Have you looked in your plastic kettle lately?
I happened to be in an elderly persons home recently where I offered to make them a cup of tea. The plastic kettle looked tired and weathered. A glance inside revealed that the plastic mesh that the water runs through as it is poured from the kettle was half disintegrated. You can guess where the disintegrated plastic bits have already gone.
Most of us are familiar with the importance of non-leaching cookware but often forget to transfer the same concern to our water kettle that is used many times a day for hot beverages, soup, porridge and even baby formula.
Similar to cookware, finding safer tea kettle alternatives is not easy. Below are some guidelines and 3 recommended kettles that are non-plastic and non-leaching.
HOW TOXIC IS MY KETTLE?
Are not recommended as they may leach endocrine disrupting chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) &/or Phthalates into your boiling water. Phthalates can leave a slight change of flavour or odour.
- A study conducted by researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and published in the journal Toxicology Letters identified that:
"Plastic water bottles release the toxic chemical bisphenol A at a rate 55 times greater when filled with boiling water than when filled with room temperature water”
If you're using a plastic kettle and you leave it full of boiling water after you have poured your cup… image what's happening to the remaining water in the kettle…
- When the description of the kettle says "All plastic components in direct contact with water are made BPA free" beware!! Current research show that common BPA replacements—BPS, BPF, BPAF and diphenyl sulphone—are as bad if not worse than BPA.
- If your glass or stainless steel kettle has a plastic lid – Beware! There is a tendency for the steam from the kettle to condense onto the plastic lid and drip back into the water making the water taste unpleasant.
- The majority of reviews on kettles made in China with no plastic inside found that they either break quickly or develop bad odours.
Are not recommended because aluminium is a neurotoxin. When aluminium enters the circulatory system, it can migrate to the brain and adversely affect the blood brain barrier. This is the important barrier which filters toxins from entering your brain. Studies report that aluminium leaching increased with increasing boiling time.
Are not recommended as copper can also be highly damaging to the brain. Copper can be toxic if leached from copper kettles through boiling. Kettles with a copper bottom for contact with the burner are fine, but you don’t want the inside of the pot to be made out of copper.
Cast Iron Kettles:
Are not recommended, cast iron is very durable however will constantly leach iron into the water. Iron is a pro-oxidant, which means loose atoms can cause oxidative damage to cells.
Enamelled Cast Iron Kettles:
Are not recommended. There is the risk of lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals which are sometimes found in the glaze. While almost all tea pots claim to be lead free, many people do not trust ceramic glazes made in China and for good reason, based on history. If in any doubt pick up a lead test kit from your local 'Lead Free' activist group, or contact us for details.
Are not recommended. Lead, a pervasive metal can be found in, and potentially leached from, ceramics, particularly into acidic foods and beverages. A recent study found "potential lead exposures from daily beverage consumption among typical consumers, relevant to a substantial portion of the population, with particular implications for pregnant women."
Enamelled/Colour Coated Kettles:
Are not recommended by our lead activist, Tamara Rubin. "The coatings are what contain most of the “nasties” because those toxic heavy metals are often what is used to achieve the brightest prettiest colours in a finished kitchenware product."
It's not just about what the kettle is made out of – the location of the heating element is critical !
Exposed Heating Elements:
If your heating element is exposed to the water you are boiling, it may be leaching nickel &/or lead into your water. Nicole Bijlsma, author of "Healthy Home Healthy Family -Is Where You Live Affecting Your Health?" has reviewed several studies on the leaching of nickel, chromium and lead from kettles where the elements are directly exposed to the water. She recommends:
- Avoid kettles where the heating coil is exposed to the water as it may leach nickel into your water
- Avoid brass fittings and lead solder that make contact with water as it may leach lead and heavy metals into the water
- Avoid plastics kettles and plastic parts in the kettle
Lead Exposure – Infants and Allergy Suffers
Lead exposure from electric kettles may be a significant problem only in infants receiving formula prepared with boiled water.
USA consumers suffering allergic reaction to nickel have been advised by the food standards agency and drinking water inspectorate not to buy new kettles with exposed elements. Most victims are thought to be women who react to nickel-coated jewellery where further exposure for those already sensitive to nickel, may worsen their skin reaction.
More kettles are switching to covered elements, usually in the base of kettles. However, there is often plastic in the jug design.
Same guidelines apply to tea pots!
Non-leaching kettles – what are they made of?
You should be looking for kettles that are BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead-free, iron-free, nickel-free, chromium-free and non-leaching. Can this list get any longer?
Stick with high quality stainless steel and clear glass, they are naturally free of BPA, phthalates, and other similar chemicals. Select a kettle with either:
- No heating element in kettle, the kettle that is used on a stove top, or
- A hidden heating element – Electric kettle ensuring there are no plastic parts or heating elements exposed to your water. When we use a heating element placed inside the liquid, the chances of unwanted risks may arise.
Stainless Steel Kettle:
Recommended. Stainless steel is made of iron and is stabilized with the addition of nickel and chromium. This creates a neutral, non-oxidizing surface of inert metals. Stainless steel is highly resistant to rust and corrosion, so it won’t end up in your drink. Stainless Steal does not contain aluminium or copper.
- A high-quality stainless steel is labelled 18/10 meaning it consists of 18% chromium and 10% nickel.
- If you are allergic to nickel, you could try a stainless ratio with less or no nickel or avoid stainless steel. Note: 18/0 is more corrosive and will rust – if scratched you must throw it out .
Recommended. A safer alternative to metal and plastic kettles and avoids the associated problems of metallic taste, rusting and leaching of metals and chemicals etc. Ensure you get a high quality, lead-free and heat resistant glass that will not seep toxins into your water no matter how long you use it for boiling.
NOTE: Tamara Rubin, our lead activist highlights that you need to be wary of any painted exterior markings on modern clear glass kettles. Those markings often test very high 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. Especially given the nature of a stove-top tea kettle that is going from hot to cold to hot to cold… the mere (imperceptible) expansion and contraction due to temperature will usually cause this paint to chip and wear into your kitchen environment.
- Avoid plastic, aluminium and copper kettles.
- Avoid kettles where the heating coil is exposed to the water.
- Avoid brass fittings and lead solder that make contact with water.
- Use stainless steel and glass kettles with covered elements.
- The kettle should be free of plastic parts. If it does have some plastic parts, they should have no contact with water.
WHERE CAN I BUY A NON-LEACHING KETTLE?
Q. What kettles are non-leaching? A. Plastic free stove top and electric kettles made from either stainless steel &/or borosilicate glass with a concealed element.
Finding non-toxic kettles has not been an easy task!
It's been exceptionally difficult finding kettles that fit all the requirements.
- are plastic free – no plastic spout, water measurement thingy or lid, and
- have no or a concealed heating element, and
- have consistently good reviews
Many initially looked good but had a sneaky plastic lid or water measure tube or many reviews saying the product broke after a few months. Even the 'other blogs' listing a number non-toxic kettles didn't meet the criteria we set.
To the best of our knowledge the three kettles recommended below do.
I've provided amazon links to ensure I can offer a link to our users in Australia, USA and the UK. If you like one of the recommended products and you are not an amazon fan, feel free to source from local retailers. Where possible I have also linked to the the company website although not all have online stores.
1. Stainless Steel Sori Yanagi Kettle (Stove Top)
If you want a high-quality tea kettle that’s not made in China, fabricated with stainless steel, and doesn’t have a whistle, then the Sori Yanagi tea pot is an ideal choice.
The award-winning Sori Yanagi stainless steel tea kettle was launched in 1994. It’s made in Japan and almost entirely by hand. It’s manufactured in the Niigata region, which is known the world over for their high quality stainless steel craftsmanship.
Because it’s made and primarily sold in Japan, much of the packaging is in Japanese. However, you don’t need to know the language to understand the fine quality; the kettle and spout are a single forged piece of 304 stainless steel, which is also known as 18-8 grade. (18% chromium 8% nickle)
- The Sori Yanagi kettle is plastic free and has no heating element
- It holds up to 2.5 liters of water, approx 84 ounces.That’s enough to make nearly a dozen standard-sized English cups of tea.
- When filled half to two-thirds, the pot still boils water fast.
- Works on both electric burners and a gas stove top. With both, the water boils in just a couple minutes.
- Given that the Yanagi is a non-whistling tea kettle, you will have to keep an eye on it. It doesn’t make a sound though you will see steam coming out of the spout.
- The handle stays cool and with gentle pressure, it can swivel from side to side. This makes it ideal for right and left handers.
- Because its made of stainless steel, the Sori Yanagi kettle works on induction cooktops. The iron and nickel in steel is magnetic, which is perfect for induction cooking.
2. Trendglas JENA Innovative Glass Kettle – Borosilicate Glass (Stove Top)
- Suitable for all Stove Types
- Removable Lids
You will love these wonderful Trendglas JENA German glass stove top water kettles! Made from premium quality made of lightweight heat resistant borosilicate glass 3.3., heat resistant, odourless, tasteless, allergy safe*
Trendglas JENA is one of the biggest and most efficient manufacturers of heat-resistant glass in Europe. Their glass products:
- The Trendglas JENA Heat Resistant Borosilicate 3.3 German Glass Kettle is plastic free and has no heating element
- It is heat resistant (up to 450°C/842°F), suitable for use in microwave, microwave grill, dishwasher and stove
- are suitable for healthy and safe food preparation
- are easy to clean and hygienic in use through the pore-free surface
- offer a variety of application possibilities: baking and cooking, preparing and serving, cooling and freezing (down to -35°C/-31°F)
- show a high resistance to sudden temperature changes with a temperature difference of 140°C/284°F (three times as high as normal glass or lead crystal glass)
- are manufactured from clear borosilicate glass which is free of smell and flavour, does not discolour and shows high chemical and mechanical resistance
- do not give off any substances and are therefore suitable for allergy sufferers
- come in superior and functional product design for an optimal preparation of beverages and meals
Use directly on the stove to quickly and beautifully boil water for your organic teas or organic coffees. Features glass handle with two choices of removable lids: stainless steel or glass lid and optional removable glass infuser for brewing loose herb. Great choice for chemically sensitive customers.
Manufactured in Hungary and exported to 52 countries
3. Precise Heat Electric Water Kettle
- A Vintage look with modern functions
- Heavy-gauge stainless steel electric water kettle with 1.6 quart /1.5 litre capacity
- Surgical grade stainless steel is more corrosive resistant then regular stainless steel
- Heating element is concealed below the stainless steel bottom
- Water level marks are imprinted in the metal
- No plastic parts are in contact water
- The body of the kettle and top does get hot
- Features a mirror finish & phenolic handle
- Removable base with power cord storage, and boil-dry protection
- Measures 9-1/2" x 6-3/8" x 10" including base
- UL certification with a limited 5 year warranty
BUY Precise Heat Electric Water Kettle USA | Not Avail in AUST or UK
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BUY Precise Heat Electric Water Kettle USA | Not Avail in AUST or UK
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