Monday, June 3, 2013

Beautifully Ugly

Nearly two years ago, I was poking through a thrift store in search of things to fill our first house. After selling all of our belongings so we could move halfway across the country and into my parent's spare bedroom, Dave and I needed everything... and I'm not too keen on paying full price or anything conventional, so we set    out to the antique stores. It was 2 pm, we'd been at it all day and I hadn't found anything affordable that I remotely liked and I was about to get cranky (... ok I'd already gotten a bit cranky) when I notice a cardboard box taped up under a table.

 Inside, laid an entire five piece table setting for five (with a few odd extras). I was instantly in love. My love grew even bigger when the owner sold the whole box for twenty bucks. TWENTY!!!

Fast forward two years, the plates have been used daily, the mini bowls are perfect for Jude's purees and the cups are always used for tea or as a scoop.

Then at his 12 month appointment, Jude's blood test came back with a lead level of 4.5 (5 is considered dangerous) The doctor went through a list of things that could be the problem, but most of them had to do with old houses, ours was built five years ago, so that was obviously not the problem.
We went home with the promise of another blood test in three months and a lot of confusion... and panic.

That night, as I reached into the cabinet for my beloved dishes, it hit me... antique dishes. I flipped the plate over and read words "made in China". My stomach clenched.

The next day, I grabbed a lead test and with one swipe across the pretty flowers changed the applicator's colors. I was right - this entire past year, I'd been feeding my baby lead. My obsessive need to have only pretty things and to reuse as much as possible has literally been poisoning my family.

I wanted to share the moral of this story with whoever would read it. Please make sure you test any dishes you use that may have been crafted before 1970 (when using lead in paint was made illegal in America) or that come from outside of the country. 

I still can't decide what to do with the dishes, I certainly won't be using them in the kitchen. But they're too pretty to trash and a can't sell them to someone else who may eat off them. Anyone have ideas? I'd love to hear from you.