When you hear the term "lead poisoning," you may think only of gasoline, water, paint, and pollution. Yet another source of lead poisoning may be in your life, and it may be the reason you are now dealing with tests to check blood lead levels: vintage crystal. Much of the older crystal ware available, especially that antique or vintage crystal, is lead crystal, which is a combination of glass and lead oxide.

Lead crystal is gorgeous, and just having it in your home or even picking it up with bare hands isn't dangerous in and of itself. However, if you've been using that lead crystal for drink service (decanting, drinking, and so on), you could have exposed yourself to lead poisoning. And if the crystal ware you've used is at someone else's house or establishment, there could be legal ramifications.

Acidic Products and Length of Time Stored

The problem with lead crystal is that the lead content can leach into whatever is in the crystal container. The risk increases with both the length of time stored and the acidity of the item stored. For example, decanting wine into a crystal decanter for a few minutes to remove sediment, and then pouring the wine back into the original glass bottle doesn't pose much of a risk. But decanting wine and storing it in the lead crystal decanter for a week does increase the risk that lead will leach into the wine. More acidic (lower pH) items, too, have an increased risk of absorbing lead, so wine or acidic juices are riskier than water.

How Likely Is Lead Poisoning From Crystal Ware?

It's difficult to judge how likely lead poisoning would be, simply because everyone is different and because a lot of modern crystal ware does not contain lead. Assuming you used actual lead crystal, you'd have to look at the time and type of items put in the crystal containers, how much someone used those containers versus just looking at how pretty they are, and so on. If you've been diagnosed with high blood lead levels, you need to trace your steps backward to determine if lead crystal use was involved.

Mistakes Versus Negligence

Where legal issues come into play is in the debate over mistakes versus negligence. If you've been drinking wine from crystal glasses every week at your neighbor's house, and it turns out that the crystal your neighbor thought was plain glass was actually mislabeled lead crystal, you can't really blame your neighbor. You may be able to sue the company for misleading labeling, however. Even if it was a mistake, the company should have had better safety protocols in place to avoid mislabeling.

If you've been diagnosed with lead poisoning, contact a lawyer immediately. You need to find the source of the poisoning and get proper compensation to cover medical bills and future costs that you might incur due to the health effects of the lead.

Reach out to a lead poisoning lawyer today for more information.