People who frequent Japanese restaurants can now eat without apprehension from the black and red lacquered bowls in which Japanese food is frequently served. Murashige and Terada [Journal of the Japanese Society of Colour Material, 51, 12 (1978) p. 695] extracted the lacquer with acetic acid and found no cadmium or mercury and low lead content in only some cases. This is comforting indeed but obviously of little consequence statistically relative to the problem of lead poisoning. Heavy metal contamination has been the subject of a great deal of discussion and of many articles in the past decade. For years paint was made with lead. There was no understanding of the fact that this lead could be harmful. Today we know that it is, and getting the lead and other heavy metals out of paints has become a major objective in the coatings industry.
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