Is lead in espresso machines an issue?

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oksako

#1: Post by oksako »

I recently thought about the brass boiler in the Lelit Elizabeth, since we decided to buy one. I think I will use rpavlis water and I am wondering if I should better stay away from those brass boilers (regardless of the water if the water is not the reason for lead).
However, looking inside the mara x (which was or still is the competitor during machine selection) I see a stainless boiler but also many brass pipes, is this any better?
Somehow this throws me back to the BDB which seems to have not so much brass in it (maybe a bit after brass opv mod)..

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Any espresso machine which is sold in the EU by a reputable manufacturer should meet the EU's requirements for metal content. These include restrictions on the amount of lead present. Whether that is a low enough level for your concerns is a personal decision.

As something of a side note, one of the reasons that machines have moved to stainless steel is that the cost of "lead-free" brass and the associated lot testing has made stainless steel more attractive economically than it was in the past.

oksako (original poster)

#3: Post by oksako (original poster) »

Jeff wrote: As something of a side note, one of the reasons that machines have moved to stainless steel is that the cost
Wondering why they used brass in the Elizabeth though. Is lead potential reduced by refilling with fresh water regularly?

oksako (original poster)

#4: Post by oksako (original poster) »

Anyone?

JRising
Team HB

#5: Post by JRising »

If you badly need an answer which may or may not be true, write to the manufacturer. What they claim for NSF regulations and lead content may be true. Test kits are available.

If you want the answers that circulate here, search the forum.

Copper tubing is not brass.

The brass fittings will potentially not have contact with water unless the compression fitting is leaking, and the water would be leaking out of the brew circuit, not into it.

Anyway, there's Anyone's opinion. Feel free to read the forums and form one, too.

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Kaffee Bitte

#6: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

If you live in the USA, chances are very high that you have already had a good amount of lead in your system. I wouldn't worry about the espresso machine as much as the millions of miles of lead pipes still in use throughout the US. And for those alive before unleaded gas it's going to be higher. There are endless degrading sources of lead out there
I grew up within 4 miles of one of the handful of lead smelters left in the world. Lots of testing back then. And yet my family never had elevated levels. That plant shut down about fifteen years ago.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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bean74

#7: Post by bean74 replying to Kaffee Bitte »

Also note that our lead standards are still evolving, with a substantial change in the standards as recently as 2014. If your house was built prior to that, or even close to that legislative cutoff, you have up to 8% lead in every brass ball valve, gate valve, and drop used in our domestic water plumbing. This was considered a safe level, as recent as the prior legislation in 2011.

Do note that lead dust, most often respirated from failing or sanded painted surfaces, is a very serious concern. But my personal understanding is that the risk to adults of lead leached into water from brass fittings (even the pre-2014 stuff at 8% lead content) is orders of magnitude lower. But I'm an engineer and not a doctor or biologist, so take my expertise at the price you paid for it.

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Portlandia

#8: Post by Portlandia »

Kaffee Bitte wrote:If you live in the USA, chances are very high that you have already had a good amount of lead in your system. I wouldn't worry about the espresso machine as much as the millions of miles of lead pipes still in use throughout the US. And for those alive before unleaded gas it's going to be higher. There are endless degrading sources of lead out there
I grew up within 4 miles of one of the handful of lead smelters left in the world. Lots of testing back then. And yet my family never had elevated levels. That plant shut down about fifteen years ago.

That's comforting!

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BaristaBoy E61

#9: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

Keep in mind that it's the dose that makes the poison.

I personally would not be concerned.

YMMV
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

mgwolf
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by mgwolf »

I would point out that "lead-free brass" (even in the EU) is actually "low lead" brass and is not completely lead-free.