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toxicity issues & cadmium (fwd)

updated thu 21 dec 00


ACTSNYC@CS.COM on wed 20 dec 00

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2000 22:34:54 -0500
> From: Brenda Z
> Subject: Re: toxicity issues & cadmium
> John,
> I was very surprised to see cadmium on your list, right up there with lead.
> I was unaware that cadmium was so toxic. <

John is dead right--cadmium is even more toxic than lead. If you know your
TLVs, the TLV for lead is 0.05 milligrams/meter3 while the TLV for cadmium is
0.002 mg/m3.

> I have been buying commercial glazes and underglazes for any pottery that I
> intended to use for food, since I have very little knowledge of glaze
> materials. I recently bought a commercial underglaze that contains
> The label states that it is dinnerware safe (if used under a specific clear
> glaze), and the bottle is clearly marked as NONTOXIC. The only warning on
> the label is that the underglaze should not be sprayed. Now I am wondering
> if I can trust the labels on the commercial glazes that I am buying < could be that the product you bought had been on the shelf a while
and the label was printed before the lawsuits against Duncan, Mayco, and
Amaco were settled and they changed their labels. If the word "dust" is not
on the label as a source of exposure, then it was probably bottled before

The "nontoxic" label also makes me think this is an old label. "Nontoxic"
was misapplied to some glazes on the basis of an acid test showing the lead
and/or cadmium were not soluble. But in the lawsuits, the Toxicologist for
ACMI admitted in deposition (on the defendant's side) that there is no
relationship between acid solubility and biolavailability of a frit. So
glazes containing lead or cadmium should be considered toxic on the basis of
their content.

But all glaze labels, even to this day, have wording that throws the
liability for cadmium and lead leaching back on you. If you make a pot that
leaches, they can claim that you did not apply it right, fire it right, etc.
No matter how carefully you follow directions, you still must test your ware.
> I let my kids paint with this underglaze (at least the pieces where
> sculptural). Now I am wondering about what kinds of risks I have exposed
> the kids to.
> I am also thinking about throwing out the bottle of underglaze. I would
> rather err on the side of safety, and put purple flowers on my pots
> instead of red ones. <

Good thinking.

Monona Rossol
181 Thompson St., #23
NYC NY 10012-2586 212/777-0062
> Brenda Z.