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VPR Provides Updated Information About Artist Mugs

Fall 2005 Artist Mug

A few weeks ago, questions emerged about the safety of ceramicmugs from the VPR Artist Mug Series. In response, VPR had all 34 of the mugs produced in the past decade screened at a Vermont firm. That process identified 11 mugs that contain lead.

Because more comprehensive analysis was required on these 11 mugs, VPR sent them to an accredited consumer products testing lab in Milford, NH. The lab conducted tests on each mug to determine lead content of the ceramics as well as the surface coating used in the production of these mugs.

VPR has analyzed the results of those tests and found that despite the presence of lead on the exterior of the mugs, 10 of the 11 mugs meet the applicable FDA regulation. However, one mug produced in 2005 (with a design by Chris Varricchione pictured below) was found to have unacceptable levels of lead content in the ceramic material. VPR is advising anyone who has this mug to discontinue its use.

Out of concern about this new finding, on October 17 VPR sent all additional mugs that are a part of the 15 oz VPR Artist Mugs series (produced between 2002 and 2013) to the lab for comprehensive testing. VPR expects to have the results of these new tests on or before October 30.

When this issue first came to light in late September, concerns were raised about the VPR Artist Mug from Fall 2011. The comprehensive tests now show that this mug, with a design by Vikki Day, is compliant with the federal regulation for mugs produced for general use.  

Over the life of the Artist Mug series, VPR has used a number of vendors to supply its mugs. While the ceramic mugs are made in China, they were printed by companies in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. The 2005 mug was sourced and printed by the vendor based in Pennsylvania. VPR is contacting its former vendor about these test findings.

VPR considers the safety of its members a top priority and we are working now to contact all of our members who received the 2005 mug. As we learn more, we will post updates to our blog and as appropriate, contact members directly with any additional information.

Brendan Kinney is Vermont Public's interim CEO.
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