Non Toxic Dinnerware – Bowls & Plates

Have you ever considered wooden dinnerware?  At first I thought it would be unhygienic, but after using my wooden bowl for a long time, I stopped worrying about that.  I feel comfortable with it.  I eat out of it every day, and I great about the fact that it’s non toxic.  I also like that it’s lightweight, easy to wash, and doesn’t make loud noises in the sink.

If you’re interested in this too, try to find a local wood turner who is interested in making rustic bowls.  You might try contacting a wood turning association, or asking at your local Rockler or Woodcraft store for a referral.  If nothing else, try Holland Bowl Mill or Don of Dead Tree Woodworks from Freeland, Michigan.
As for sizing, I love my wood bowl, which just barely holds 5 cups.  It is the one in the picture above.  It is 8.25″ across, from outside to outside, and it is 2 7/8′ high.  It is absolutely wonderful.  It never gets hot to hold.
Make sure you get it finished in something non toxic.  I like to finish mine with animal fat and beeswax, but some people say that animal fat is bad for this application, and acquires a weird smell over time.  Some use RAW linseed oil (the boiled kind has heavy metals added to speed up drying time) to finish bowls and plates, but I don’t like the taste of that and feel that it might get rancid VERY quickly, as all seed oils do (canola, etc), and rancid oils are damaged oils, and oils that are damaged cause damage inside of humans (inflammation).  Note that wooden pieces like this can crack over time – you just don’t know what can happen with wood, as it expands and contracts throughout the seasons.
Another type of natural finish that is gaining attention is Urushi, which is made from the sap of a tree in Japan, and essentially, lasts forever and is extremely hard.  Find out more here.
If you are interested in wooden plates as well, I highly recommend Jarrod Dahl of Wood Spirit Handcraft from Marais, MN.   If he is not available, try to find a local wood turner (see suggestions above).   For sizing, I think plates should be at least 10″ in diameter, like these.  any smaller, and I find it hard to accommodate all types of meals.  And if you’re going to get wooden dinnerware, you’re going to want the pieces to be as versatile as possible, as the pieces are expensive – which means, you’re not going to want to buy a whole lot unless you have a money tree in your yard.

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If you don’t want wooden dinnerware, try the following options.  You can have any items tested by Tamara Rubin – you just need to pay her a fee as well as postage.  Find details about how to send your dishes for testing here:   It costs $150 for a box of ten items or $25 per single item.

Not all glass items are lead-free, as is shown by numerous testing results on Tamara Rubin’s website.

  • Corelle plates & bowls (tested lead-free by Tamara Rubin).  Tamara said to stay away from their mugs though.
  • HF Coors plates & bowls, and mugs (tested lead-free by Tamara Rubin).
  • Williams Sonoma dishes are a good bet – and they do not add lead when making these products.  This information is included on the Williams-Sonoma web site: “All of our dinnerware, glassware and other items used for serving food are tested to ensure that they meet FDA and California Proposition 65 requirements for lead and cadmium.  Like most fine crystal glasses, some of our William Yeoward collection, Riedel glassware and Waterford stemware is made using lead. In accordance with Proposition 65, we issue the following warning to our California customers: ‘Use of this product will expose you to lead and/or cadmium, chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.’  In accordance with Proposition 65, when a ceramic glaze meets FDA standards but fails to meet the standards of Proposition 65, we issue the following warning to our California customers: “The materials used as colored decorations on the exterior of this product contain lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.” If the interior or pouring lip of a serving vessel is finished with a glaze that contains lead, we issue the following warning: “Use of this product will expose you to lead and/or cadmium, chemicals known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
  • Crate & BarrelTamara Rubin tested one of their white dish sets, called “Aspen.”  They were found to be free of lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury.  The black label on the bottom were also free of any toxic metals.
  • Tamara recommends some glass brands Libbey, Anchor Hocking, Duralex

Don’t be like the Romans and poison yourself by drinking out of lead cups!  Get something safe for you and your fam.  As you can see from Tamara’s website, many of the dishes sold in stores today have super high amounts of lead.

2 thoughts on “Non Toxic Dinnerware – Bowls & Plates

  1. I am in the process of looking for safe dinnerware. I see above the statement about Williams Sonoma dinnerware; however, recently (February 2022) Tamara Rubin tested WS Sicily dinnerware and found it to contain high levels of lead. I don’t understand it. I wrote to WS and asked if this dinnerware met the requirements of Prop 65 and they said YES! I’m so disappointed and don’t know what to trust anymore.


    1. Roberta, you are right that Tamara has tested them and it is not reliable enough to buy. I will have to update this page with that information.

      If you really liked certain pieces from WS, you could purchase and few and send them to Tamara for testing…


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