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Lead in Frits: The Hazards

Lead has been used in ceramics for thousands of years because it works so well, that is, leaded glazes melt at low temperatures, have low thermal expansion, dazzling colors and tolerance to variable firing. Frits are a modern development that have dramatically improved the safety with which the material can be handled. Notwithstanding this, leaded frits are difficult to obtain in recent years.

Generally most leaded frits were thought be fairly insoluble and safe to use as raw powdered materials, however recent findings about the disproportionately large effects of low lead levels call this into question. In addition, the glazes they produce will be as leachable for a given lead percentage as if the lead came from raw lead carbonate or lead oxide. There is a huge range of lead content in frits, some may have 1%, others 80%. To create a safe leaded glaze you need equipment to measure leaching of lead and expertise in ceramic chemistry to find the oxide profiles that release the least amount of lead.

Therefore we are no describing any safer ways to use lead here. Please check the reference links on this page.

Out Bound Links

In Bound Links

  • (Hazards) Lead in Ceramic Glazes: What Did We Learn?

    The long slow death of lead use in ceramics taught us some lessons. Manufacturers who still use acid tests to determine glaze toxicity risk liability.

  • (Materials) Lead Carbonate - 2PbCO3.Pb(OH)2

    White lead

  • (Materials) Antimonate Of Lead

    Lead Antimonate

  • (Materials) Lead Bisilicate Frit - Lead bisilicate frit
  • (Materials) Pemco Frit Pb-316 - Lead-alumina-sillicate eutectic

    Frit P-316, Pemco 316, Pemco Frit Pb316

  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3327 - Lead monosilicate frit


  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3470 - High lead zinc frit for artware and hobby glazes
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3490 - High Lead Frit
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3600 - High lead cadmium frit for red/yellow artware glazes cone 010-03
  • (Materials) General Frit GF-9 - High Lead Zincless Glaze Frit

    Frit 9, Frit GF9

  • (Materials) Hommel Frit 240 - High Lead Boron Frit
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3304 - High lead zincless frit for clear glaze cone 04-08


  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3403 - Lead alumina bisilicate frit
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3489 - Lead bisilicate frit with 5% CaO
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3548 - High lead cadmium bearing frit cone 013-07
  • (Materials - General) General Frit GF-42 - High lead very low melting frit

    Frit 42, Frit GF42

  • (Materials) Pemco Frit Pb-83 - Soda-high lead-borosilicate very low melting frit

    Frit Pb83

  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3300 - Medium lead high zinc glaze for for cone 02-8


  • (Materials - General) Ferro Frit 3481 - Medium lead calcium cone 06-02 frit for chrome tin colors


  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3493 - Medium lead zincless hobby artware cone 06-04 glaze frit
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3497 - Medium lead zincless frit cone 2-5
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3386 - Medium lead borosilicte for cone 010-5
  • (Materials - General) Lead Monosilicate Frit
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3482 - Medium lead high titanium glaze frit cone 06-02
  • (Materials) Ferro Frit 3496 - Medium lead zincless for cone 04-2 artware glazes
  • (Materials) Pemco Frit P-83 - Medium Lead Frit

    Frit P83, Frit 83

  • (Project) Frits

    The number of different frits in the world can be intimidating, there are thousands. However, unlike stains, their are a wide range of standard formulations that have been made for many years. We are ...

  • (Glossary) Lead in Ceramic Glazes

    Lead is a melter in ceramic glazes and performs exceptionally well at low temperatures. In fact it makes very low fired terra cotta ware possible in many countries (that would otherwise be impossible). It is available in frits so the raw lead oxides can be completely avoided, thus greatly reducing t...

By Tony Hansen

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