Watch that gift mug, it could contain deadly chemicals
MANILA, Philippines – Have you bought gifts for your Valentine yet?
If you're thinking about buying a cup or mug, you might want to consider other options.
The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental watchdog, warns against buying gifts that contain lead and other toxic chemicals.
“Leaded glazes and paints on love-themed cups and mugs are of particular concern because of their availability not only on Valentine’s Day but almost all-year-round,” Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition’s protect project coordinator, said.
EcoWaste Coalition found high levels of lead in 22 out of the 23 samples they tested. They found that the products contained 1,028 to 31,900 parts per million (ppm) of lead. The only sample below the lead limit had 2,147 ppm of cadmium, a carcinogen.
Both lead and cadmium are in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 10 Chemicals of Major Public Concern. This puts them in the same group as arsenic, mercury, and asbestos.
The products containing the highest levels of lead were:
- A mug with the text “Crazy Love” – 31,900 ppm lead
- A mug with the words "fantastic friend” – 21,000 ppm lead
- A glass mug with “I love you” – 14,500 ppm lead
- A mug with multi-color heart design – 13,900 ppm
- A “Hello Kitty” mug with hearts – 11,200 ppm lead
Hazardous glazes common
Lead glazes are common in many ceramic products. It is known for leaving a smooth and glossy finish on products, particularly those with bright colors and decorative patterns.
Although they may be nice to look at, products with a lead glaze are health hazards, especially when ingested. According to Australia’s Department of the Environment, “lead can get into food and drink prepared, stored or served in the crockery.”
The WHO has stated “there is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe." – Rappler.com
Photo of mugs taken from Wikimedia Commons.