Can I put these plates in the microwave, and are they full of lead?
June 8, 2009 4:31 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I were recently given a set of '70s-era plates, bowls, etc. named Mikasa Checkmates (the "Butternut" line, as pictured here). I'm wondering if anyone could tell me if a) they're microwave-safe (on the bottom it reads "Oven To Table To Dishwasher") and b) if they're full of lead (as this site claims).
posted by The Card Cheat to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This would seem to be the source for the lead claim, if that's any help.
posted by shadow vector at 5:10 PM on June 8, 2009

The Mikasa French Countryside plates that my mother has (and are apparently full of lead according to that document) perform well in the microwave. They are from the early 1980s, and do not mention microwaves on their care instructions. They have experienced a lot of cracking after being used for over twenty years; I'm not sure if this can be attributed to the microwave or not. YMMV.

You can get a home lead test for under twenty dollars or so, and I'd advise that you get one or two in this case if you're concerned about it. Consumer Reports did a rundown of them in 2007. You can also have them professionally tested if you are concerned about the validity [PDF] of the test(s).
posted by k8lin at 5:58 PM on June 8, 2009

The only way to reliably determine if a dish contains lead is to destroy it. I'm not sure on the details of that process, but thus spake the local lead poisoning prevention lady at my most recent staff meeting.

Also from her lecture, and a few sources on the ol' net:
--If you suspect the dishes have lead, it is best to avoid using the dishes on a regular basis; save them for special occasions.
--Acidic foods (tomato based dishes, applesauce, salads with vinegar-based dressings, etc) will leach more lead into the food.
--Do not store food in the dishes; dish the meal, eat up, and get the food off the plates.
--The dishes should also not be heated, ie reheating foods in the microwave (that settles question #1) or baking in the oven (ignore the bottom of the dish).
--Babies, children, and pregnant/ttc women should probably not use the dishes.
posted by wg at 6:47 AM on June 9, 2009

Response by poster: That's good enough for me...we'll get rid of them and find some plates that aren't (probably) full of lead.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:48 PM on June 10, 2009

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