Porcelain Bathtubs Found to Contain Lead

Many of you out there who cherish their old porcelain bathtubs will be heartbroken to learn that porcelain enamel bathtubs have been found to be an unexpected source of lead.

High lead levels have been traced to bathtubs in a number of different cases. One was when a 66-year-old man underwent personality changes, became irritable, aggressive, and paranoid. His doctor found that he had severe short term memory loss, abdominal pain, and constipation. It turns out he received severe lead poisoning after drinking wine made from grapes soaked in a bathtub with a lead enamel glaze.

Another case involved children with high lead levels, and the source was traced to the porcelain bathtub.

You can test your bathtub with special lead-checking test swabs.
Lead Check

You can learn about materials that can seal in the lead here:
Reglazing.

and here:
Reglazing2.

13 comments

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago

Very worrisome. Thanks Annie.

Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago

Our homes are full of toxins, inside and out.

Dale Overall

Too bad, yet another area of life where potential toxins now lurk, rather unfortunate! If it isn't hidden pesticides or whatever in foods, GMO foods refusing to be labelled so that people in some countries have a choice...now, a new source of lead has been found.

Karlolina G blames free trade for all the ills... and no doubt some of the old tubs or new ones come from elsewhere. However, there is no doubt there are many of the vintage tubs that were manufactured in the same place where these were purchased as well.

Juliet Defarge
judith sanders4 years ago

Lots of glazes for pottery and porcelain have lead as a component. If the label says "not for food use," believe it! Where this guy went wrong was with the acidic grape juice, which leached the lead out of the glaze. Be very careful what you serve your coffee, tea, and juices in. If you're not drinking out of your bathtub, I wouldn't be too concerned.

KARLOLINA G.
KARLOLINA G.5 years ago

THANKS TO FREE TRADE!!

Charlene S.
Charla D.5 years ago

Oh great, something else that can kill us! Seriously though, it is good to be aware of. I suppose we should look at any antiques or imported items cautiously as the health and safety standards may not be up to speed.

Bon L.
Bon L.5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Kelly H.
Kelly H.6 years ago

I used to have one when I was kid. I loved it. But, things have changed. We might just have to fix some things!

John Van Hise
John Van Hise6 years ago

thanks. my tub says oct, 1919 on the bottom of it, so it might be a good idea to have it checked. a hundred years ago, few people had any idea what environmental problems we would be facing today. they figured we would be living in eutopia by now.