[Sca-cooks] OOP but WANT!!!!!

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Fri Sep 5 15:45:04 PDT 2008

Huette von Ahrens did speak thusly:
>There are a lot of shiny clear glazes used on pottery that have no 
>lead in them whatsoever.  Yes, one has to be careful of pottery that 
>is found in thrift stores, etc. because one doesn't know when the 
>piece was made and what chemicals were used in the glaze.  But in 
>the US, lead is NOT easy to obtain. You have to have a license here 
>in the US to obtain lead.

Really? Freeform Clay & Supply in San Diego sells it. Not saying it 
isn't so, but it seems to be readily available.

I was there this afternoon to pick up some other items and noticed 
several bottles and bags clearly labelled as lead glazes. There were 
no signs anywhere saying that a license was required to buy any of it.

I've actually discussed this with one of the owners of the business 
as one of his big customers uses a lot for various tiles he 
manufactures. He did say it is not possible to get it as red or white 
lead, but it is available in frit form. He never mentioned any 
restrictions on buying it either, just that it was illegal to use it 
on items to be sold for food service. While I may not have gotten the 
whole story, I would hope he would know what is required by law.

>Dragon, I read your statement to Hroar and he says that you are 
>saying things that are not true.  There are many ways to make a 
>low-fire glaze shiny without using lead.

Now I never stated that it was definitively a lead glaze. It's 
possible it may have come across that way but I never intended it to 
be anything but a cautionary statement (which has been passed on). 
What I did say was that to the best of my knowledge (which I know is 
not complete as I am not an expert), it could be a lead glaze as it 
looks very much like some lead glazed items I have seen (particularly 
a lot of Mexican bean pots). I felt it was better to raise the red 
flag just in case. Better safe than sorry.

I am curious what Hroar has to say if he has had a look at the 
photos. There seems to be a certain clarity and reflective and 
refractive quality to the lead glazes I have seen that just does not 
seem to occur in other types. But again, I am no expert and can only 
go by what I have seen so far.

>Hroar isn't positive how easy it is to get lead in Europe, but there 
>has been a large effort worldwide to educate potters about the evils 
>of lead based glazes.

Under current EU laws, it's nigh on impossible to get lead for 
anything. The Resolution on Hazardous Substances aka RoHS makes the 
use of lead in any application other than a very few where it is the 
only option pretty much illegal. This limits its use to mainly car 
batteries in any of the EU states. I've been dealing with this 
particular issue in the electronics world for several years as any 
commercial products must be made using lead-free solder. The only 
exemptions are for certain military and high-reliability applications.

Now having said that, The Republic of Macedonia is not an EU member 
state and it is completely unknown to me what their laws regarding 
the use of lead are. Knowing that, I suggested caution. They may well 
be following the EU guidelines but I have a real tendency to doubt it 
with the breakup of Yugoslavia causing so much chaos for so long.

Now we don't know if the pot was made in the Greek region known as 
Macedonia where EU laws definitely do apply or in the former Yugoslav 
nation. Lacking that knowledge, it is again better to be cautious.

As for worldwide education on the dangers of lead, that is definitely 
a good thing, but there are also countries out there who have proven 
they simply don't care. How many times in the past couple of years 
have we heard about lead paints and other contamination of toys and 
consumer products from China?

>But you are correct in that it is better to be safe than sorry and 
>using a lead test kit on the piece is wise.

Exactly my entire point, and we all seem to agree on that one.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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