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Still Trying To Make The Perfect Wine and Now Tryi
Nov 5, 2012
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We may have discussed this before, but to be honest, not in the mood to search right now.

So last night I had to go into my LHBS and purchase a 3 gal. carboy(one I had acquired a crack/break in it, not sure how). I decided to look at where it was made and it was from China. So I immediately thought about all the posts on here concerning lead in Chinese glass. As I and the owner started discussing this, he brought up a good point about all the higher end glassware that is lead crystal. That got me thinking about it. Why is one ok, and the other supposedly not?
Now I realize the wine will be in contact with the carboy much longer than the wine in a glass but in my mind, lead in glass is lead in glass. I could be wrong though.

Edit: Ok, I woke up and decided to do a quick search. Interesting thread which somewhat goes along with what I was thinking.
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Don't pretend to have the background to discuss this but I think that leaded crystal CAN leach lead except that it is typically used to hold alcohol for minutes and not months or years so it is the manner in which the material is used that makes it a potential hazard or not
But today, crystal glass is not always made with lead. There are other metals that produce the same (or similar) refractive index as leaded glass..
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I don't use any foodstuff or supplement from China. I can see why you are concerned. The country is heavily polluted and not transparent about what's in what they produce - and not just with foods.
Interesting statement from the Wikipedia link which I never thought about. There is only so much lead to leach, if it is leaching at all.

"Under conditions of repeated use of the decanter, the lead leaching steeply decreases with increasing use. This finding is "consistent with ceramic chemistry theory, which predicts that leaching of Pb from crystal is self-limiting exponentially as a function of increasing distance from the crystal-liquid interface." Lead leaching still occurs, but the quantity that leaches into a glass of wine or other beverage let stand for a few hours is much smaller than the quantity of lead consumed daily in ordinary diet. An ordinary diet contains about 70 µg of lead per day."
I don't use any foodstuff or supplement from China. I can see why you are concerned. The country is heavily polluted and not transparent about what's in what they produce - and not just with foods.

Well, I was somewhat hesitant to buy it, but it was my only option as all his carboys are Made In China.

With that said, I figure there are a lot of other things in this world that can kill me also, so I bought it. Heck, a little lead never hurt anyone.

I need to check where my other carboys are from, just out of curiosity.
I spent 15 years as a chemist in the ceramic and glass industry. I specialized in 2nd family elements (Be, Mg, Ca, Ba, Sr) ie. Ferrites, glass & lime and extraction of Be. That said I work on a "Soluble glass" process to extract Be from any source. During that work I discovered that it is the amount of Mg in the limestone that made a glass potentially soluble. Also the ratio of Mg and Ca carbonate to silica was double that of regular glass. There is no limestone or Mg used to make crystal. The KCl (potash) ties up the Pb in a very tight ionic bond. There is no crystal structure within the glass or crystal as they are amorphous solids, meaning that the arrangement of the elements in any glass is variable and held together by tight chemical bonds. Further more nearly all crystal, even that from China, is dipped in an acid rinse to remove surface lead and other oxides. This now claimed to be done for safety, but the original purpose was to improve the appearance of the crystal. It looks cloudy until this chemical polish occurs.

In the process of making regular glass, even in China, they would not use lead. Its to expensive and difficult to dissolve into the glass. I'm sure there are trace amounts of Pb and other undesirable elements in the sand (silica) or other components but you are talking bpb not percentage. It's probably way safer to use Chinese carboys that to eat farm raised salmon and the Hg possibilities.
Wayyyyyy over my head but appreciate the response nonetheless. I am "fermenting on" with my Chinese carboy(s) and let the yeast fall where they may.
Well, I was born in a house that had LEAD pipes for the water supply, Not Flint, but it was the late 40's in ....It may explain a lot! LOL! Figure our wine has a lot less lead than those pipes did when I was young! Roy
Cool comment on the chemical bonds of glass. To put it in perspective, you have a much greater risk from Chinese supplements and foods.

90% of all Vitamin C consumed in the US is from China, which has a large share of all vitamin manufacture. Only 2 percent of imported vitamins are inspected by the US.

China's major vitamin producing areas are all heavily polluted. The vitamins are produced using agricultural products, and the top vitamin exporting province, Zhejiang, has an alarming level of soil pollution from heavy metal.

Overall, one-sixth of China's ag land is polluted with heavy metals.

My main concern with Chinese foodware manufacture is what's in it that they don't tell you about. There have been some alarming cases in the US in recent years.

Still, I always like to post this disclaimer in these discussions. See Section 11:


Excellent point Roy. My house too, was built in the late 40's and I consume much more water than I do wine.

I figured, as usual, I might be overthinking this, but was just curious to hear other's thoughts.
Well, being a plumber for 35 years I can add my experience and schooling. Up until about 25 years ago, plumbers solder was 50% lead. Even though the lead exposure inside the plumbing system was minimal, some lead would be found in water from those pipes...for a while. First draw of water in the morning after water was sitting in the pipes overnight, would have trace amounts of lead, for about the first year after the home was built. Over time the pipes develop a coating that stops this leaching affect. Also, running the water (first thing in the morning) for a couple of min. sends that little bit of lead down the drain. The 50/50 solder was banned years ago and with copper piping in homes being reduced from the use of pex piping, lead in home systems has been eliminated for decades now.

Now for the bad news. There are over 600 potential contaminants that can be found in public and private wells today. Cities test the public water systems, regularly, for about 6 of those.

This is just one of the reasons that bottled water has become so popular in recent years. Distilled water is the safest, but lacks trace minerals that benefit us, plus it tastes funny to most people. The best drinking water, IMHO, is osmosis water. I have an osmosis water maker in my home that I drink, cook with, make ice cubes with, make wine with....anything I am going to consume is from that tap at my kitchen sink. It removes 90% to 97% of whatever is in the water AND it tastes great!

It's a good idea to be concerned about whats in your water. Overthinking? I don't think so.
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