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I recently inherited a large set of Frankoma dinnerware from my father. They are all the Mayan-Aztec pattern and I think they are Sapulpa clay with White Sand glaze. The clay is more orange than red and the glaze is white and the clay color does not show through the glaze very much.

My main question is this: How safe are they for use? Are there any concerns about lead? I know that the FFCA (?) says that Frankoma dinnerware is safe for use, but do any of you have other information about this.

Also, are they dishwasher safe?

I do not anticipate using the dishes for daily use (esp if they are not dishwasher safe), but hope to use them for special occasions, if there are no concerns about lead.



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Frankoma dinnerware is dishwasher safe and lead-free. No worries.

A word about the clay color: When Frankoma first began using Sapulpa clay, it was dark red (often called brick red). After several years, additives they used lightened the color to the orange you describe. I've also heard that the vein of clay they were using got lighter in color.

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Frankoma dinnerware is dishwasher safe and lead-free. No worries.

That is not correct.

All CURRENT Frankoma dinnerware, bakeware, and serving pieces are lead free and completely safe. This has been true for over a decade.

Like almost all pottery produced around the world before the 90's, older Frankoma dinnerware often has lead glazes. You'd be hard pressed to find pottery from the middle of the last century which didn't have lead.

Even among lead-glazes, there are variations because the formula controls how much lead can leach out. A good, stable formulation of lead glazed pottery will not transfer significant lead levels to the food, but a poorly designed formula (like you'll typically see on cheap imported products) can have significant lead leaching out.

FFCA is technically correct - there is no known evidence that eating food off of lead glazed dinnerware is dangerous (there is a study of a few people who got elevated lead levels from DRINKING lead-based glazes, but that's obviously not particularly relevant other than the fact that they drank several ounces of the glazes and had no long term effects). Still, I would use appropriate precautions. Do not store acidic foods in lead-glazed pottery for long times. Do not heat acidic foods in lead glazed pottery. Then, I tend to be quite conservative, so I would use it only for holidays and special occasions since occasional use is probably OK and I would certainly not use it on a daily basis for feeding small children (and would not give small children juice or other acidic items in any lead-glazed pottery).

As for 'dishwasher safe', again, some clarification is needed. CURRENT Frankoma pieces are microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and oven safe (just put the pieces in a cold oven and then turn it on rather than putting them into a preheated oven to avoid temperature shock). Pieces made before dishwashers and microwaves were in common use may or may not be safe in those environments. But if you have an older set, I would probably want to hand-wash them, anyway just so they don't get bounced around in a dishwasher. After all, 'dishwasher safe' means that the dishwasher won't harm them. But if you put the pieces into the dishwasher in a way that the pieces can bounce around and hit each other (surely you've heard the clanking noises, right?), then all bets are off.

Enjoy your collection!

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