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The Great Crock Pot Lead Debate

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I’ve had several emails from you guys about lead… crock pots. You want to know why I keep using my crock pot if there is a risk of lead leaching into the food. I’ll be honest…..I had no idea about lead in crock pots until I was emailed the first time. And then I started doing research – as I am always prone to doing. It’s true that some crock pots have lead….and it can get into your food. I let this bother me for about a day. I pondered on it and worried….and pondered some more and thought about getting rid of my crock pot. Then I smacked myself and got over it. You know what? There is always going to be something wrong with cookware. Don’t use Teflon, it’s bad for you. Don’t use aluminum, it’s bad for you. Don’t use your cast iron, you can get too much iron into your system. Don’t barbecue your food, you can get cancer. Holy cow. Am I the only one a little bit sick of worrying about everything? I realize that we need to be smart and protect our families. If we are sure that something is bad for us, we shouldn’t do it….but the jury is still out on crock pots…..and so, I continue to use mine without any worry. Why? Because, I tested it, that’s why.The FDA says that crock pots are safe. Let me tell you something else – I don’t trust ANYTHING the FDA says. So, if I want to know if my crock pot is safe, I’m going to have to test it myself. The FDA is too busy giving raw milk a hard time.

I have four crock pots. One of mine is a GE and the other three are a set of nesting pots from HamiltonBeach. From what I read, the biggest problem with lead comes from the Rival brand…..which can be a cheaper crock pot unless you get a high-end type. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Can I get a witness??? I am very guilty of buying things just because they are cheaper – sometimes, it bites me in the butt. I’m working on that issue.

You can get lead testing kits at your local Lowes or other hardware stores. My mom, the queen of shopping deals, found this lead testing kit on the clearance rack…..for $.10. Go Mama! It came with two tests, each capable of testing four things at a time. We had already used one to test some of Annie’s used toys – which turned out to be safe. Toys from China are not always a good idea. That’s why wooden toys tend to be my favorite…..but we’re talking crock pots here, not toys. *Cough*

Follow the directions on your testing kit. You should get results very quickly. When you’re done, wash the crock pots to get rid of any residue that’s left.

And the results? Both my crock pots tested negative for lead. Yippee!!!  Now I can use them without concern. If you want to set your mind at ease, head on over to your local Lowes and pick up a kit.For more information and more testing results, see this post from Terminal Verbosity.FYI – Never use your crock if it’s cracked. Don’t use crack either.
This post is linked at Monday Mania on The Healthy Home Economist, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, at Pennywise Platter on The Nourishing Gourmet, and at Real Food Wednesday on Kelly The Kitchen Kop.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. I’ve had this same concern with my silicone bakeware. I love it, but I think I may need to do some research to feel confident baking in it.

  2. I agree – there’s always some new concern that’s going to kill us. Personally I couldn’t handle a raw food diet. My mom handed me down her ~old~ (1 year old) All Clad slow cooker, so I’m going to assume I’m good – or at least I don’t care enough to worry.

    “Don’t do crack either” – sorry, but that really made me giggle!! :)

  3. Good post, but not happy. Now I have to test my crocks and worry about my silicone? I LOVE my silicone it makes life easier, nothing sticks to it! whaaaaa! It is true, ignorance is bliss….just not the smartest way to go thru life.

    I’ll put lead tester on my list for this weekend and I guess I’ll have to do some research on silicone.

  4. I’ve never heard about Crock Pots having lead either. I have a Rival that makes me want to go get the test kit!

  5. I’ll have to pick up one of those testing kits! Thanks for the info! :-)

  6. oh my! i nvr realized there was a fear of lead. i would be lost w/o my crock pot! i use it at least once a wk. supper tonight is chicken soft tacos. one lb of chicken in the pot, seasoning, salsa and some water on top. just gotta shred it up and add some veggies. YUM! what’s the fear w/silicone? my momma bakes w/it often.

  7. I had never heard of this until yesterday when I read a post about making bone stock…one more thing to add to the list of what will kill or harm us. 😛 Sometimes I research and research and drive myself crazy…and then sometimes I just pretend I never heard of any of it! It goes in cycles. :)

  8. I’v been around long enough to see a lot of these fears come and go. There’s always spme new scare that someone comes up with. A few years later it’s forgotten and there’s a new trend in scares.

  9. Nikki @ Christian Mommy Blogger says:

    Thanks for this. I will buy a kit. I am so with you girl…every time I turn around there is something else I shouldn’t be doing. As a real food foodie, a quasi-greenie and a healthy food christian blogger there is ALWAYS something new. Just when I get adjusted to something (say back in the day, splenda instead of sugar) I find out “Splenda will give you cancer or make you gain a million pounds” so then I stop splenda and move to Stevia (surprise, I actually have a post about that). I am sure in a year or so we will find out Stevia is bad….or is it? I think people need a new scandal just to keep life interesting…or to have something to blog about! Moral of the story. Make sure you are safe and healthy. If you doubt it, stop it. If you don’t care and it hasn’t killed you….then whatevs! :) But we have to try it out and wonder…that is what keeps us going with new things to blog about!

  10. I have to admit that I did a post on lead in crock pots, and I am hesitant to use it since but I still have. It is very convenient. I do not use it everyday, and sometimes not every week, but I do use it. I actually have 2 Rivals too. sigh

  11. I haven’t heard of the debate over crock pots. I actually saw the lead testers at lowe’s over by the paint dept. when we were buys paint for the kids rooms. Something to think about (but not worry about, lol)

  12. Tina Whitman says:

    If you use a liner, is this still a worry? I know those are kinda expensive, but it is worth it to me to not need to stand over my sink and clean it.

    • Some people just don’t care for the liners. They say they are BPA free (or so I’ve heard)…..I just don’t care for the extra expense since I use mine so regularly. :-)

  13. I LOVE your personality!! It comes out so well in your blog. I found this from GNOWFGLINS but I’m gonna be a subscriber now! :) I’m with you, everything is a worry, and yes it’s important to be aware but to drive ourselves mad over it!? nah. 😉 I laughed out loud and nodded my head along with you. beautiful!

  14. There’s always something wrong with everything. LOL Isn’t Rival the original Crock Pot?

  15. Thanks for sharing your findings on this! I did a bunch of research on this myself after a friend asked me if I was worried about lead in crock pots, and there was very little research out there! Calling crock pot manufacturers was, well, a crock 😉 Anyway, thought you might like to see my test results (which confirm yours, but are with slightly different crock pots):

    It’s good to be diligent about safety, but I agree with you that you can’t worry about everything or you’d drive yourself crazy!!!

  16. Wouldn’t you want to test the crock pot when it’s hot? I thought that more lead leached at above 80 degrees?

  17. Madeline says:

    I can’t believe I came across the articles with lead in crock pots. I’m a college student and use my Rival Smartpot ALL THE TIME, at least two times a week. Just bought another one today for cheesecake and round casserole dishes. Wouldn’t I have been sick by now from a year of slow-cooked meals 2+ times a week? Not gonna worry about it =)

  18. awesselius says:

    The body is capable of dealing with lead which is digested. The amounts digested are down to a minimum if any. It’s good to mention it and for the ones who want to test it to be sure etc.

    Just be sure your immunesystem is up to par and that’s the real problem nowadays. So fix that first if this is worrying you.

    But yes, worrying is messing with your hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) and to keep up with these is cumbersome. So don’t, don’t worry.

    Cooking in a crockpot makes up so much against cooking in other cookware, worrying about lead is futile. Cooking in a crockpot is using a lower temperature and because of that you keep most if not all the nutrients your body needs.

    The next thing people are going go wild about cooking with electricity instead of fire. Oh, the radiation! What is it going to do with the food and our health? Help! 😉

  19. awesselius says:

    Oh, and for those who worry about other things: STOP IT!

  20. Hi Stacy!
    I’ve noticed that my Hamilton Beach crock pot has what I’ll call a “spider web” of cracks through out. Should I pitch it???

    • That’s unusual…I’m not sure. I know that some ceramic gets the spider web look from use but it doesn’t mean it’s harmful. I would run to Lowes and pick up one of those testing kits to see how it turns out before I pitched it. :-) Keep me posted.

      • That sounds like it’s just crazing. That happens sometimes when things get old, or sometimes it can be from extreme temperature changes. As long as nothing is leaking out of it, there’s no reason to replace it. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to check for stuff leaching out of it, though.

      • Ok, so after I said that, I looked up crazing, and it actually says if you’re using it to make food, it probably isn’t safe, because it can harbor bacteria. So…if it’s on the outside of the crock, it’s probably fine. If it’s on the inside of the pot, you might want to replace it. It sounds like it could be considered a manufacturing defect, though, so you might want to contact the manufacturer!

  21. Elizabeth H says:

    Actually, you can’t test the crocks for lead yourself. The kits aren’t that sensitive. They have to be lab tested, with the crocks at a temperature of at least 80 degrees, and a special acid is used. The kits bought in the store aren’t sensitive enough to pick up lead that leaches into food when it is being cooked. For most adults, it’s probably no issue. But, if you have children in the house, every little bit of lead stays in their bodies for longer periods of time and builds up. Hence the issue with slow cookers. However, I just called “Crock Pot”, now a division of Sunbeam, and was told that they use no lead in their glazes and that they are constantly monitored. They are also monitored by a third-party company, and exceed California Prop 65 levels for other toxins. Since Proposition 65 levels are greatly lower than FDA levels, I’m thinking the “Crock Pot” brand is a pretty good alternative. As you said, you can’t protect yourself from everything. Even stainless steel pots, unless they are surgical stainless steel, leach toxins.

    • We just try to do the best we can…and not worry about every little thing. Stress is a killer. That’s cool about the Crock Pot brand! Thanks for passing along that jewel of information. :-)

      • Thank you Elizabeth and Stacy!
        I’m glad there are people like you out there that take the extra time and effort to keep the rest of us informed :)

    • I have a newer (bought last year) Crock Pot brand slow cooker as well as a 2 decade old (at least) Rival brand slow cooker. My husband was able to test them for lead and the newer Crock Pot actually contained more lead than the old Rival. From what I’ve read, it seems as though both of these brands vary greatly on amount of lead. I called Bella and Cuisinart and both stated that they do not use lead on their inserts. Proctor Silex states on their website that theirs are also lead and cadmium free. I emailed both Calphalon and All Clad and are waiting to hear back.

  22. Stacy, my niece introduced me to your site recently and I am thoroughly enjoying it; keep up the good work! Reynolds makes liners for slow cookers that are PBA free and make clean-up a breeze!! Do you think they could also prevent lead leach?

    • This discussion is all over Google on blogs and forums, and they can’t come to a conclusion. Since my crock pots don’t have lead issues, I can’t come to a conclusion either. Sorry. :(

  23. Love my crockpot, but does anyone know if plastic crock pot LIDS might contain BPA ( bisphenol A ) ?

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