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Have you been looking for a non-toxic tea kettle not made in China? It may be because you know that the background level of pollution in China and general lenient attitude towards quality standards are discouraging. Or, you want to support local manufacturers, which is praiseworthy. Maybe you want to buy products from countries that have more effective environmental and consumer protection laws. Whatever the reason – it’s valid, and I totally understand you.
Moreover, I have spent a lot of time trying to find a high-quality safe tea pot not made in China. You know what I have discovered? First, it is almost impossible to find one (due to lower manufacturing costs in China). Second, when it comes to tea kettles, I don’t have to worry about them being made in China if I choose the right material. Yes, even China-made cookware can be safe enough for you. Keep reading to learn how to find the best tea kettle for your quiet and enjoyable teatime. And for assistance in finding safe cookware, turn to my Safe Cookware Guide.
Non-Toxic Tea Kettle Not Made in China
To begin with, remember this tip, and it will help you a lot: A non-toxic tea kettle should not be made of aluminum. Also, I am wary of kettles with enamel coating.
Aluminum Is Not A Safe Material For Your Kettle
First, aluminum cookware may leach aluminum salts. Unlike lead or mercury, aluminum’s negative effects on our health are controversial. While it is not an established carcinogen, it is linked to Alzheimer’s and may contribute to the depletion from the body of phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and iron (source and source).
Unlike lead, which has no safe levels, our bodies can take some aluminum without suffering harmful effects. The generally accepted level of aluminum we can ingest is 3-5 mg a day. Independent tests show that food prepared in aluminum cookware can increase this daily intake substantially.
The good news is that our organs don’t absorb most of the aluminum we ingest as it gets excreted. However, we should take into consideration the fact that aluminum is bioaccumulation. Meaning, that it accumulates in the body over time. Therefore, I don’t think an aluminum tea kettle is the best tea kettle for you.
Be Careful With Enameled Cookware
Second, to be on the safe side, your non-toxic tea kettle should not have enamel coating due to potential contamination with lead. Indeed, lead is a common contaminant in cookware or dishware and can be found in enamel, too. It is a heavy metal that accumulates in the body over time. There is an array of potential health problems standing behind lead – anything from hypertension to brain malfunction (source).
When Tamara Rubin of Lead Safe Mama conducted XMF tests on several enameled household objects, some of them tested positive for lead or cadmium. Hence, in my opinion, an enameled tea kettle is not your best tea kettle.
Also note that when it comes to enameled kettles, the year and the country of manufacture matters. Vintage enameled kettles are suspect for heavy metal contamination. And in my experience, enameled kettles made in China or Mexico are more likely to contain the residue of heavy metals.
In addition, pay attention to whether there is a California Prop 65 warning and avoid those kettles, too
How To Buy A Lead-Free Tea Kettle
There are two regulations to look for – FDA regulations and California Proposition 65. In the table below you will find their lead compliance limits side by side per the type of cookware/dishware. The measurements are in micrograms per milliliter (mcg/ml) after the item was soaked in a 4% acetic acid solution.
Let’s see how these numbers can help you buy a non-toxic tea kettle.
As I have mentioned above, there are no safe levels for lead because it accumulates in the body over time. However, when lead goes into your digestive system, there is a chance your body will not absorb all of it. (By the way, diets rich in fiber and lean protein reduce the absorption of lead.)
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, created by California Proposition 65, sets forth 2 types of limits for lead per day. The maximum limit for lead as a carcinogen is 15 micrograms. And the maximum amount of lead as a chemical causing reproductive toxicity is 0.5 micrograms.
So, if your tea boiler (large hollowware) follows the FDA limits, you can’t drink more than 15 milliliters of water out of it before you start increasing your risk of cancer. Fifteen milliliters is a little over three teaspoons – not very much. Considering that not all lead is absorbed, let’s say 6 teaspoons – still not much. And the safety limit for pregnant women would be much less than a teaspoon.
As you can see from the table above, the California Proposition 65 limits are either 5 or 10 times more stringent. In our case with large hollowware, it is 10 times better than the standard. So, 30 teaspoons of water from a tea kettle would be okay to drink without increasing the risk of cancer.
Safe Materials For Your Best Tea Kettle
Safer choices for a tea boiler include plain (undecorated) stainless steel and plain (undecorated) clear glass. We use cookware made of these materials at home. Not only are they free of toxins, but they are inexpensive as well. And here is very good news – if your non-toxic tea kettle is made of stainless steel or plain glass, it doesn’t really matter whether it is a product of China. In other words, it’s okay for your tea kettle to come from China if it’s made of stainless steel or glass.
Definitely, stainless steel looks beautiful. And it is the number one choice of professional chefs. This is because it heats uniformly and reacts well to changes in temperature. Cast iron, in contrast, holds heat for a long time, making it tricky for some applications.
Tamara Rubin tested several stainless-steel items with an XRF instrument and detected no lead, cadmium or arsenic in them. However, there are some downsides of stainless steel. Such as leaching of chromium, nickel, and iron into food during cooking (source). While iron and chromium are essential nutrients for which stainless steel may be useful, you don’t need nickel for your health. (In the 18/10 and 18/8 types of stainless steel, 18 stands for percentage of chromium, and 10 and 8 – of nickel.)
Even so, my research into safe cookware shows that stainless steel cookware is one of the safest cookware options in the market regardless of its manufacturing location.
Plus, when water boils for tea, it does not create conditions that stimulate nickel leaching. Because you pour the water immediately into a teacup. Also, water is not acidic like tomato sauce, for example. Hence, the odds of significant nickel leaching into the water in your best tea kettle made of stainless steel are very small.
Glass As Non-Toxic Tea Kettle Material
Note that only clear non-crystal glass doesn’t leach lead or cadmium. Thus, Tamara Rubin tested glass kitchenware and found vintage glassware positive for lead. However, her testing of modern glassware with no decorations or added colorants detected no lead, cadmium, arsenic or mercury.
The glass in your best tea kettle should be absolutely clear — not even a hint of tint (especially the clear light green or blue tint that is often typical of recycled glass items.) Additionally, it shouldn’t be a recycled glass item if you want to avoid lead. According to Tamara Rubin, despite its environmentally virtuous appeal, recycled glass is often positive for at least trace amounts of lead, regardless of the tint or color or lack thereof. You can read more about glass products made of borosilicate glass, lime glass, and leaded glass in my Lead Free Glassware Brands post.
Are Xtrema Tea Kettles Safe?
Xtrema is a very popular brand. Almost every single blogger who writes about healthy living promotes their products. Despite the fact that they manufacture their cookware products in China and from ceramic, Xtrema has been able to persuade the public that their products are safe. On the plus side, they publish their test reports that show compliance with the California Proposition 65 regulations. On the minus side, Tamara Rubin tested Xtrema and didn’t find them heavy metal-free. You can read more about that in my Safe Cookware Guide.
When Xtrema started selling their products, I bought what I thought would become my best non-toxic tea kettle. When it took a long time to boil water, I increased the temperature form low to medium-low. As a result, the bottom started chipping away. And pieces would crack off with a noticeable popping sound and fly around the kitchen. Even though I am a “stay cool” person, I stopped using it. Because it was neither efficient nor safe, in my opinion.
Conclusion About Non-Toxic Tea Kettles
It Is Okay For Your Best Tea Kettle To Be Made In China As Long As The Materials Are Stainless Steel Or Glass.
In sum, even China-made tea kettles can be safe enough for you. Normally, such materials as stainless steel and clear glass provide assurance of safety as they don’t test positive for heavy metals and contaminants regardless of the country of origin. Make sure, though, that any plastic parts of your non-toxic kettle are at the very least BPA-free and do not touch the water.
In the “Kitchen Gadgets and Appliances” section of the IRLFY Amazon shop, you will find several options of easy to clean stainless steel tea kettles, a heat-resistant borosilicate glass kettle, and both induction cooktop compatible and electric kettles. If you are a fan of a whistling tea kettle, you’ll find one there, too. Actually, whistling kettles are a great idea. Because you don’t have to worry about forgetting about your water boiling on the stove. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions as to whether your stainless steel kettle or borosilicate glass kettle is dishwasher safe.
As for cast iron kettles, those that I’ve seen in the market are enameled cast iron tea pots, better used as accessories or humidifiers than for boiling water for consumption.
Explore the I Read Labels For You blog for useful information on healthy living. Also, browse the IRLFY shop for non-toxic products. Check out our e-books, and use one of our services if you need help understanding ingredients.
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