Scrap Metal Pots an Unrecognized Source of Lead Poisoning
Aluminum cookware made from scrap metal is widely used throughout the developing world. While the production of this cookware is an important source of income for local artisans—and in some cases has been supported by international donors as a way to promote recycling and entrepreneurship in the developing world—a recent study found that the lead released into food from cooking with these pots could be contributing to persistently high blood lead levels in Africa and Asia.
Researchers at Ashland University in Ohio and the nonprofit Occupational Knowledge International examined 42 pots from 10 developing countries, and found that more than one-third posed a lead exposure risk. The highest level was in Vietnam, where one pot released 2,800 times more lead than California’s maximum allowable dose level of 0.5 micrograms per day.