The rate of contaminant efflux with vary with physical and chemical properties of the clay interior and the overlying seawater.
There are very interesting microbial critters that could inhabit the micro-pore surface, living nicely off the bound ions, both ionic and covalent.
Methinks there would indeed be an odd flavor to tea made in these pots.
Their value lies in their age, provenance and unusual marine storage conditions.
Tek Sing Treasure:
http://www.worldcollectorsnet.com/magaz ... s18p4.html
"It was during the relatively peaceful Ming times that this fertile area gave rise to a rich and cultured elite society, whose traditions included the taking of tea. These merchants, officials and scholars as well as aristocrats required the finest tea and by the sixteenth century there was a great appreciation of the red-bodied teapots produced at Yixing. It became a matter not only of pleasure but also of status to order - or indeed sometimes to help the potter to produce - the finest possible teapots. In Ming times and later, inscriptions were of great importance. They could be extracts from poems both old and modern, and in some cases the simple but elegant forms of the vessels were no more than vehicles for fine calligraphy.
The tea-drinkers of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces eschewed what they deemed the more gaudy decorative products of Jingdezhen, and the gold and silver pots favored in some quarters. On the practical side, these unglazed pots kept the tea warm for longer, retained aroma better and were usually small enough to help avoid wasting an expensive commodity. The eighteenth century saw a decline in interest in tea and the quality of Yixing teapots, but there was a revival at the start of the nineteenth century, though earlier heights were never reached again.
All the teapots from the cargo have the traditional elegant simplicity of these wares. Some of the shapes have the maker’s name and others have poetic inscriptions on their bases. While there is a long history of exporting Yixing teapots, it is perhaps surprising to find inscribed ones in the cargo. Presumably they were destined for some of the island’s emigrant Chinese communities, where such cultural objects would be appreciated among certain classes. It is interesting that one of the Yixing teapots recovered from the Nanking cargo, salvaged in 1985 and whose wares date from circa 1750, appears very similar to the bullet-shaped teapots in the present cargo. Given the small number, it is not impossible that the latter were ‘old stock’ recovered from some warehouse, but it is more likely that some of the older types continued to be made alongside newer, more refined versions that were part of the revival."