Here's something that I picked up on Yahoo Groups. You have probably heard about children's toys made in China that have high levels of toxic material such as lead in them. They have been removed from shops.
It occurred to a person called Mike L on a Yahoo Group that cat bowls made in China may have similar defects. I am sure that there are feeding bowls out there in the UK or USA that are made in China. It would seem possible therefore that some may be painted. Some paint made in China has high levels of lead in it.
Lead in paint makes it more durable. In fact lead was routinely used in paint made in Western countries until it was realized that it was dangerous in much the same way that lead in petrol (gas) is now known to damage children (hence lead free petrol).
It's just that China is behind the West in certain areas. If I were buying a cat's feeding bowl that was made of metal and painted I would check if it was made in China and if so not buy it.