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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Lead glass
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #1
Safa
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Default Lead glass

So I was given a carboy that was salvaged from someone's attic.

It looks pretty good apart from a few fractures in a circle at the base. I'll be filling it with water and putting it on some newspaper to see if it leaks at all in the next day or so.

My big question however, is how possible is it that there is lead in this glass? Its pretty old, I'd say maybe even 40 years. I have no idea about lead in glass, and an hour of google revealed nothing other than that lead crystal is definitely harmful if you plan on leaving liquids in it for an extended period of time.

Hope someone knows!

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:05 PM   #2
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Maybe LeadCheck from 3M. Intended for construction but it might be useful. Detection in liquid threshold is 2ppm

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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I have some older carboys that have a blueish tint to them, not sure if that is from lead.

I've noticed cracks like that in some of the older carboys I inherited. I'm not going to use any that show any visible cracks. I use all glass carboys but am realizing after seeing some of the threads where they've broken on people that there is a real risk with using glass carboys. So some safety measures should be used. The biggest risk seems to be in carrying a full carboy, because if the thing breaks while it's being carried it is extremely dangerous.

I'm thinking of looking for my old motorcycle gear to wear when moving glass carboys and maybe some cut resistant gloves, and making a few shrouds out of hardware cloth to help contain the mess if one of them ever does let lose on my while I'm moving it.

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #4
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Thanks rhamilton, Ill grab one of those. So you think just let some water sit in the carboy for a day or two and then test it with that kit? Or test the glass directly?

Poprcupine73: I didnt even think about that. Now Im worried about those fractures having weakened the glass enough that it will just come apart with a full 5 gallon batch inside!

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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I'm really not trying to be a smart ass ... But for 40 or 50 bucks is it really worth it. When in doubt don't get lead poisoning.. That's my motto

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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Agreed. However, I'm a grad student so money = extremely limited. $40 is just too much when I can go without the extra carboy just as easily.

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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A new plastic food grade bucket is about $15 with a lid, cheaper at a big box store - skip the carboy, avoid the risk of bleeding, and go cheap with a bucket

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safa View Post
Now Im worried about those fractures having weakened the glass enough that it will just come apart with a full 5 gallon batch inside!
The part that scares me about it is they don't even have to show a visible crack, sometimes they just seem to come apart on people. I personally like glass because I just do not trust plastic even if someone claims it is 'food grade'. The FDA telling me something is safe or is 'food grade' does not reassure me. In hindsight if I hadn't just bought so many glass carboys I'd highly consider going with stainless steel kegs for fermenting.

The leadcheck swabs are nice, but those are usually like $25 a kit though it includes a number of swabs. To spend that to test for lead might as well just get a new carboy. I don't know if those swabs would work on glass. I have a feeling they are picking up a bit of dust or material off the surface, i.e. a painted surface to detect it, I don't know it would get that off a glass surface. I have some kit like that but it needs a chip of material that you crush and put in an ampule and squeeze it to mix the chemical.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:45 PM   #9
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i really doubt it uses leaded glass. if the 'fracture' is a cut line in a roughly circular pattern on the bottom, that is on most old glass carboys. i think the water companies did that when they decommissioned them. not a big deal.

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Old 10-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #10
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The older glass carboys I have (Great Bear Springs and some others) do have quite a bit of mold marks on the bottom, but strangely they are almost all cracked, like a spiderweb pattern almost all the way around, a few inches wide, being definitely cracks distinct of the mold marks. I don't know, my dad managed to use to those for probably 25 years without a problem, but I think he also never moved them full so that probably reduced his risk.

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