Quality assurance is of critical importance to glass and ceramic manufacturers and decorators. Fortunately, many standard test procedures are available to insure that ware will meet safety and performance standards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the final procedural stages of issuing rules that would force companies that use 10 pounds or more of lead or cadmium-bearing borosilicate enamels per year to track and report that usage for public review under the agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) requirements.
Glass and ceramic manufacturers have a variety of options to consider when deciding how to decorate ware to create a desired appearance. There are no absolute rules that must be followed; however, experience and a basic understanding of decorating technology are critical.
Most tableware manufacturers use unleaded glazes when producing tableware patterns, but design requirements occasionally mandate the use of decorative borosilicate enamels containing some heavy metals. When using such colors, tableware decorators must consider the ability of a heavy metal to leach—or migrate—from the tableware surface to food or beverages.