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Toxic Metal Release of Ceramic Ware - Test Methods

Toxic Metal Release of Ceramic Ware - Test Methods - BS 6748:1986 and EU 2005/31/EC

Specification for metal release limits from ceramic ware, glassware, glass ceramic ware and vitreous enamel ware.


Determination of release of lead and cadmium from glazed ceramic and similar materials that are used in contact with food. Contact conditions are defined for assessing leachable metals into a food/drink simulant. The BS standard does not define limits, these are defined by 2005/31/EC amending 84/500/EEC 15 Oct 1984.

Applications and Benefits

All ceramic tableware sold within the UK and the EU must comply to defined limits and have documentation to confirm the measurements.

Form of Results

Results sheets showing pass/fail status as required by the standard.

Related Tests

We are able to offer a full suite of toxic metal release testing for ceramic ware, glassware and cookware, to cover most countries and their associated regulations.

  • ISO 6486 - Ceramic ware in contact with food
  • EN 1388 - Determination of release of lead and cadmium form ceramic ware
  • ISO 8391 - Ceramic Cookware release limits for lead and cadmium
  • ASTM C738 - Lead and cadmium from glazed ceramic surfaces
  • ASTM C927 - Lead and cadmium extracted from lip and rim areas of glass and ceramic ware
  • Proposition 65 - California's Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act including lip rim test and total immersion testing to ASTM methods
  • American FDA Metal Release Test and lip and rim test to ASTM methods
  • Full range of metal release for other countries including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Finland, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Russia and Turkey can be conducted

Revision of Metal Release Limits for Tableware in the EU

Since the start of 2012, the European Commission (EC) has been revaluating the leaching of lead and cadmium from tableware in contact with food/drink, in response to studies conducted by the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA). The EC proposed a dramatic reduction in permissible levels; by 60 times for cadmium and 400 times for lead.

Directive 84/500/EEC, current and proposed limits:

Table: Directive 84/500/EEC, current and proposed limits

Lucideon has worked closely with the industry, EC and UK agencies to help the process of understanding the magnitude of exposure to these elements. As a result of lobbying from industry and extensive research undertaken by Ceram (the previous name for Lucideon), the testing regime and associated limits have been pushed back to the EC for further investigation. The European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) and Lucideon will be involved in a comprehensive research programme setup through the EC.

In the future, regulations may also be adopted that set limits for a much wider range of elements. These elements include: cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, arsenic, aluminium, iron, vanadium, zinc, tin and selenium, to low levels of detection.

At present, it is not possible to determine compliance with the proposed regulation; however at Lucideon, we are able to help you source and test items to benchmark and measure against the worst case situation for both lead and cadmium.

We can:

  • Assess glaze compositions, decorating materials and firing schedules
  • Provide guidance around glazes, colours, colour optimisation and firing schedules
  • Audit manufacturing processes in order to identify and eliminate sources of lead contamination and introduce alternative unleaded glazes and colours
  • Support the sourcing of new suppliers able to comply with the proposed limits.

Similar Tests for Other Applications

  • Metal release of lead and cadmium from tiles ISO 10545
  • Metal release of lead and cadmium from glassware ISO 7086
  • Metal release of lead and cadmium from enamelled ware ISO 4531


Related service:

» Tableware, Tiles & Sanitaryware - Performance Testing