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Lead Safe Dinnerware: Not Just a Trend in Pottery

Lavender Frilly Pie Plate

Trends come and go, in predictable cycles. Some trends should never be repeated, and some should never go out of style, like living a healthy lifestyle and being kind. Emerson Creek Pottery is no stranger to new and fading fads. There is a reason we’ve been in business since 1977; it is our willingness and ability to adapt to trends, and the insight to know which ones aren’t just fads. If you examine our handmade pottery from the 1970s, the style is different than today’s work. Take a look at how much our pottery has changed over the years.

When the trend of “going green” and saving the planet from harmful practices surfaced in the early 2000s, a new glaze was designed to support this cause. The Go Green Earthware Collection, with a tactile touch and earthy color, has been a favorite since its introduction. This could be misleading, as you might think this line is our only sustainable collection, or that we decided to go green because it was the right thing to do from a marketing perspective.

Here is the inside scoop: ALL of our pottery is environmentally safe and sustainable, and it has been from the beginning.

The sustainable, handmade, non-toxic dinnerware is one trend we have fully supported and have always practiced. It sometimes helps to be ahead of the curve.

We not only keep our pottery lead  safe, we try to minimize waste created in manufacturing by using recycled cardboard and packaging materials in shipping. All of our pottery is lead-safe, toxin-free and cadmium safe. We pride ourselves on meeting and exceeding the standards set up by agencies whose job it is to keep consumers safe and healthy. One of those standards, which we exceed minimum regulations on, is keeping all of our pottery lead-safe.

Most standards are focused on the consumer and how lead found in glazes, or paint, or any part of the piece can lead to health problems. While this is very much a concern, and one of the reasons we don’t use lead in any of our clay, glaze, or paint, it is not the only reason. The effect lead has on those who work directly with it is also detrimental. As early as the Industrial Revolution, people began to notice and record the effect lead was having on workers. If you read the linked article (or take our word for it), you will read about the negative effects which working with lead has on employees. As a small business, keeping our employees healthy and happy is one of our top priorities. The Emerson Creek team is vital to delivering timeless items like our Heritage Mug, inspired by the classic diner mug. Designs are inspired by classic forms while we continually update our practices for the health of our consumers and employees.

A simple Google search, “lead free pottery” give you 1,210,000 results, from potteries advertising lead free pottery to warnings from theFDA. But isn’t lead all around us? On the FDA’s website they advise consumers that, ”Lead in small amounts is part of our environment. In general, this low exposure to lead does not pose a significant public health concern. However, exposure to larger amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning, which can affect nearly every bodily system. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says lead can be poisonous to everyone—especially so to infants and young children, as well as to fetuses.” Another article from the University of California, California Agriculture gives details of what constitutes lead poisoning along with examples of how to avoid it. There are pages and pages of sites warning us about the dangers of lead in pottery, and the hazardous effects it can have on humans, and especially children. Lead poisoning in children has been linked to learning disabilities, developmental delays, and lower IQ scores according to the FDA.

The FDA has very strict rules about what constitutes a lead-safe piece of pottery and what kind of labeling can be assigned to pottery that does contain lead. We strive to go above and beyond their requirements. We not only meet the required FDA standards for lead safe pottery, but also the California Initiative Proposition 65, which has much stricter regulations regarding the amount of lead present in food bearing vessels. In a recent article released by the Food and Drug Administration they warn consumers that despite the great majority of manufactured potteries reducing and eliminating lead in paints and glazes, there remain recent reports about lead found in pottery. The article cautions against, “handmade with a crude appearance or irregular shape; antique; damaged or excessively worn; brightly decorated in orange, red, or yellow colors.” This may concern some of our own customers because some of our patterns have orange, red, or yellow in the pattern, such as Red Poppy or the child/baby dishes, especially the brightly colored goldfish pattern. However none of these or any of our other patterns use toxic materials and are perfectly safe to entertain your child (or you) and keep them healthy too!

Here at Emerson Creek Pottery, all of our dishes are lead safe, from the clay itself, to the glazes and pigments used in decorating. There is no need to be concerned with bright reds and oranges. Once you buy your first Emerson Creek piece, it is unlikely to be your last made in America, ceramic dish purchased to grace your cabinets. The warnings about lead and overload of information can be too much information at times, but rest assured, our pottery is completely lead and toxin free. Safe for you and safe for your children and pets.

Speaking of children, we have an entire blog focused on the potential hazards of using plastic baby dishes and the benefits of using handmade, ceramics for your children, and yourself of course. The next time you set your dinner table with Emerson Creek Pottery, rest assured every piece is not only hand-crafted from beginning to end, but it is also microwave safe and chip resistant. It is chip resistant with normal use; we would not recommend throwing your favorite plate down the stairs!

As for our furry pets, like all our pottery, the Ceramic Pet Dishes are lead-safe and toxic free. We adhere to this standard because pets are part of our family. We have several mugs available in our Pet designs which can be personalized. Read our blog about pet care tips, from grooming to helping you decide what breed would be best for your family!


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