Can you drink from a pewter mug?

Answered by Robert Golston

Can you drink from a pewter mug? This is a question that often comes up when discussing pewter, as there is some concern about the safety of using pewter items for eating and drinking. The answer is yes, you can safely drink from a pewter mug, but there are a few things to consider.

Firstly, it is important to note that pewter contains no lead. Pewter is primarily made from tin, with small amounts of other metals such as copper and antimony added to improve its strength and durability. These metals are non-toxic and do not pose any health risks when used for eating and drinking.

However, it is worth mentioning that older antique pieces of pewter may contain traces of lead. Lead was historically used in the production of pewter to improve its malleability and make it easier to work with. This means that if you are using an antique pewter mug, there is a possibility that it may contain lead.

So, how can you tell if a pewter item contains lead? One way is to look for a greyish-black coloration or “patina” on the surface of the pewter. This patina is caused by the reaction of lead with the air and develops over time. If you notice this discoloration on your pewter mug, it is a sign that it may contain lead and should not be used for consuming food or beverages.

Another way to determine if a pewter item contains lead is to have it tested by a professional. There are specialized laboratories that can conduct tests to detect the presence of lead in pewter. If you have concerns about the safety of your pewter mug, it may be worth seeking out such a test to be sure.

While modern pewter is safe to drink from, it is important to exercise caution when using antique pewter items. If you are unsure about the lead content of your pewter mug, look for signs of greyish-black patina or consider having it professionally tested. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health and safety.