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Is there danger of lead migrating into food from lead crystal containers?

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Some preliminary testing indicated that significant amounts of lead can migrate from lead crystal containers into beverages stored in them. Lead crystal typically contains 24-32 percent lead oxide. The amount of lead migration was measured for port wine stored in lead crystal decanters. After two days, lead levels were 89 micrograms. After four months, lead levels were between 2,000 and 5,000 micrograms. White wine doubled its lead content within an hour of storage and tripled it within four hours. Some brandy stored in lead crystal for over five years had lead levels around 20,000 micrograms To put this into perspective, EPA's lead standard for drinking water is 50 micrograms per liter. Citrus juices and infant formula leach lead from crystal just as effectively as alcoholic beverages. Several companies do make lead crystal baby bottles. Further testing is being done. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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