Lead crystal is very beautiful and quite safe for ornaments and decorations, with the lead bound into the glass. On the other hand, this lead can be chemically leached out into liquids put into lead glass containers, and your concerns are well founded.
more stories like thisHow bad is this? It all depends. The leaching process is something which happens over time, so drinking a glass of wine from a lead crystal glass is likely to expose you to only a very small amount of lead. However, storing liquor or wine in a lead glass decanter for a long time would not be a good idea, as alarmingly large quantities of lead can indeed leach out.
What you put in the lead glass also makes a difference, with acidic solutions being particularly bad - and this means wines, fruit juices, and many other things that you might naturally serve from a beautiful lead glass container.
Lead is difficult to detect without chemical analyses, and most lead compounds that would form in beverages stored in lead glass are sweet. In fact, in earlier times, lead compounds were actually used as sweeteners and lead shot was put into wine to sweeten it and, via the toxic action of lead, help prevent the wine from turning to vinegar.
Lead is a cumulative toxin with no biological usefulness, so if I were you, I would avoid lead whenever possible. This is especially true for children and pregnant woman because lead is particularly bad for developing nervous systems.
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