Lab report finds some VPR Artists Series pledge mugs contain lead

By Ben Mook

Vermont Public Radio said Monday that test results show that 11 of the 34 mugs in its Artist Mug Series, which the station gives as pledge premiums, contain lead — one at a level above the federal limit.

Responding to safety concerns raised in September, VPR had mugs produced from 2002-13 tested by an independent lab. The lab found 10 had lead on the exterior of the mug that fell within FDA regulated levels. One, produced in 2005 with a design by Chris Varricchione, had “unacceptable” levels of lead. VPR is recommending the mug not be used.

“Our goal from the beginning was to be open and transparent about this issue,” VPR said on its website. “As regular users of the VPR Artist Mugs ourselves, we empathize with those who have contacted us with questions and concerns. We have learned much over the last month as we navigated this complicated issue.”

VPR said the Artist Mug Series, which it has commissioned since 1992, was now on temporary hiatus following the results. In the meantime, VPR said it was meeting with vendors to determine how the mugs were sourced and produced.

A listener raised the initial concern in September over a 2011 mug. That mug later was found to have complied with FDA regulations.

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