#SaferChoices: Lead-Free Tea Kettles

In response to these posts (tea kettles that have tested positive for things like lead and cadmium) I wanted to share the following!

Tea Kettles:  A kettle is something you probably use every day for boiling water.  We do in our house.  As a result it totally makes sense to invest in one that is as free of toxicants as possible (lead-free, mercury-free, arsenic-free, cadmium-free.)  It is for this reason I avoid any kettles with any kind of enameled or other similar colored coating.  The coatings are what contain most of the “nasties” because those toxic heavy metals are often what is used to achieve the brightest prettiest colors in a finished kitchenware product.

Additionally the problem with many kettles is that you can usually easily test the outside with an XRF, but it is often difficult to do independent XRF testing of the interior coating (if the interior is in fact coated) without destroying the kettle.  In most cases an XRF just won’t fit through the top opening in a way that allows for a meaningful test result.

As a result – as a rule – I stick with clear glass and high quality stainless steel as my materials of choice for cooking.  I currently have two kettles in my home, one is a vintage glass one (that I rarely use) and the other is a modern lightweight stainless one. Some of the vintage clear glass ones have tested negative for lead and others have tested positive, so be careful if you are leaning in that direction for your choice (since you most likely don’t have an XRF in the closet to test your kettle after you buy it.)  Modern clear unpainted/ undecorated glass or modern stainless is your best bet.

The one thing to also be wary of in modern clear glass is any painted exterior markings.  Those markings often test very high positive for lead (usually in the 20,000 to 40,000 ppm range and sometimes higher.) The lead is added because it helps the markings stick to the glass at the time of manufacture HOWEVER these markings also tend to wear off with repeated use and washings. Epecially given the nature of a stove-top tea kettle that is going from hot to cold to hot to cold… the mere (imperceptable) expansion and contraction due to temperature will usually cause this paint to chip and wear into your kitchen environment.

So here are some recommendations, based on what I have in my kitchen and my personal experience in testing for toxicity in consumer goods using an XRF instrument:

Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links where a purchase made
after clicking will support this website without costing you extra!

Click through on each of these images to read more about these choices ( personally like the first glass one and the last stainless one the best!):

glass-3 glass2 glass mrcoffee cuisinart farber

As always, please let me know if you have any questions! And happy hunting for the perfect lead-safe/ lead-free tea kettle!

Tamara Rubin
Unexpected Lead Expert
Mother of Four Boys


Affiliate link disclosure: If you choose to purchase any items after clicking the Amazon links above, Amazon pays me a small kick back as a thank you for sending business their way. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website, allowing me to keep sharing information about childhood lead poisoning prevention (as well as making it possible for me to keep sharing about safe products for your home and family) ... Sharing this information in turn helps families everywhere protect their children from potential environmental toxicity in their homes. I only link to products that are the same as (or very similar to) ones that I either have direct personal experience with in my home or that I have personally tested with an XRF Instrument and found to be lead-safe or lead-free. January 2017

 

18 Responses to #SaferChoices: Lead-Free Tea Kettles

  1. Winn January 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

    Hullo Tamara, what are your thoughts on nickel leaching from stainless steel pots and kettles? I’ve been reading up on safe cookware and getting so confused (and intimidated) by all the pitfalls out there! Seems like glass and ceramic have a greater risk of lead, while stainless steel can leech nickel, which is apparently bad as well.

    • Tamara February 5, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      With the reading I have done, I learned that nickle allergies can be present – but they are extremely rare. I have all stainless pots and pans (and plates and tea kettle) in my home and my kids are extremely sensitive to some things (food coloring for example has given them potentially life threatening hives in the past)… and we have experienced no issues using stainless. That said, last month I tested several Ikea stainless items that had either no nickel or very low nickel, so perhaps checking out Ikea’s offerings might be in order. I personally am planning on getting a new clear glass one when I replace mine (eventually.) With the clear glass ones you do want to confirm that there are no painted markings on the side, as the painted markings are often painted with lead paint (to make them stick to the glass.)

      • REZARTA November 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

        Hello Tamara. Can you please recommend the safest brand for cookware, frying pan, bakeware and the link where to buy. I see that you recommend safe dinnerware( I choose some of those and I’m going to buy through your affiliated links right now ) but I don’t see any recommendation for cookware and bakeware. Please help me Im waiting on your reply

        • Rezarta November 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

          How about all-clad ?

  2. Sarah February 4, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    Dearest T- I will always try to use Amazon this way from now on. So glad to pay you back for all of the work you are doing!

    I am all set to buy the first tea pot you listed and I wanted to know if you had tested this one in particular. My mom lives in LA so I could send her one to get tested when you are down there if you haven’t yet.

    All the best,

    Sarah

    • Tamara February 5, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

      Thank you so much! I have not tested that exact one and would be happy to test it as part of our testing in Los Angeles later this month. It is made of clear borosilicate glass and I have a very high level of confidence that it is completely lead-free. I don’t believe I have ever tested any new/modern borosilicate glass that was positive for even trace lead. Some of the older / vintage glass stove-top kettles did have trace lead (the old Pyrex ones) but even with those the level was below 200 ppm.

  3. Janell February 5, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    Any recs on safe electric tea kettles not made in China?

  4. Rose February 6, 2017 at 9:33 pm #

    Hi! Do you have any recommendations for glass whistling kettles? Thank you! XO!

  5. TIFFANY JONAH March 16, 2017 at 7:48 am #

    Hello, do the bases of electric kettles likely contain lead on the heating element, like the instapot you discovered. Also, would Bodum have lead paint on it?

    • Tamara March 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm #

      The Bodum’s I have tested have not had lead paint on them Tiffany (and I have tested quite a few of them) – although I know they have a lot of different models – so I can’t speak definitively for the brand. I do really love their products though! I wish they were made with less plastic! (Even though the plastic they use appears to always be lead-free!)

      • Tara August 5, 2017 at 11:08 pm #

        Tamara, are there any electric kettles that you can recommend?

  6. suzanne August 5, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    Hi! A urine challenge test showed that I tested high for lead in my body!

    I have been using an electric kettle from Walmart made in China.

    Do you recommend any electric water kettles?

    Thanks!

    suzanne

  7. Leslie August 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

    Hi there!

    I, too, would like to know if you have tested any electric kettles. I am a nutritionist and I researched the safest kettles (I don’t have a XRF instrument so I had to go off published information which is scant at best.)

    I prefer glass but, like another commenter here, I need a whistling pot. I might leave it on the stove too long and I’m afraid it might explode. So I finally settled on a stainless steel elec kettle that was the only one I could find which was 100% SS inside (including the inside of the lid) that was also seamless so bacteria could not hide. The elements at the bottom are covered with the same SS material as the rest of the inside (someone mentioned the heating elements can be covered in a material that contains lead). But I am always concerned about the amount of metals that leach into even the best stainless products so I still prefer glass. (Have you seen the Japanese studies several years ago showing that SS leached metals, including nickel, into all foods, especially high acid foods link tomato sauce? The only exception to leaching was with pure distilled water.)

    So my questions are: have you (or perhaps will you consider) testing glass kettles with whistlers, and also electric kettles? (My concern with elec glass kettles was with the heating elements – all contained metal screws/rivets of unknown origin and plastic seals (sometimes using the less toxic silicone) and glues (most glues contain formaldehyde) so I went with SS. Perhaps the kettle linked here might interest you for testing: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011BE7V8W/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Thank you – I really appreciate all your hard work!

    • Tamara August 15, 2017 at 4:17 pm #

      I haven’t yet tested any electric kettles.

  8. suzanne September 4, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    Have you ever tested any of the blue flower corningware coffee carafes? :o)

  9. Alicia November 6, 2017 at 7:09 am #

    Reviews on the last kettle say it’s coated on the interior with teflon? That can’t be healthy either, right?

    Thank you!

  10. Badgley November 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

    I’m surprised that the Vanika Stainless Steel Whistling Tea Kettle is on this list, let alone that it’s one of your favorite, considering that it’s coated with teflon. According to Robert L. Wolke, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh,”There’s a whole chemistry set of compounds that will come off when Teflon is heated high enough to decompose.” I know that most experts claim that the toxic chemicals are only released from teflon when it’s overheated, but how hot is too hot? And how many of us leave the kettle boiling longer than we should? Why take a chance.

    • Tamara November 9, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

      I’ll remove it. When I posted it I did not see anything about a teflon coating. Thank you.

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