Lead in Dishes (China and Pottery)
California's Proposition 65 requires that, under certain circumstances, businesses provide a clear and reasonable warning about lead levels in china and pottery to consumers before knowingly and intentionally exposing them to certain chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Lead was determined by the state to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm in 1987, and warnings have been required for certain exposures to lead since 1988. Lawsuits are ongoing against manufacturers and distributors of ceramic tableware to ensure that all manufacturing companies meet the law's requirements.
Questions about metal utensils and tableware (forks, knives, etc.) used with food should also be directed to the Office of the Attorney General.
The Environmental Defense Fund, in cooperation with the California Attorney General, has created a brochure entitled, "What You Should Know About Lead in China Dishes," which explains the health risks of lead and what to do when you go to buy new ones. It includes a list of over 2,000 china patterns that meet California's stringent standards for lead leaching. The brochure also includes information on where to get home test kits, so consumers can test dishes themselves.
Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20009
Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General
PO BOX 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
(800) 952-5225 (CA Callers)
(916) 322-3360 (Out of State)
(916) 323-5341 Fax
(800) 735-2929 (TYY)
(916) 327-5564 (TDD Out of State)
Consumers may order pamphlets about lead disclosure laws for pottery and china and learn how to protect themselves from lead poisoning. Free brochures may be requested by telephone or web site.
National Lead Information Center
422 South Clinton Avenue Rochester, NY 14620
Call Toll-free: 1-800-424-LEAD  Fax: (585) 232-3111
The California Department of Public Health, Food and Drug Branch, enforces tableware regulations within California and provides information on lead in consumer products, including tableware, food, drugs and cosmetics. Contact the department to report possible retail violations or to obtain texts of applicable regulations.
California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Food and Drug Branch
1500 Capitol Avenue, MS 7602
Sacramento, CA 95814
P.O. Box 997435, MS 7602
Sacramento, CA 95899
Phone: (800) 495-3232