If you drink your water, cook/store/eat your food from ceramic kitchenware/tableware, you could be exposed to lead poisoning. Reason: If the ceramic ware is not made properly, lead (used to make decorative designs in the lead) would leach into the food stored on it.
The Sunday Straits Times published quite a disturbing article titled Toxic Tableware- Danger Stalks You at Home (1 Nov 09)- article link is available at this forum.
The Malaysian Associates of Standard Users randomly tested 20 samples of ceramic tableware- cups, mugs, saucers, plates and bowls brought from different places in town. The results:
- 20% of the products were found to have leachable lead exceeding allowed standards by an average 1700%
- one sample, flat rice plates even exceed by 7500%!
Dangers of lead poisoning:
- damage nervous system
- can cause cancer
- affect brain development in children
In United States, this is widely known as the silent killer but it is still relatively unknown over there. Ceramic wares sold in US would be placed under stringent controls and adherence.
Therefore in order to be safe, it is advised that consumers to buy only ceramic ware that bear labels like “lead-safe” or “lead-free”. But do note that even Clayton Corporation, a company that bears the so called “lead-free” label still had leeachable material but found to be still within permissible levels.
Also, unless your favourite decorative birthday mug or gift set ceramic plates are certified to be lead free, you may want to replace with other inert materials like glass or Pyrex material.