As a busy mom, your crock pot is probably your best friend. I know I have had one humming away on my counter top for the past 7 years! If you have heard any of the hub-bub about lead in crock pots, you might have wept and wondered how you would manage to feed your family without this modern device?!
So, is there lead in crock pots? The answer is yes, sometimes.
But let’s look at the whole story so we harried housewives can decide for ourselves if there is enough threat to make us turn in our slow cookers.
Is There Lead in Crock Pots?
Some crock pots can leak lead, which then obviously ends up in your food. Why in the world would manufacturers be allowed to sell such electronics in the U.S.? They met the FDA safety standards, meaning there is an “acceptable amount” of lead found in them. Is there such a thing as an “acceptable amount” of lead that can end up in our food? Not according to current medical evidence: here and here. Clearly the FDA results are not up to date with scientific research, so it is up to us, the consumer, to take action to keep our families safe.
How does lead get into food?
Few crock pots leak lead when they are first sold and remain in perfect condition, but with wear and tear they can get dented, scratched, nicked and cracked, which makes it easy for lead to leach out. A majority of crock pot bowls are made of ceramic materials which often includes a small amount of natural lead. Although the engineered marvels are supposed to be made so that the lead isn’t able to escape, even a small imperfection in the glaze can allow the toxin to leach into food. It’s also been found that some crock pot bowls are coated with glaze containing lead. This is because many crock pots are made in China where there is no strict quality control.
The health concern is that lead builds up in your system gradually, so even a small amount can cause serious harm over time. This means that even if the crock pot you have in your kitchen leaks a tiny amount of lead each time it’s used, the heavy metal builds up in your body, which can cause long-term serious health issues. We also need to consider other possible lead exposure that could add to the amount we end up storing in our systems.
Harmful effects of lead toxicity
Lead toxicity has been found to cause disease in every organ, especially the nervous system, and causes diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. It also causes harm to the kidneys, cardiovascular, immune, and reproductive systems, and has been found to play a part in hearing loss, cataracts and tooth decay. Head on over to PubMed and type in “lead”, you will be shocked to see what you come up with!
Lead poisoning is especially dangerous (and neurotoxic!)for children since their organs are less equipped to handle the toxin. It has been found to produce behavioral and growth problems, as well as learning disabilities, in children, in addition to physical illnesses.
Unwilling to give up your Crock Pot? Here’s what to do
If you are still holding firm that you can’t live without your crock pot, I hear ya! But to be safe, do a little investigating using the steps below:
- Though manufacturers are not always forthcoming when not forced, some have made statements about how their crock pots are made and the ingredients in them. Google the name brand of your slow cooker and then “lead” or “lead leaching” after it to see if the manufacturer has released a statement.
- Carefully examine the bowl of your crock pot to look for cracks, chips and gashes. If there are any imperfections, I would personally error on the side of caution and pitch it. But at least know if your risk is higher due to a worn bowl.
- Get a lead test kit like this one. They are inexpensive and easy to use, though some people claim that the OTC kits available aren’t able to detect the low levels of lead that leach from crock pots.
- The safest method is to purchase a specific crock pot that is guaranteed to be lead-free. There is such a thing, and you can find it here. I have one of these and I love it!
- You can also get one of my favorite new gadgets that is a 7-in-1 kitchen tool. I just got mine and so far we have made bone broth, rice, chili, chicken soup, steamed veggies, and cheesecake in it! It’s called an Instant Pot and the inner pot is stainless steel so you never have to worry about lead! It might just be my favorite new kitchen tool. Stay tuned for all of the new recipes I come up with! You can see it in action here.
Take away message
Yes, lead may be leaking from your adored crock pot, but that doesn’t mean you can never use one again. Now that you are informed, you can decide which course of action is right for you and your family. But please, if you are cooking meals in it consistently and you are cooking meals for small children with developing brains, consider buying one of the lead-free options that I mentioned above. Please share this post with friends and family, they too might be wondering Is There Lead in Crock Pots?
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