Non Toxic Dinnerware – Which Dinnerware Is Lead-Free?

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Non Toxic Dinnerwear

Non Toxic Dinnerwear – Which Dinnerware Is Lead-Free?


Surprisingly, most dinnerware contain lead or cadmium. Who would have thought that those plates with pretty, colorful designs or grandmother’s expensive antique china can leach a lot of lead or cadmium during food is being served in them?  One of the Vintage Mikasa’s fine china, Optima plate was found to have 45,300 ppm lead. One of Pottery Barn’s white ceramic plate was found to have 363 ppm lead.  Levels in the 90 ppm range or below are considered lead-safe although it is not lead-free. 45,300 or even 300 ppm seems to be a high number to have in our dinnerware!  WTHR, Indianapolis News did the investigation of lead in plates, bowls and mugs. Of the 315 plates, 36% exceeded 300 ppm. One out ten dishes contained more than 10,000 ppm of lead and several of them had 100,000 ppm.  Eating out of these dishes for a long time can have accumulation of lead in the body and can cause lead poisoning. Young children are more vulnerable. In this post, I share with you how dinnerware can be toxic and what lead-free, non toxic dinner ware is available.



How Dinnerware Can be Toxic

Lead is used in the glazes or decorations on the surface of dishes to make dishes durable and to make colored glazes bright and shiny. Cadmium is used to give dishes bright colors such as bright yellow or orange color to glazes. There is a high chance that ceramic, porcelain, china or bone china will contain lead or cadmium since they all use glaze and often lead and cadmium are used in the glaze.  Lead and cadmium are easily found in vintage china, Mexican terra cotta, decorated asian plates, handcrafted or brightly colored dinnerware or dinnerware with decals on the surface. However, these are not the only kinds of dishes you can find lead or cadmium. Whether dishes are plain white or colorfully decorated, they can contain lead or cadmium. Expensive china is not an exception.

These dishes with lead or cadmium can leach lead or cadmium while food is served in them. They will leach more and faster if acidic food is being served.  Soy sauce, apples, citrus fruits, tomatoes, pasta dishes with tomato sauce and salad dressing are considered to be acidic food. If a dish has a chip or its glaze is worn out due to frequent dishwashing in the dishwasher, it will leach more as well. Microwaving food in the dishes that may contain lead will also accelerate leaching of the lead.



Dinnerware Materials

Dinnerware is usually made of melamine (plastic), ceramic (earthward or stoneware), vitrified glass, porcelain (porcelain or china) or bone china. Let’s take a look if each of them contains lead or cadmium.


Melamine (Plastic)

I am not a fan of plastic due to its toxic nature so I will not be recommending any plastic dinnerware. Melamine is combined with formaldehyde to form the hard plastic tableware. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Therefore, plastic should be avoided.


Ceramic (Stoneware or Earthware)

I don’t like ceramic dinnerware since ceramic can contain lead and cadmium in their glazes, clay and paint. Dinnerware with small traces of lead or cadmium is allowed to be sold in the United States. This lead or cadmium can leach when microwaving or serving acidic food in the dish.  If the dish has a chip or cracks, it can leach lead as well.  After ceramic dinnerware has been in the dishwasher many times, the glaze will break down over time and the leaching will become easier.


Porcelain or China

Porcelain or china is made of a fine-particle clay in high temperature. FDA began testing dinnerware for safety starting 1970. Therefore, china made before 1970 will contain high levels of lead so avoid using antique china. Some chinas have a gold, silver or platinum borders and decorations and they can leach lead or cadmium from these borders and decals.


Bone China

Expensive china or even bone china which is made partly from animal bones are not an exception. They will most likely contain lead or cadmium in the colourful patterns or decals. Some plain white chinas also contain lead since glaze is also used.



Glass material is not all safe either. Glass has been known to be the safest material  to store food. I store all my food in glass. However, Dr Andrew Turner of the University of Plymouth, UK tested  a range of glass products and more than 70 percent of the 72 products tested contained lead and cadmium. These toxicant were found in both the paint and glaze of decorated glassware and both on the outside of the glassware and around the rim.

Normally, lead is not put into the glass as an ingredient to make a glass product. The only glass product that is made of lead is leaded crystal. Leaded crystal is dangerous since it can leach large amount of lead. Storing an acidic drink such as wine in leaded crystal wouldn’t be a good idea.  Usually, soda lime glass or borosilicate glass is used in most glassware. Since lead and cadmium are found in glass when it is colored or painted with decorations, avoid glassware with the paint or decorations. Plain, clear glass would be the best option.



Non Toxic Dinnerware

It was not easy to find dinnerware with no lead and cadmium since manufacturers do not list if the dish has lead or not. However, I did find some lead test results on internet from Tamara Rubin, the founder of the Lead Safe America Foundation. She tested whole bunch or dinnerware and glassware for lead and cadmium and listed the results. Dinnerware listed below have no lead or cadmium in the dishes according to Tamara Rubin.


Corelle Livingware Winter Frost White Glass Dinner Set – Non Toxic Dinnerware

Corelle Winter Frost White glass dinner set is  light and extremely durable. It is break and chip resistant. This set has 18 pcs (for 6 people).

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More Info





Corelle Winter Frost White Dinnerware Set 38 Pieces  – Non Toxic Dinnerware


Corelle Winter Frost White Dinnerware Set has 38 pieces (for 12 people).

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More Info






Corelle Embossed Bella Faenza 16 Piece Dinnerware Set – Non Toxic Dinnerware


Corelle Embossed Bella Faenza Dinnerware Set has 16 pieces (for 4 people.)

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More Info





Lenox Opal Innocence Platinum-Banded Bone China – Non Toxic Dinnerware


Lenox Opal Innocence Platinum-Banded Bone China is  crafted from Lenox fine bone china.

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More Info






Sur La Table Bistro 24-Piece Dinnerware Set


Sur La Table Bristro Dinnerware Set has 24 pieces in the set.

It is made in Turkey and lead and cadmium free.

More Info





Libbey Crisa Moderno Dinner Plate – Non Toxic Dinnerware

Libbey Crisa Moderno Dinner Plate is a clear glass plate.

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More Info




Anchor Hocking 8-Inch Presence Glass Salad Plate, Set of 12 – Non Toxic Dinnerware


Anchor Hocking Glass Salad Plate is also clear glass.

It is made in USA and lead and cadmium free.

More info





Duralex Lys 8 Inch Clear Calotte Plate


Duralex Clear  Calotte Plate is more resistant to breakage and chipping than normal glass.

It is made in France and lead and cadmium free.

Mofe Info





Final Thoughts

Lead or cadmium leaching out of the dinnerware is not something many people think about. It is unfortunate that just about everything around us can be toxic including our dinnerware!  Dishes made with ceramic, porcelain or china can contain lead or cadmium since glaze is used. Whether the dish is plain white or with colorful decorations, lead or cadmium can be present. For glass material, colors or decorations on the glass may contain lead or cadmium. Therefore, plain clear glass will be the safest option for glassware.

Dinnerware listed above is all cadmium and lead-free. My favourite is Corelle Livingware Winterfrost White Dinnerware set. Corelle Vitrelle® glass is lightweight & break and chip resistant. Corelle dishes are thin and translucent as fine china, yet extremely stronger. It is great for every day use. I also like Lenox Opal Innocence Platinum Banded Bone China set. Not all Lenox products are lead-free but this dinnerware set is. It is elegant and great for formal dining. Bone china is lighter and thinner but stronger and more durable than porcelain.  I am glad I found these dinnerwares that are safe from lead and cadmium.  Since dinnerware is used everyday, using a non toxic tableware is essential for me. I have been using Corelle Livingware Winterfrost White Dinnerware set and it has been great so far. I  will be writing a review about it later.



If you are interested in non toxic cookware, please read my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Cookware Guide – What Is The Healthiest And Safest Cookware?

If you are interested in pressure cooker, Instant Pot, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic Pressure Cooker – Is Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Non Toxic?

If you are interested in non toxic rice cookers, please read my post ‘Non Toxic Rice Cookers – Rice Cookers With A Stainless Steel Inner Pot‘.





  • go_new_mommy

    Isabelle has been an entrepreneur for last 16 years in retail and educational industry. She is also a mom. She is a mom entrepreneur who is always trying to find a better, easier way to run her business. She also tries to provide organic and non-toxic living environment for her child. She likes to research for the most non-toxic products or safe alternatives and share them with parents. In addition, she is against animal testing and supports cruelty-free products.


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