Imported dishes can present human health hazards in two ways: (1) dinnerware that contains toxic metals in excessive amounts may gain entry to the US; and (2) imported decorative ceramic plates may be improperly labeled regarding permissible use with food. In the present study, non-random samples of dishes were purchased in new condition in US retail outlets and subjected to 24-h acid leaching tests. Two of 28 patterns of imported ceramic dinnerware were found to release lead in levels that exceed US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits, and 10 other patterns released lead in concentrations exceeding California Proposition 65 (CA 65) limits. One imported ceramic dish released cadmium in excess of FDA limits. Samples of new foreign-made melamine (plastic) dinnerware in four patterns released neither lead nor cadmium in detectable concentrations. One of three patterns of imported decorative ceramic plates released lead in concentrations exceeding 2000 micrograms/ml. These plates are not permanently labeled as hazardous and are in noncompliance with FDA regulations.