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"Pretty Patterns That Camouflage a Poison"

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"Pretty Patterns That Camouflage a Poison"

Post by Ja'aj on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:11 pm

LEAD CONTAMINATION FOUND IN CERAMIC POTTERY.


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Ryan Collerd for The New York Times




CONTAMINATED Ceramics sold in Philadelphia's
Chinatown tested positive for lead. - By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

Published: March 28, 2011



When Dr. Gerald F. O’Malley began work last summer in the department of emergency
medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, he took a walk around nearby
Chinatown and noticed the variety of elaborately adorned pottery for sale.

[From a previous posting] he knew that colorful Mexican ceramics were a significant
source of lead contamination. He wondered if the same held true with the pottery in Philadelphia’s Chinatown.


The answer, he and a group of researchers has found, is yes.

While the ceramics’ sources are not yet known — and neither is the extent of their
distribution — the contamination that Dr. O’Malley and his group found in the cooking
and eating utensils appeared to be severe enough to cause health problems.


“What we’ve demonstrated is that there’s a problem in Philadelphia’s Chinatown,”
Dr. O’Malley said. “We’ve conclusively shown that. If it’s happening in Philadelphia, it’s happening in other Chinatowns in other cities.”



To do the research, Dr. O’Malley, 48, enlisted four medical students and a colleague,
Dr. Thomas J. Gilmore, a second-year resident at Jefferson, to buy pottery samples
and test them.
They wound up with a collection sold at 32 locations, with 87 pieces bought in Chinatown
and 49 in nearby neighborhoods.



Using a screening device commonly used for paint, the researchers examined each piece
for lead content.
More than a quarter of the samples tested positive.


Then Dr. O’Malley’s team performed additional laboratory tests on 25 of the pieces to
confirm the findings, establish the degree of contamination and determine if the lead is leachable — that is, if it could be ingested along with food.

Three plates and two spoons were found to be leaching lead in quantities that far
exceeded the limits set by the Food and Drug Administration.

One of the plates leached lead at more than 145 parts per million. The agency’s limit is
2 parts per million.


Dr. O’Malley and his group have sent their data to the F.D.A., and
Michael E. Kashtock, a consumer safety officer at the agency, confirmed that he had
received the information.

“We collect our own samples and do our own testing,”
Dr. Kashtock said. “We have to have complete confidence that the test results we have
are fully defensible if any kind of administrative proceeding arises. We’re in the process
of following up.”

Dr. Gilmore said the agency had been “very open and helpful, and I fully expect them to do the right thing.”



He emphasized that the stores were not at fault. “The vendors should have the assurance
that they’re buying from sources who are in compliance,” he said.
“The vendors are getting bad press here, but we want them to be helped by this, not hurt.
I’m hoping that the F.D.A. will do a formal investigation and in the end track this to the source.”

Dr. O’Malley has his own plans for follow-up. He will ask patients to bring their utensils
to his clinic for testing. If they come up positive for lead, he will test the patients’ blood
levels.


“As far as I know,” he said, “there’s no study that’s looked at whether there’s a correlation between eating utensils and elevated lead levels in blood.”



The American Academy of Pediatrics generally recommends that children be tested twice
for lead before age 2, with some variations depending on local conditions.

Dr. O’Malley said he was concerned that he was working with a population that was not being screened at all.

“If you have 4- or 5-year-old kids eating with these utensils, or a pregnant woman, they’re ingesting lead with them,” he said. “No one’s really looking at these patients.”
#

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Re: "Pretty Patterns That Camouflage a Poison"

Post by Breezey Breezey on Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:35 am

I guess it's a good thing I always thought of those dishes as decorative, not for actually using.
Many dishes like that even have it printed on them that they are not for use.

I wonder if lead based paint "holds" better and if that is why it's still used?

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Re: "Pretty Patterns That Camouflage a Poison"

Post by Ja'aj on Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:26 pm

Hi, Bree!
I dunno... I think that it does possibly last longer
and wear better. It was The Choice for playgrounds...
which turned out to be very dangerous for the kids
playing there.

I am beginning to suspect a 'plot'... on the part of China. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
(It is not paranoia if they really are out to 'get' us, ya know. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]).
They don't take the "hint" well - and lead-based paint is
showing up in other things now that the U.S. has gotten kinda
unpleasant in our suggestion about them NOT using it in the toys they
sell to us.
On the other hand I don't have - never have had, far as I know - any
thing like that "made in China"... BUT I have had a LOT! of pottery
from Mexico.
There is something everyone needs to be aware of also.
I now have a bunch of "decorative" items I bought in Mexico.
Serving dishes and dinnerware, yes - but the most surprising thing
is that I have several really beautiful planters (they look! wonderful!)
that I can't use for living plants... they leech lead into the soil and kill
the plants. I'm not really slooow ! -( much ) - or anything... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] -
it only took me YEARS to figure out why the flowers I planted in
them -EVERY SPRING! and/or Fall - and in-between... died.
I thought it was my black thumb or where the planter was placed.
*duh*
Once I had placed them just-about EVERYWHERE and anything -
at al! I planted in them died ... it dawned on me. SLOWLY... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Dammit - they are so great-looking ! - I still ! find myself looking
at them and thinking, "Ya know... MAAAYbe... if I plant _ ?"
Uh-huh... no.
Those planters are kinda like a guy I used to know;
I kept thinking, "Surely something that pretty... can't be toxic... ?"
(Turns out: Yeah. He could be - and he was.) [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
P.S. He still looks amazing! too... [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
Now he also ! just 'sits there' - looking good and
preforming no other function around here. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Re: "Pretty Patterns That Camouflage a Poison"

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