With the holidays approaching, you’re probably getting ready to pull out your decorative plates and glassware, because they’re fun and festive.

But those plates and cups adorned with fall leaves, turkeys, smiling Santas, Christmas trees and reindeer may be less innocent than they look…

They may contain surprisingly high levels of the heavy metals lead and cadmium.

Now, I’m not trying to put a damper on your holiday. But I think if you’re going to use this type of dishware, you should know there may be a health risk involved.

Lead and cadmium are heavy metals that can negatively impact your health in many ways. Studies show cadmium exposure is connected to a shorter life span, a higher cancer risk, and premature aging. And lead exposure is tied to obesity, neurological issues, and heart disease.

If you’re feeding kids and grandkids off of these dishes, the stakes are even higher. You already know how bad lead paint is for neurological development of children. So just imagine the impact of lead laced cups and plates.

The good news is, once you are aware of this risk lurking in your cabinets, you can make wise choices to reduce your exposure.

A study from researchers at the University of Plymouth in the UK found that dishware painted with decorative designs contains potentially toxic levels of lead and cadmium.

These researchers conducted 197 tests on 72 new and used glass products, like tumblers, beer and wine glasses and jars. They found dangerous heavy metals on the surface of the glassware and sometimes even on the rims.

Alarmingly, some of these dishes contain lead concentrations that were 1,000 times higher than the recommended limit. And it seems, the more you use and wash these decorative dishes, the more likely the paint is to chip off and end up in your body.

Another recent study from researchers at the University of Plymouth found that the pain on playground equipment also contains dangerously high levels of lead, but the risk from drinking glasses is far greater, according to researchers.

Researchers said that the lead and cadmium were found in both the paint and the glaze of decorative glassware and that about 70 percent of the products they analyzed tested positive for these heavy metals.

Lead was found in all decorative paint colors, as well as gold leaf designs. The greater risk for cadmium exposure came from red enamel (the Christmas designs most likely).

The U.S. office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment says that lead concentration on the lip area of decorative cups should be limited to 200 parts per million (ppm). Lead concentrations on the glassware that researchers studied, however, ranged from 40 to 400,000 ppm for lead and 300 to 700,000 ppm for cadmium.

And even though researchers only studied drinking glassware, they did confirm that the same type of paint and glaze are used for a variety of items in your kitchen, including beer, wine and liquor bottles, egg cups, jugs, measuring cups, coasters, and chopping boards.

“Given that safer alternatives are available to the industry, the overall results of this study are both surprising and concerning,” Dr. Andrew Turner, lead researcher in the study says. “I believe consumers should be made aware of this, while retailers and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorative products.”

If you would like to be checked for heavy metals or need treatment to get rid of them, give us a call to discuss your options at 806-355-8263 or go online to schedule an appointment at DoctorsClinicAmarillo.com.

Author Gerald M. Parker, D.O. Dr. Parker has been practicing as a Doctor of Osteopathy for over 30 years in the Amarillo area. He specializes in treating allergies, atherosclerosis, hormones, pain, obesity, and strokes. Dr. Parker has had ample training in the field of stem cell therapy and completed module I and II workshops by the American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians. He is a member of various organizations, including the American Osteopathic Association, American Osteopathic College of Pain Management and Sclerotherapy, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and American College of Regenerative Medicine. He’s received recognition as a Physician of the Year by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Physician’s Advisory Board and is on Marquis’ “Who’s Who in the World” and “Who’s Who in Medicine” list. Dr. Parker has shared his expertise on TV shows, such as “The Today Show,” and “That’s Incredible.”

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