This morning 3-16-2011, Good Morning America on ABC had a segment called Measuring Radiation levels. The segment discusses radiation in what it referred to as "common household products" such as food and smoke detectors. Included in the report was a product that has not been sold in the market for nearly 40 years, Antique/Vintage Fiesta® dinnerware. The anchor narrating the segment passes a radiation measuring tool over several products including the Antique/Vintage Fiesta® plate that was produced nearly 70 years ago. The narrator also stated that it was taken off the market because when people heard about the uranium in the glaze, they did not want to buy the product. In fact, The Homer Laughlin China Company stopped manufacturing all Fiestaware® in 1972 because of low sales. The product that was used within the segment has been discontinued and has not available for close to 40 years time. Fiesta® today is frequently tested by federally licensed independent laboratories and is lead free, microwave/dishwasher safe, oven proof and made in the USA. For more information, see below:
Radiation in Ceramic Glazes
Prior to World War II, it was common practice for manufacturers of ceramic dinnerware to use uranium oxide in color glazes. The Homer Laughlin China Company was no exception, using this material in the original “Fiesta Red” glaze, among others.
In 1943, the U. S. Government stopped all civilian use of uranium oxide because available supplies were needed for the war effort. Homer Laughlin stopped producing the red glaze color at that time and for that reason. Nonetheless, this interruption in production is believed to be the source of the rumor that Fiesta’s red glaze was removed from the market because it was radioactive. In truth, the red glaze emitted far less radiation than some other consumer products. Following the lifting of wartime restrictions, Homer Laughlin again began producing the red glaze in the 1950s, using a depleted grade of uranium oxide.
Homer Laughlin stopped all use of depleted uranium oxide in 1972 and it is not used in Fiesta Dinnerware which is produced today.
In 1977, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration issued a report which said in part:
“The presence of lead, cadmium, and other toxic metal in glaze or decal is not in itself a hazard. It becomes a problem only when a glaze or decal that has not been properly formulated, applied, or fired, contains dangerous metals which can be released by high-acid foods such as fruit juices, some soft drinks, wines, cider, vinegar, and vinegar-containing foods, sauerkraut and tomato products.”
The FDA report continues:
“Be on the safe side by not storing foods or beverages in such containers for prolonged periods of time, such as overnight. Daily use of the dinnerware for serving food does not pose a hazard. If the glaze or decal is properly formulated, properly applied, and properly fired, there is no hazard.”