How can I test Chinese glass for lead?

Discussion in 'Glass' started by abcd5432, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. abcd5432

    abcd5432 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    385
    How can I test Chinese glass for lead?
    I've got some colored chinese glass, I want to make sure it's safe. How can I do that?
     
    BD9 likes this.
  2. Burt

    Burt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    60
    Location:
    Over the Herbaceous Border
    I remember reading that it's only a worry if liquid is stored for long periods in leaded glass before drinking. If you're bubbling vapour through fresh water, I don't think it's possible to imbibe lead in appreciable quantities.

    That said, and while I can't help with a precise test, it would be pretty easy to figure the density of your piece (e.g. its weight divided by the volume of water it displaces when fully submerged), and compare the result with googlable charts showing the density of various types of glass.

    Sounds like fun, hope you figure something out!
     
  3. strictly vapor

    strictly vapor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    130
    Is lead present in all Chinese glass or just some? Perhaps only colored pieces? I've always been skeptical of my Chinese hydratube even though it works great for me. Hmmmm

    For me the worry is more around heat degrading or extracting impurities from the cheap glass.
     
  4. abcd5432

    abcd5432 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    385
    The piece is painted. Also, water sitting in the piece could soak with the colored glass parts and transfer lead particles.

    I did some research today, I may try to send it to a lab for XRF testing. Better safe than sorry just to see. I thought about also just doing a simple swab test at homedepot.
     
  5. MoltenTiger

    MoltenTiger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Down down under
    Use some acetone to try and dissolve colour away. If you are successful, throw the piece away. If the glass is coloured not painted, it should merely clean it and then it's all good.
    Paint won't necessarily mean lead, but is undesirable nonetheless.

    A lead painted rig isn't as bad as it sounds too, it's just important to avoid cross contamination with food or other items. It won't vaporize off the piece, it shouldn't absorb through skin. As long as you wash your hands after handling it, it's fine. If the paint is internal or is a part of the vapour path, it's not innately dangerous but it is even less desirable.
    For the most part, lead risk from china glass is overblown. Glass itself isn't healthy if you eat it, but that's a very uncommon practice. Lead boils at over 2000 K, don't believe the hype
     
  6. ramram

    ramram bamboozled

    Messages:
    57
    This topic recently came up in the cheap quality bubbler thread and a lot of the examples provided used the lead testing kits like 3M http://leadcheck.com

    From what I understand, lead in the glass itself is unlikely as that is more expensive and usually used more in ornamental cut glass/fake crystal pieces
     
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  7. UnidenWallet

    UnidenWallet Well-Known Member

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    133
  8. djurodjakovic

    djurodjakovic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    EU
    I found this thread and now I'm a little worried.
    Just to be sure I understand correctly. If I use only clear glass from china there is no chance of having lead (or some other nasty) inside?
    I have a few small pieces of various glass adapters and hydra foot from sunshinestore. all clear glass.
     
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  9. MoltenTiger

    MoltenTiger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Down down under
    Clear glass should be safe, especially once it is cleaned.
    About the worst you could expect is that it's soda-lime not borosilicate, but even that is less likely these days
     
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  10. djurodjakovic

    djurodjakovic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    EU
    what is this soda lime? first time heard of this.
    I thought that at least stuff from sunshinestore is safe which is the most important thing for me. Now I'm paranoid :-(.
    is water and 70% alcohol enough to clean new pieces or you have something else you do?
     
  11. MoltenTiger

    MoltenTiger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Down down under
    I'm a fan of PBW for cleaning, though strong alcohol is also decent.
    Soda-lime is just a common type of glass composition, unlike borosilicate it is liable to thermal shock and can shatter from being cooled or heated too quickly. Borosilicate is used in scientific glassware as it has much lower coefficients of thermal expansion and so is more resilient to thermal shock. Additionally it is much harder than soda-lime, so it is harder to scratch.
    There's no risk of danger using soda-lime (apart from breakage and cuts), but a proper borosilicate piece is superior aesthetically and functionally.
    Most of the bigger Chinese suppliers use borosilicate these days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2017
  12. djurodjakovic

    djurodjakovic Member

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    EU
    thanks for info.
    I know about borosilicate. I thought that this soda stuff is something dangerous for health. I don't care if it breaks easier. I just want it to be safe.
    there is no PBW where I live, I already searched for it, and if I order online it gets to expensive. I use tap and destilled water and 70% ethyl alcohol to clean my pieces. once in two weeks usualy.
     
    MoltenTiger likes this.
  13. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

    Messages:
    7,390
    Location:
    Oregon
    ok . . . you can make a PBW substitute with two ingredients.

    First is Oxyclean. Get some or a similar oxygen based cleaner and you are half way there.

    The second half of the PBW experience is tri-sodium phosphate substitute, AKA sodium meta-silicate.

    TSP may be more available in your area, either one will work.
     

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