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I am a coffee drinker so I use a mug everyday. Many people have their favourite mug they use on daily basis. However, a mug can be toxic and leach harmful lead and cadmium. Coffee is actually acidic so it makes the mug leach lead or cadmium faster. Therefore, having a mug that doesn’t contain lead and cadmium is important especially for a coffee drinker like myself. Unfortunately, so many mugs contain lead or cadmium. A study by the University of Plymouth in UK found 70% of glasses they tested (out of 72 products) contained lead and cadmium. That means most of the mugs out there may have lead or cadmium. Since I use a mug everyday, I wanted to get a mug that is non toxic and cadmium & lead-free. In this post, I share with you how mugs can be toxic and what non toxic mugs are available.
How Mugs Can Be Toxic
Mugs can be made with plastic, ceramic, porcelain, bone china or glass. Plastic is a hazardous material to begin with and very bad when mixed with heat, therefore, I wouldn’t choose the material especially for drinking hot beverages. Heat will increase the amount of toxins leaching into drinks faster.
Ceramic mugs have glazes and decorations that usually contain lead or cadmium. Lead is usually used to make glazes look shiny and smooth. Cadmium is often used to provide dishes bright colors. Lead glazes and decorations are also commonly used on porcelain or fine china. Since small traces of lead or cadmium is allowed in dinnerware and mugs sold in the United States, many mugs contain lead or cadmium. Whether they are plain white, colored or decorated, they all have a chance to contain lead or cadmium. FDA started testing for safety starting 1970, therefore, most vintage china will contain high levels of lead and cadmium. Even nowadays, some fine chinas contain lead and cadmium regardless of their color and decals. For Glass mugs, if they are colored, painted or have decal-type decorations on the surface, they will most likely contain lead or cadmium. (except leaded crystal which contains lead as an ingredient)
Acidic food or drinks will make these materials leach lead or cadmium easier and faster. Unfortunately, coffee which many people drink daily, sometimes several times a day is acidic. Therefore, it will not be good for a coffee drinker to drink coffee in a mug that contains lead or cadmium. Microwaving a mug that contains lead or cadmium will also make leaching of toxicants easier and faster.
Non Toxic Mugs
In order to find out how much lead or cadmium is present in the mugs, each mug has to be tested. However, I don’t have the proper testing instrument and even if I do, I am not going to test every mugs before I buy. Since any ceramic, porcelain or china mugs can contain lead or cadmium from their glaze, I like the mugs that are made of glass. Glass material normally does not contain glaze unless it has painted or decal-type decorations.
A study by the University of Plymouth in UK found lead and cadmium in both the paint and glaze of decoration on the outside of the glassware and around the rim. The lead concentrations ranged from about 40 to 400,000 parts per million (ppm), while cadmium ranged from about 300 to 70,000 ppm. That is a lot of lead and cadmium found on glasses! The limit levels for the externally decorated lip area of drinking glass are 200 ppm and 800 ppm according to the US Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. Therefore, avoid glasses with paints and decorations and go for the plain, clear glass material. I have listed non toxic glass mugs below.
Some mugs are made of borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass has extreme resistance to severe temperature changes and thermal shock. Some glass mugs are insulated so you can keep the temperature of drink hot or cold for a long time.
[Update Mar.28, 2019] I have also added some stainless steel coffee mugs. Stainless steel is also a non toxic material that I enjoy using for food and drinks.
Eparé Insulated Coffee Cups
Eparé Insulated Coffee Cup is made with borosilicate glass. This mug is insulated so you can keep your drink hot or cold.
JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Insulated glasses Espresso Mugs – Non Toxic Mugs
JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Insulated Glass Mug is also made with borosilicate glass. It is also insulated so it will keep drinks hot or cold.
Libbey Robusta Classic Coffee Mug, 13 oz – Non Toxic Mugs
Libbey Robusta Classic Coffee Mug is great for hot drinks or soups.
Anchor Hocking Café Glass Coffee Mugs, 16 oz – Non Toxic Mugs
Anchor Hocking Coffee Mugs is great for hot or cold beverages.
Luminarc Jumbo Mug -Non Toxic Mugs
Luminarc Jumbo Mug is perfect for soup or coffee.
Avito Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Mugs with Lids – Non Toxic Mugs
Avito stainless steel coffee mugs are insulated and they come with lids. They are double walled and great for both hot or cold drinks.
Tru Blu Steel Insulated Stainless Steel Coffee Mugs – Non Toxic Mugs
Tru Blu Steel stainless steel coffee mugs are double walled and insulated.
Finedine Insulated Stainless Coffee Mugs – Non Toxic Mugs
Finedine insulated stainless steel coffee mugs come with lids. They have double wall.
Just like dinnerware, mugs also can contain lead and cadmium. Ceramic, porcelain, china or bone china mugs often have glaze with lead or cadmium to look brighter, shinier and colorful. Since it is not easy for me to test lead and cadmium contained in the mugs before I buy mugs, I don’t like mugs that are made of these materials. Glass, on the other hand, is safe except when it is painted, colored or decorated. Clear glass is the best option to avoid lead or cadmium.
From the mugs I recommended, I like Eparé Insulated Coffee Cup and JoyJolt Savor Double Wall Insulated Glass Mug. They are both made of borosilicate glass which can withstand heat changes better than ordinary glass. They are also insulated so you can keep drinks hot or cold for a long time. I really like glass mugs. They are not only non toxic but also they look great. I love drinking coffee everyday in my glass mug. I hope this post helps you decide the best non-toxic mug for you and your family!
Read my post ‘Non Toxic Dinnerware – Which Dinnerware Is Lead-Free?‘ to see how dinnerware can be toxic and what non toxic dinnerwear is available.
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‘.
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