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An interesting fact about the original red plates; the ingredient in the glaze that makes it turn red upon firing is uranium, which is radioactive. At the time it wasn't a problem. The red color was so popular that other manufacturers added uranium red to their own lines. The color was discontinued between 1943-1959 because the Government banned the use of uranium oxide for another purpose-the development of the atomic bomb.
In 1994 it was determined that the red pieces were leaking radon gas through cracks in the glaze at levels that are seven times higher than is considered safe. So it is probably best to stay away from those red plates, but only those made before 1972. After that they started to use other ingredients to achieve that vibrant red.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|