High Lead Levels Found in Aluminum Cookers
BOSTON – May 16, 2023 – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) has issued a public health advisory related to the danger of lead exposure from the use of certain traditional aluminum cookpots, known as Afghan pressure cookers or Kazan pressure cookers.
The lead contamination was first discovered by health officials in King County, Washington, in 2019 after observing high lead levels in immigrant children. The lead levels can lead to poisoning for anyone using the cookware or eating any food prepared in them.
These pressure cookers may be brought into the country by immigrating families or purchased locally at markets or online. Online retailers such as Amazon and Etsy have been notified of the lead contamination of these products, but they are still available for sale online.
The Boston Public Health Commission advises anyone who owns this type of pressure cooker to stop using it and replace it with stainless steel cookware. When shopping for a pressure cooker, be sure to purchase one made from stainless steel that has been made and regulated in the United States.
The Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is currently investigating a lead poisoning case where an imported pressure cooker is likely the source of that child’s exposure.
If you or a family member have used an aluminum Afghan Kazan pressure cooker, contact a health care provider to be screened for lead poisoning.
There is no safe level of lead in the human body. Children are particularly at risk for lead poisoning because of their small size and growing bodies, but adults can also be injured by lead exposure. Lead poisoning can have serious and life-long impacts on a child as it harms the brain and nervous system as well as other organs in the body. This can slow growth and development, make it difficult to learn, damage hearing and speech, and cause behavioral problems.
In Massachusetts, children must be tested for lead at 9 to 12-months old, and ages two, three, and four if they live in a high-risk community, such as Boston. Ask your child’s doctor about having a blood lead test done. You can learn more about lead hazards and Boston Public Health Commission programs to address them at https://www.boston.gov/bphc-environment, by calling BPHC at 617-534-5965, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.