The inside nut (valve cover/ end) on the Butterfly brand pressure cooker pictured here (made in India, and brought with the family to the United States when they moved from India) tested positive for 120,500 ppm Lead when tested with an XRF instrument. That is greater than 12% Lead — on a food-surface component of a cookware item used daily.
This particular pressure cooker was the potential and likely source of poisoning of a young boy who had a chronic, persistent low-level Lead exposure, whose exposure source remained a mystery for more than a year. He ate rice from this pressure cooker every day. While the rice is being cooked, water condenses up on the interior surface of the lid where the heavily-Leaded nut/ valve is, and then drips back down on to the rice. This cycle happens for the entire time the rice is cooking (roughly an hour.)
The child lived in a newer-construction home and previous inspectors who visited with the family had “not been able to find any potential sources of exposure for this child”.
A similarly constructed baby food grinder (mainly stainless steel interior) that the family had (also made in India) also had a Leaded brass washer in an area of the grinder that came in regular contact with the food being ground in the appliance. This was an additional possible source of exposure for the child in this home.
As a result of this discovery with this family, since then I have always discouraged the use of stainless steel appliances from India – especially in the absence of XRF testing [it is unlikely that these items would test positive with a reactive agent swab, so they really cannot be tested at home].
Since first encountering this issue, I have tested many pressure cookers from various countries of origin — Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and others — and consistently found examples of this problematic construction across the board, with very few exceptions.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
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