local case of lead poisoning a couple years back was
traced to a pewter keyfob a kid was playing with (maybe
sucking on i dunno). As for reasonable, she won't even
notice them missing unless i give them back ;-) or she
finds them in the garage next time we take something apart.
search on pewter in this article (near the middle)
i guess my memory isn't as bad as i thought (no lead
poisoning for me (which is a supprise)), since i
half remembered a news story from 5 years ago.
Lead is only an issue if the dust is inhaled or ingested. So unless
you are planning to be machining the pewter, you should be fine. More
of an issue are antique cast toys with flaking paint that freqently
contains lead or heavy metals.
One other issue I can think of are food containers (e.g., coffee cups,
plates, bowls, etc.) with lead-based glazes. The lead can leach out,
particularly when the item in question contains acidic foods (like tomato
sauce). While I doubt any US manufacturer of kitchen products uses leaded
glazes, I'm not so sure about foreign manufacturers (and it seems these days
that virtually ALL consumer products are now made overseas or in Mexico). I
would have thought that the FTC would prohibit the entry of lead-glazed
products, but apparently such is not the case: in a store the other day, I
saw a sign near some glazed kitchenware that stated "Products marked with a
[yellow triangle symbol, IIRC] contain lead."
The other item that gets the (now ubiquitous) "State of California has
determined that the following may cause cancer..." warning is leaded crystal
(e.g., decanters). Does anyone know how much lead can leach out of leaded
crystal into, say, red wine (which is fairly acidic)?
Or is all this simply more junk science perpetrated by the fear mongers (and
class action lawyers)?
A specific gravity test is very easy (provided that the figurine is not
Lead-free pewter should read very close to 7.7
Lead itself is 11.34
Thusly, any reading above 7.7 would suggest lead content.
Usual caveats if the figurine is painted.
It *really* is easy, and accurate. Do some tests on known alloys to prove
this to yourself.
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