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