Stoneware Insert Coating? I am trying to find information on the stoneware insert. I'd like to know if it is lead-free, and whether or not it has been treated with any non-stick materials. Anyone done research on Crock-Pot inserts?
Lead is contained in the glaze of some stoneware. Target lists information about Prop. 65 warnings (under 'other info') for slow cookers that they carry; California's Prop. 65 warnings are considerably more stringent than the FDA standards for lead, but for young children, lead is a neurotoxin to be avoided to the extent possible (100% is not possible - it's in the soil, air, and water in relatively small amounts).
In looking over Target's slow cookers, I found Prop. 65 warnings on one manual Crock-Pot (a red, 4 quart non-programmable one, but oddly enough, not the same red, 2-quart one), a "double-dip" one-quart mini-Crockpot, both of the two West Bend slow cookers that they carry, all of the Bella Dots and the Ninja Searious slow cooker. Most of the slow cookers that Target sells didn't have warnings, including this model, Cook's illustrated's favorite (I looked at most, but not at all of them; I think I covered all of the Crock-Pots, which are the majority of their slow cookers). The absence of warnings doesn't mean the absence of lead, just that it's below California's level (which is considerably lower than the FDA regulated level). It doesn't mean that these can't be sold in California, just that the consumer must know by the label. For models not carried by Target, you need to contact the manufacturer - their websites typically say nothing about it. Some other info that I found specific to lead and slow cooker inserts was at <http://betterlivingnutrition.com/blnblog>, but I haven't found any place where you can readily find out info on lead for a large number of items at once.
Coatings are generally used for metal inserts to make them non-stick - they can be a problem if they get scratched and start to peel. This is a separate issue from lead.
FYI, since the late 1970's, the levels of lead measured in blood samples have declined about 80%, with the most serious sources of lead being (in the past) leaded gasoline and lead in food cans, both of which had lead levels reduced by over 99% when it was banned - lead in household paint and lead-based solder used in water pipes has also been banned. The CDC provides some historical perspective on this <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00032080.htm>.
Lead in dinnerware and to a much greater extent in fine (leaded) crystal may also be of interest/concern. Dinnerware made by reputable companies, even those made in China, is usually OK (meets FDA and California standards) because they have been testing them for about 25 years, and no retailer wants a Prop. 65 warning on their dinnerware (see <http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/eedition/chi-1021leadoct21,0,5980226,full.story>. Acidic substances such as wine in leaded crystal are the most likely to leach lead (and leaching is the issue, not how much is in the glaze - how the glaze is fired matters with respect to leaching). This article concludes that most dinnerware sold in the U.S. is safe, but that dinnerware bought abroad or from small ethnic shops selling improperly glazed dinnerware is more likely to be a problem.
And if you have young children and live near an airport which has small planes that use leaded aviation fuel (jets, like automobiles, don't use leaded gasoline), your exposure to lead may not be trivial - today, about half of the air pollution from lead is from this source.
i was concerned about this too. after doing some digging i found this:Jarden Consumer Solutions (JCS) continues to proactively test its products for lead and other toxic metals, with the results continuing to come back favorably. Lead is not an additive in the Crock Pot slow cooker ceramic glaze. JCS is diligent in its efforts to ensure that its products are compliant with applicable regulations regarding the presence of lead. http://www.terminalverbosity.com/2009/11/09/the-skinny-on-lead-in-crock-pots-it-may-surprise-you/ Thanks to the woman that spent time doing this. Interesting info
I'd also like to know whether it's been coated with anything. I wish manufacturers and sellers would explicitly state this info. Some customers want the coatings, and others don't, but it's so time-consuming to try to find out. I'd really like a stainless steel insert if anybody knows of one, because it's impossible to be sure there isn't lead or other contaminants in a stoneware insert.