Leaded Glass Decanter


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Someone in the recent wine thread mentioned leaded glass decanters.  I was wondering what everyone's thoughts are on these.  They have been used for hundreds of years to hold wines and liquors but not long ago there was a major study that showed that lead was leached from the glass and into the liquid.  The study said that short term use was okay but longer term storage was problematic.  I knew many of my parents friends that kept liquor in leaded glass and there was never an issue, nor have I read any historical accounts of this being a problem.  I ask this because my wife gave me a beautiful leaded glass decanter for Christmas.  I would love to use it to store my bourbon in.  The stopper is relatively tight so I am not worried about oxidation.  I drink bourbon regularly but it would definitely sit in the decanter for a number of weeks.  What are your thoughts?  Is there a legitimate concern or is this just another example of "everything is going to kill you" hype?
Joined Dec 18, 2010
I remember this discussion from 10 or 15 years ago. Although history does not seem filled with examples of folks being poisoned by their crystal decanters I chose to be cautious based on the scant information that was made available. I have never looked to much for real scientific data that hadn't been processed by a news reporter and would love to see it one day. I seem to recall the FDA limit to have been 20 - 30 micrograms but the exposure from booze stored 4 months to be 2K-5K micrograms. That is enough to make me think twice. I can't recall the transfer they claimed from normal usage of a crystal glass but seen to recall it to have been miniscule. So we still drink from crystal glasses without concern but wine/booze stays in their original containers and the crystal decanters are displayed empty... which is both a sad situation and a real waste of counter space at the bar. Maybe I'll put colored water in them, like those jars in the old pharmacies.

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