I get lots of concerned questions from readers worried that they are poisoning themselves and their families with lead leaching from crock pots. There are plenty of vague answers online from manufacturers saying that any lead in the cookware glaze is within government regulations and is otherwise harmless unless the glaze is cracked. Hmm. Not particularly reassuring if you ask me. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and end the great Crock Pot Lead Mystery once and for all.
For $2.50 per stick, I ordered these simple lead testers from Amazon. They got decent reviews and proved to be super simple to use.
I cracked open the first one and swabbed it around on my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker for 30 seconds, like the package says. Other than picking up some residual oil from my inadequate cleaning, the swab remained the yellow of the tester liquid.
Then I tested my older Hamilton Beach slow cooker – same results.
Well, I thought, either my crock pots aren't leaching lead, or these sticks are bunk. So I decided to test out some other stuff. I activated a second stick and trolled around my house determined to find something containing lead.
I swabbed some old pipes and yard equipment. The stick stayed yellow, if not a bit dirty. I swabbed six different wooden toys that must have been made in China – not even a hint of pink appeared. Then I spotted our leaded glass window on our front door. Eureka! As soon as my tester hit the metal the swab bloomed a vibrant red. Lead.
No, I haven't tested all the slow cookers on the market. No, I don't know how heating the slow cooker over many hours will affect this result – though I will be testing after my next big batch of broth.
But, I DO feel pretty happy with those results.
Are you worried about lead in crock pots? Solve your own prock pot lead mystery…
Buy these lead test swabs here, and find out whether your slow cookers are secretly harboring toxicity. Then check back here and report your results.
Let's end the terror, so we can get back to living with slow cookers peacefully bubbling away on counter tops everywhere.