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We want to do what we can to keep our family safe and healthy but sometimes, there are unexpected things that come up. One of those recently happened in New York City when a family of 5 got lead poisoning.

Fortunately, they are recovering from the condition but officials are now sounding a warning because they got lead poisoning from using contaminated cookware.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A three-year-old child went through routine blood screening in 2017 and that led the New York City Department of Health to discover this unusual situation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the subject recently.

Two other adult children and their parents were also tested and it was discovered that they had very high levels of lead in their blood. After further investigating, they discovered that they were using glazed ceramic dishes to cook, and the dishes leached the lead into their food.

Eventually, they stopped using the pottery after this was discovered and the amount of lead in their bloodstream began to drop. At first, the level in the child that was initially screened had lead levels of 7 µg/dL. This prompted a warning because it was dangerously close to the limit.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The child’s guardians were also alerted to the use of the glazed cookware and told to stop using it. When they did, things began to get better.

Lead poisoning can lead to a variety of symptoms. It can affect your digestive system, as well as your neurological system, and can even stunt your development. Children with lead poisoning are at particular risk because of developmental delays.

Some of the other symptoms include joint and abdominal pain, irritability, constipation, memory loss, and headache. If it isn’t cared for, it could even cause death.


After another blood test was given in 2018 to the initial child, it showed that the lead levels had dropped. A letter was sent to the entire family that recommended they be tested. This included the adult siblings, who showed levels of 17 and 53 µg/dL respectively. The mother and father later got tested and showed levels of 37 and 16 µg/dL respectively.

The traditional cooking utensils were from Mexico and were used for cooking, storing food, and making coffee. Although the family declined an in-home investigation, they did stop using the ceramic ware and their blood levels dropped significantly within the next 16 months.

This isn’t the first time that this type of cookware has come up on the radar. Traditional pottery that is purchased in Mexico, Ecuador, Turkey, the United States, and elsewhere can lead to high levels of lead.

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