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Q: What Exactly Is Czech , Austrian , Etc "Crystal Glass"?

Q: Are Czech, Austrian, etc., crystal glass beads made of 'Lead Crystal'? I have just started looking at glass findings.

A: Crystal is made with lead, but I don't know all the percentages, but I'm pretty sure 'Swarovski' (the premier Austrian manufacturer) contains around 30% lead. I have no idea whether the lead is able to leech out of the crystal though, so I am unaware of any hazard that lead crystals represent. You cannot really be 100% sure of any colored glass, crystal or plain. Most glass contains heavy metal oxides as a basic pigment, or even a surface treatment. One site that contains info on 'Lead Crystal' as it relates to crystal glasses and decanters is 'Health Canada's' Webpage. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/main/hc/web/datahpb/dataehd/English/IYH/leadcr... Some info from their site (edited): "Acidic beverages will release more lead than non-acidic ones. During the course of a "normal meal" the amount of lead released tends to be low. However, beverages stored in crystal decanters can accumulate very high levels of lead (up to 20ppm, max allowable in canadian beverages is 200 ppb). Studies have shown that exposure to even small amounts of lead can be harmful." Given that saliva is acidic, I wonder what level of lead can possible leach out if someone has the habit of putting their jewelry in their mouth. The max allowable leachable lead in children's products is 90ppm (that is for products that are likely to be mouthed). Lead crystal does " emit " lead over time, but the minimum amounts that are absorbed through the skin is almost too tiny to measure. A person would have to swallow the crystal and have it stay in their system for many years for anything to show up. If a person, over years, sucked on the same crystal, it would show up in their system, but for someone to wear jewelry for a short time, the amounts would be almost nil.