Crock-Pots. Countless people will tell you they're the greatest invention since sliced bread, and who can argue with them?
With this convenient kitchen appliance, the possibilities are basically endless when it comes to all the delicious meals you can make for yourself and your family. But while there's no shortage of slow cooker fans, there is one worry plaguing the minds of many who use them -- do Crock-Pots cause lead poisoning?
According to Megan McSeveney, a spokesperson for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency does test ceramic food containers for lead at random "based on some positive findings of extractable lead and cadmium from the glaze used in making ceramic ware over a number of years."
Ceramic cookware gets that shiny appearance from being coated in glaze and then baked in a kiln. Some of these glazes contain lead, which can leach into food. Other ceramics like mugs can also leach lead, especially when they're filled with acidic drinks like coffee.
But if you have a Crock-Pot brand slow cooker, don't worry -- they aren't on the FDA's list of products that have tested positive for lead contamination. Thankfully, many producers of ceramic cookware are now using lead-free glazes. However, that doesn't mean all ceramics are in the clear.
You can protect yourself from lead poisoning by reading the labels on all your ceramics (especially handmade and older items) to check whether they're safe for food and drinks. You can also find home lead testing kits online or at your nearest hardware store. Additionally, NPR suggests making sure your kids are getting enough calcium, as this can decrease the rate of lead absorption.