Drinking Glass Safety
From juice to martini glasses, drinking glasses are an often used household item. Many ill effects can occur from mishandling drinking glasses while cleaning and during daily use. A few simple precautions can promote glassware safety.
According to the food magazine, The Nibble, "Ordinary glass has been made for thousands of years from silica-sand, potash and limestone. Ancient cultures also carved rock crystal into beads, figurines and dishes."
Poorly cleaned drinking glasses can lead to excessive bacteria growth or even food poisoning. Glasses should be cleaned by hand with soap and water, or in a dishwasher when possible. Stemware, or glasses that sit atop stems such as champagne and wine glasses, should be cleaned more carefully. According to Graham Haley and Rosemary Haley, authors of "Haley's Cleaning Hints," "It's really not a good idea to wash your stemware in the dishwasher. Play it safe and wash it by hand instead." Also, when cleaning or serving, stemware glasses should be handled by the bowl and not the stems.
Although they can be durable, drinking glasses often break or crack. Depending on the weight of the glass and its design, some drinking glasses break easier than others. Special care must be taken to ensure that such breaks don't go unnoticed. If a glass has a small fracture or crack, when the glass is filled with a liquid again the crack will widen and it will break. If a drinking glass breaks during use, broken glass can lacerate the mouth or throat of the user.
Beware of chips, which can occur during cleaning or if the glass is dropped. Chips on a drinking glass can cut the lip of the person using it.
Lead crystal, which is present in some drinking glasses, can pose a serious health risk if used improperly. According to The Nibble, "In 1674, lead crystal was made successfully in England by George Ravenscroft, who added lead oxide to glass. Its beauty has been admired ever since, However, recent studies have shown that high percentages of lead can leach into liquids stored in lead crystal."
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