Last Updated: Jun 11, 2019     Views: 628

From Dr. Robert Brill, Research Scientist Emeritus:

A similar question arises often in connection with the long-term storage of wine in antique decanters (or modern ones, for that matter) that are made of high-lead glass.  Normally, there should not be a problem, because the corrosive action is a slow process.  Over a matter of several months, however, particularly with a glass of especially poor chemical durability, there could be some significant dissolution of lead into the wine.  If one were storing vinegar, which would be more acidic, then the problem could be more significant. 

It is generally best not to store wine in decanters for extended periods of time.  That is the safest answer.  Given the stringent government restrictions on allowable levels of lead, most glass manufacturers in the U.S. have simply avoided the problem by not using lead glasses for any sorts of containers. 

You can explore this issue further by consulting the books/articles below or by contacting the Food & Drug Administration:


Ahmed, A.A.  “Effect of Repeated Leaching on the Release of Lead and Other Cations from Lead Crystal Glass (24% PbO) by Acid Solutions and Water.” 

Glass Technology, v.38, no. 5, October 1997, pp. 171-178.


Ahmed, A.A.  “Reactions Between Water and Lead Crystal Glass (24% PbO).” 

Glass Technology, v. 38, no. 1, Feb. 1997, pp. 30-38.  (Analysis of lead leaching)


Altman, Lawrence K. “Storing wine in crystal decanters may pose lead hazard.”

New York Times, Feb. 19, 1991.


Anderson, Loren A., Jr. “A review of blood lead results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination survey”

Stained Glass, Fall 1995, p. 232-233?


Barbee, S. J. and L. A. Constantine. “Release of lead from crystal decanters under condition of normal use.”

Food Chem. Toxicol.  V. 32 no. 3, March 1994, p. 285-288.

Abstract in VF: article not in CMGL


Boonstra, Nicholas J.  “Lead Leaching in Crystal Decanters.” 

The Hobstar, v. 13, no. 8, May 1991, pp. 4-5.


Burke, Jerry A. “Getting lead out of our diet.”

Society of Glass & Ceramic Decorators 1992 Seminar Proceedings, p. 14-15

<TP863.S67 1992>


Calderwood, James A. “Heavy metals legislation in the USA”

Glass International June 1992, p. 15-16


Calderwood, James A. “Lead and heavy metals: where does the USA stand?”

Glass, Dec. 1992, p. 508.


Foulke , Judith E. “Lead Threats Lessen, But Mugs Pose Problem”

From the FDA Consumer Magazine; found online 1/2010


Fraser, Angela M. [Study done on lead safety at North Carolina State University] 2004.

Report or publication not identified


Frederes, K. P. and A. J. Varshneya. “The leaching of lead and other metal ions from lead crystal glass.”

Ceramic Transactions, v. 29, 1993, 419-425

Abstract in VF: article not in CMGL


Gillier, Dominique. “Correlation, effect on various conditions on lead release”

Society of Glass & Ceramic Decorators 1992 Seminar Proceedings, p. 84-87

<TP863.S67 1992>


Graziano, J.H., Blum, C. “Lead exposure from lead crystal.”

Lancet, v. 337, no. 8734, 1991, p. 141-142.



Guadagnino, E., et al. “Co-operative study on the release of lead from crystalware.”

Packaging Technology and Science, v. 11, no. 2, March/April 1998, p. 45-57(13)

Abstract in VF: article not in CMGL


Guadagnino, E., et al. “Estimation of lead intake from crystalware under conditions of consumer use.”

Food Additives and contaminants, v. 17, no. 3, March 2000, p. 205-218.

Abstract in VF: article not in CMGL


Hight, S. C. “Lead migration from lead crystal wine glasses.”

Food additives and contaminants, v. 13, no. 7, 1996, p. 747-765.

Abstract in VF: article not in CMGL


Hommel, Richard O. “Lead regulatory report and related agenda.”

Bulletin of the American Ceramic Society, v. 69, no. 9, 1990, p. 1465-1466.


Hughes, Catherine McVay and Chris Meyer. “Industry, government should work together in lead crystalware labeling.”

Glass Industry, v. 76, no. 3, April, 1995, p. 29-30.


Jonson, Bo and Lars J. Johansson. “No lead, no barium…no crystal?”

Glass, v. 70, no. 12, Dec. 1993, p. 480+.


Komiya, H. and S. Inaba. “Lead-free crystal developed in Japan”

Glass International, Sept. 1996, p. 65-66


Lehman, R. L. “Lead ion stability in soda-lime silicate glasses.”

Journal of American Ceramics Society, v. 75, 1992, p. 2194-2199.

Of possible interest, but may not be relevant to lead leaching from tableware.

CMGL: In Periodicals


Lin, ? “Environmental lead exposure and urate excretion in the general population.”

American Journal of Medicine, v. 113, no. 7, 2002, p. 563-568.


Rada, M.  “ Environmental Concerns Drive Search for Lead-Free Crystal”

 Glass, Monthly Journal of the European Glass Industry  v. 73, no. 12, Dec. 1996, p. 518+.


Sasek, L., M. Rada and M. Mika. “Zirconium oxide makes for safer crystal.”

Glass International, March 1994, p. 22-24.


Seddon, A B. and M. E. Whall. “The extraction of lead from crystalware.”

Glass Technology, v. 34, no. 2, April 1993,pp. 71-73.


Smith, Peter.  “Lead Leaching of Crystal Ware.” 

The Technical Bulletin [Cookson Ceramics], no. 4, 1993, pp. 5-6.


Stavis, Amy.  “Lead Crystal Controversy Continues to Loom.” 

China, Glass & Tableware, v. 109, no. 6, June 1991, p. 8+


Traster, Tina.  “Wary Response to Warnings on Lead Crystal.” 

China, Glass & Tableware, v. 109, no. 4, April 1991, p. 20


Varshneya, A.K.  “How Much Lead Leaches from Crystal Glassware? 

Glass Industry, v. 74, no. 5, April 1993, pp. 22-23.


Varshneya, A.K.  “Leaching of Lead from Lead Crystal Glass.” 

The Glass Club Bulletin, no. 172, Spring 1994, pp. 12-13.

Reprint from their article in The Glass Researcher


Varshneya, A.K.  “Leaching of lead from lead crystal glass.”

Glass, Dec. 1992, p. 511-512.


Varshneya, A.K.  and Kevin P. Frederes. “Leaching of lead from lead crystal glass.”

The Glass Researcher (Bulletin of Glass and Science Engineering at Alfred University), v. 2, no. 2, Nov. 1992, p. 8-9.


Weightman, Raymond.  “Crystal at the Crossroads.” 

Tableware International, v. 21, no. 6, July 1991, pp. 60-64.


Whitney, Lorraine M. and Michael J. Hynes. “Determination of lead leaching migration from crystal glass by square wave stripping voltammetry.”

VF: Lead;  also found online 1/2010


Zitkus, Wayne J. “Striving to meet the shifting standards.”
Glass July 1997, p. 253+.





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