In December 2015, the EU Reference Laboratory for food contact materials (EURL-FCM) of the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) published two reports on the release of metals from decorated articles and crystalware, respectively, in support of the revision of the Ceramic Directive (84/500/EEC).
In the scope of the first report, the release of metals from 14 samples of decorated ceramic articles was investigated. Metal release from the samples’ rim area was tested with white wine and a wine-simulant (4% aqueous acetic acid, with and without use of paraffin wax). In addition, metal release into 0.5% aqueous citric acid at higher temperature and shorter contact time was tested for comparison. All tested samples released lead (Pb) and to a limited extent cadmium (Cd) and other metals. Metal release generally decreased in successive migration tests and metal release into white wine was always lower compared to the wine-simulants. Highly decorated and bright colored articles showed greater release of metals. Overglaze decorated articles were generally more sensitive to exposure to food simulants and released metals to a greater extent than test articles with underglaze decorations.
In the scope of the second report, the release of metals from 15 samples of crystalware was investigated. Four different methods were used to test metal release: 1) Exposing samples to 4% aqueous acetic acid (AA4%) for 24 hours at 22°C, 2) exposing samples to 0.5% aqueous citric acid (CA0.5%) for two hours at 70°C, 3) pre-conditioning samples with 10% aqueous acetic acid for five hours followed by exposure to AA4% for 24 hours at 22°C, and 4) exposing samples to acidic white wine for 24 hours at 22°C. All tested samples released relevant amounts of lead. Also zinc (Zn), antimony (Sb), barium (Ba), and silver (Ag) were found in leaching solutions. The wine-simulants generated higher release of lead from articles as compared to wine. Migration values of pre-conditioned articles were higher than the levels obtained in the third migration with conventional tests.
Peltzer, M.A. et al. (2015). “Scoping investigations on the release of metals from the rim area of decorated articles.” JRC EURL-FCM (pdf)
Peltzer, M.A. et al. (2015). “Scoping investigations on the release of metals from crystalware.” JRC EURL-FCM (pdf)