and the lids are made in China. The ceramic component of the glass makes it withstand extreme temperatures and be used on a stove top. The Natural Baby Mama tested Visions cookware for lead and cadmium with XRF technology and found none. According to her, older cookware, about 10 years old, contained heavy metals. Also, one of my blog readers shared her experience with nickel poisoning that she believed came from Visions cookware. They had used a vintage version. I am not saying that the cookware caused nickel poisoning. I am just passing along the comment without adding to it.

 

We have not used Visions yet. If you do, please share your experience in the comments.

Visions 5L Round Dutch Oven

VISIONS 4-pc Cookware Set

Visions Waffled 9″ Skillet Pan

 

Thus, I believe plain non-colored non-painted glass is a safer option for dinnerware and cookware. I hope this clarifies your safer options and makes your life a little easier.

For more information on other types of cookware, visit here.

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54 Responses

    • Irina Webb

      There are a few places where I say “These are..” Could you please give me the title of the section or paragraph count? Thank you!!! ~Irina

  1. Tess

    I think they’re supposed to be pics, but there are no pics in the whole article except for the first one with the mason jars.

    • Irina Webb

      Hmm… I asked my husband to open it on his computer at work and he can see the pictures. I can also see them on my iphone. Have you tried refreshing the page? Thank you for bringing this to my attention though. ~Irina

      • Luciana

        I was also able to see them. I would shut down the computer and re-start. That might help.

      • LiLi

        Try another browser. Some things work in FireFox for me and will not work in Safari. I have a Mac

  2. Tess

    Nope, even closed and reopened. A grey square sometimes appears, then a sad face inside the square, then gone! I use Google Chrome, so if you hear from someone else you might ask about that. Weird.

    • Irina Webb

      Tess, the reason you are experiencing this issue is that you might have AdBlocker installed in your browser or you may not be using the most updated version of your favorite browser. Your hosting service can be creating the issue. In any event, above every picture, I added a hyperlink you can click on to take you to Amazon. ~Irina

  3. MD

    Glass drinking straws would be another good item to add to your list of recommendations in this post. I just purchased a set today, prior to reading this post, made by a company called Hummingbird glass straws that are supposedly made in the US. There was also another company called Dharma but they are quite expensive.

  4. Maria

    In the market for new dinner/cookware. I so appreciate this Irina. Thank you!!!!!

  5. Rocio Gow

    We use borosilicate glass containers, glass,cups,tea pot, cooking pot, casserole, all we can find! (Simax is the best/europe) because my thinking is that if the labs use them must be because they are resistant to all! :)… is it true that Pyrex change the Boron ingredient for soda lime because is cheap?… I broke a borosilicate glass and like you say it shatters into tiny particles instead of breaking into pieces, and didn’t cut my self because the pieces are not sharp, ease to take it with vacuum…
    Thank you Irina !!!

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Rocio: it is hard to say why Purex switched from borosilicate glass to soda lime. We can only take our guesses. Thank you for sharing, Rocio! ~Irina

  6. Martie

    I am just loving all your recommendations Irina! Been adding almost everything to my Amazon wish list. I am looking into the Anchor Hocking glass food storage containers and I just wanted to find out what your opinion is on them, as I know you use the Pyrex ones? Curious to know what you think…

    Here is a link: https://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Hocking-TrueSeal-Containers-Airtight/dp/B01BNFLVGW/ref=sr_1_13?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1504598574&sr=1-13&keywords=anchor+hocking+glass+storage+containers

  7. Daniel Langlois

    Thank you Irina for all your research and information you provide your readers, I am new to your website, and have already found it helpful. Have you heard of Tierra Negr: http://www.tierranegra.co.uk/index.php. I was hoping you have researched into this company. Also there is Cookonclay.com

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Daniel: Thank you for your question. I have not heard about Tierra Negr until now. 🙂 Clay or ceramics can be contaminated with lead and cadmium so until they test and show us their test reports I am not sceptical about their safety. Do you want to ask them? The company that has shown their test reports is Xtrema, also goes in the oven or on the stovetop. We own a couple pieces. You can read more about it here: https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/xtrema-ceramic-cookware-review/. Let me know what you think. ~Irina

  8. Susan

    Hi Irina, glad I found you. Would the Anchor Hocking mug recommendation and research be the same for all AH mug/glass styles? I imagine it would, but just want to be sure. I see some of their other glassware I prefer the look of. I’ll be sure to use your link.
    Thank You,
    Susan

  9. Penny Tucker

    Do you know anything about the safety of “Bernardin” glass mason jars?

  10. Marijana Dedic

    Hi Irina, thank you for great research. What do you think about Luminarc glass. Suposedly their new collectiona are lead and cadmium free?
    Thank you,

    Marijana

      • Christine C.

        I have the same question. I just bought a set of Luminarc dishes (“Santa Fe” pattern), and they are made in the UAE. Luminarc is part of the Arc International group, which is headquartered in France. I found on their website that “The Group has production sites in China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States…. its five brands (Luminarc, Arcoroc, Chef&Sommelier, Arcopal and Cristal d’Arques Paris) …” If Luminarc mugs manufactured in the USA are lead-free (per Tamara Rubin’s test and the product description on Amazon), can I assume that those made in the UAE are also lead-free?

        • Irina Webb

          Hi, Christine: not necessarily, unfortunately.. Heavy metals are contaminants that come from the background levels of a country they are made in. Could you send me a link to Tamara Rubin test? Thank you! ~Irina

      • Christine C.

        What also gave me pause about the Luminarc plates was that Tamara Rubin tested a clear glass Arcoroc plate that was positive for lead. This may have been a vintage plate, though. In the picture she posted, “Arcoroc France” is embossed on the bottom of the plate. The new plates I bought have nothing on the bottom except a small 2-digit numeral.
        http://tamararubin.com/2017/01/arcoroc/

    • Christine C.

      Irina, this blog post by Tamara Rubin included Amazon links to several mugs she has personally tested. One of those was a Luminarc mug; the Amazon product description says “lead free” and “Made in USA.”
      http://tamararubin.com/2016/12/mugs/

      However, the Luminarc dishes I just bought say “Made in UAE” and do not say “lead free.”
      https://www.amazon.com/Arc-International-Santa-Dessert-7-5-Inch/dp/B00KMT2J6W/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1513634713&sr=1-3&keywords=arc+santa+fe

      I understand that Arc Intl (parent of Luminarc) manufactures in several countries, including France, China, Russia, UAE, and USA. I’m thinking now I might return the dishes I just bought and get some that have either been tested by somebody or at least that say “lead free.” Prob best to get USA too. Part of me thinks I’m being ridiculous and the ones are I got prob fine. But if I’m replacing my dishes specifically to get some without toxins, then I want to be sure about what I’m getting.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Marijana and Christine:

      Generally glass is considered the safest material and not supposed to leach heavy metals, unless it is leaded crystal where lead is added internationally impart clarity. Ceramic has a concern over leaching lead or cadmium or other heavy metals. They are NOT internally added to but can be contaminants. To know if there are any contaminants for sure, it is good to ask for test reports and/or it helps when products are made in the countries where background levels of pollution are low. Know that some people hire me to do personalized research or if a lot of people ask me about the same brand, I will do research and discuss my findings in a blog post such as this one. Thank you for your questions! Happy Holidays! ~Irina

  11. melisa

    The manufacturer of luminarc is i believe France where it is from, they claim to be free of all contaminants, but are they really?

  12. Marijana Dedic

    I contacted Luminarc’s customer servise few days ago, and was told that their new colections are free from lead and cadmium, and that these colections are marked clearly on boxes as 0% lead and cadmium. Unfortunatelly, new collections are not clearly marked in their online shop.

    It is unclear weather all of their old collections contain lead and cadmium, or is it just crystal glass.
    Their chef&sommelier collections are made from Maxima porcelain. Does anyone know what that is and are porcelain dishes considered safe? (since it is fired on very high temperatires)

    And as far as I know they are made in France. Or at least their products selling in European shops are.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Merijana: keep in mind that when customer services reps or website descriptions say that their products contain 0% lead or 100% lead-free, they often mean that lead is not added internationally. It is best to ask if the products were tested for heavy metal contamination, and if they can show their test reports. Porcelain and ceramic are often used interchangeably. Yes, high temperatures take of most lead but trace amounts may remain. Thank you for doing this research. Please keep in touch. ~Irina

  13. Marijana

    Hi Irina, thank you for the information. I will try asking them about testing, too.
    Today I received email from customer service abot Maxima porcelain – it contains alumina.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Francis, I have to make a correction. Tamara Rubin tested some Libbey plates with XRF and found them consistently lead-safe. So there is no guarantee with the other Libbey pieces. Again, generally, clear glass made in the US or Europe, not from recycled glass, is a safer option. But you never know until you test it yourself or somebody you trust, unfortunately. ~Irina

      • francis

        Thank you very much Irina! That’s really helpful! About Ball Mason jars, I’m really worried after finding their lids are made with plastisol rings. Plastisol is PVC-based and may contain phthalates. What do you think about this?

  14. Rachel

    Thank you for the information!! Do you have any thoughts on the Oxo glass storage containers that are made from borosilicate glass?

  15. Zeke

    Hello. I recently purchased transparent amber colored Pyrex (Made in France) cookware. It is extremely durable. To my knowledge it is made from the more vintage borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass when researched does not contain any lead. Does the amber color suggest that lead may have been used in this product since it is not a clear glass? There is not much research or test results on this product. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Zeke: I don’t think that lead was used to create the amber color. In fact, lead is known to be used to create clarity in a crystal glass. But again, we would not know for sure until we test for heavy metals ourselves or see a test report from an independent lab. Thank you for asking. ~Irina

  16. Dawn

    The mason jars I have come from the almond butter I eat. Because it was sold with food, is it safe to say that it will be lead free? I have blue glass “crisa” cups from Walmart back in the day, and an eight piece purple set of glass cups. Also blue glass plates from Walmart. Not sure what to think of those. Should I get rid of them? I have 2 Lennix tea cups and some coffee mugs from school. Just ordered a Hiware 1000ml glass teapot, and thought it was lead free but now I don’t know. I could really use some guidance, and unfortunately my husband doesn’t care. He says YOLO (you only live once). Please help, thank you!

  17. Kayleigh

    I emailed duralex this week and according to them the composition of their glassware is as follows:

    Silicon dioxide 69-74%
    Aluminum oxide 1-2%
    Sodium oxide + potassium oxide 11-16%
    Calcium oxide + magnesium oxide 10.5-14.5%

    Thought I’d pass it along. 😉

  18. Caesare A Engstrom

    Curious…you tested one type of “plate” for a certain brand…Duralex as listed above…will their other glass products be assumed safe and lead free too? Their glasses or bowls or other plates?

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Caesare, I did not test anything myself. It is Tamara Rubin who did. Please refer to her website for more information. You are right if we test one type of products, it is unclear if we can make assumptions about the whole brand. Normally, clear glass is not known to contain lead. ~Irina

  19. John T.

    Hello!
    
I saw a few mentions of Visions.
    It’s just about all I use myself and even have a group on Facebook devoted to it.

I was reading your page and wanted to note a few items to allay some concern.

    Visions cookware is not, and has never been, made with borosilicate or soda lime glass. Visions is made of a transparent Pyroceram material (called “Calexium” in some regions). It’s a proprietary glass melt that is heated to the point that it crystallizes, creating a beta-quartz based glass-ceramic product.
    

The accounts of “exploding” glass bakeware generally stem from people mistaking brown and cranberry Pyrex for Visions and then Visions getting the blame. While damaged pieces of Visions should not be used, Visions is not susceptible to thermal shock the way regular glass bakeware is and that’s why it has always had a 10 year warranty against breakage due to extreme temperatures.

    As far as new vs old. They are ALL made of the same material. Visions began production in the late ‘70s in France and has never contained lead or nickel as an element of its creation. I myself, in fact, prefer cooking in some of the earliest pieces because they are a heavier weight with thicker walls and handles on the saucepans, for example. There was a brief period (approx 1989-1995) where some lines were made with a SIlverStone (Teflon-like coating) but those are the exception. Beyond that there is NO harm in using vintage pieces providing they do not have visible damage.

    They are non-porous, will not stain, and are incredibly resistant to acidic substances.



    • francis

      Thank you for sharing this info with us, John!
      However, I’ve learned that there is 0.9% Diarsenic Trioxide (As2O3) in Calexium composition, so I wondered whether Visions cookware was really safe.

      • John T.

        Hi Francis.

        There was Diarsenic Trioxide used in the manufacturer of Pyroceram glass-ceramic products, mostly commonly vintage Corning Ware (it’s not unique to Visions). It was used to remove oxygen (air bubbles) from the precursor glass melt prior to molding of the cooking vessels. HOWEVER, it burns off during the process plus it goes through additional extreme temperatures to convert the glass into it’s final beta-quartz (Visions) or beta-spudomene (Corning Ware) form. A pollutant concern in regard to the factory at the time of production, I’m quite sure, but is not something that is waiting to leach out of the retail product. Corning Ware has been made since 1958 and it has never been an issue. 🙂

        John

    • Adrian Moylette

      Hi John T. What is your Facebook group info ? I would like to connect and have some questions about visionware.
      Thanks, Adrian M.

  20. Sherry Osterhoff

    Hello,

    Do you know if Starbucks drinking glasses (not mugs) contain lead?

  21. Lori

    Please can you explain the last sentence here? I don’t understand what you meant by software. Thanks.

    ” Also, one of my blog readers shared her experience with nickel poisoning that she believed came from Visions cookware. They had used a vintage version. I am not saying that the software caused nickel poisoning. I am just passing along the comment without adding to it.”

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