Is Lead Crystal Safe for Food and Beverage
Significant amounts of lead can migrate from lead crystal containers into beverages stored in them. Lead crystal typically contains 24–32 percent lead oxide. In a study performed at North Carolina State University, the amount of lead migration was measured for port wine stored in lead crystal decanters.
After two days, lead levels were 89 µg/L (micrograms per liter). After four months, lead levels were between 2,000 and 5,000 µg/L. 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 µg/L.
To put this into perspective, EPA's lead standard for drinking water is 15 µg/L = 15ppb. Citrus juices and infant formula leach lead from crystal just as effectively as alcoholic beverages. Several companies do make lead crystal baby bottles and it is suspected they may present a health danger to infants.
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