PSA: Unchromed La Peppina May Leach Lead

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zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » Mar 14, 2019, 7:52 am

After doing extensive searching on here and talking with people, I was unable to find any info on whether or not a la peppina that was missing its chrome would leach heavy metals into the coffee.

So I decided to go get the water tested.

It does not appear to meet European safety standards, but not in the way I thought.

*TLDR*: if you have a la peppina with chipped chrome on the parts that touch water, it could be worth testing your water to see if it's leaching lead. (If you care about that sort of thing)

Arsenic, which is what I was most worried about, was at 1.5µg/L compared to the European standard of 10µg/L. So no problems there.

However, lead came in at about 3x the European standard, clocking in at 29µg/L vs the standard of 10µg/L! This is not necessarily so surprising, as lead is indeed listed as a common zamak impurity, and it seems like that's what these machines are made of.

Aluminum is also a over the European standard, but I haven't yet been able to calculate the meaning of what they wrote. (They wrote 2,7e+3 and marked that it was over the standard of 200µg/L, but idk how to calculate that and google didn't help. If you know how to calculate that, please weigh in :) )

It's worth noting that this test was conducted on hot water that I ran through my machine; not on coffee that I actually extracted from it. So in theory, the coffee puck may hold on to some of these metals and stop them from getting into the puck. Hard to say. Maybe I'll extract a liter of espresso and bring that in to them to test. :P

It's also worth noting that I don't know how my standard tap water clocks in. It could be that my normal tap water is high in lead and that the machine's fine. I'll be bringing my tap water in next.

I'll update this post as I conduct additional tests.

Results (in Portuguese) can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j8aa2q6wy35z ... j6aoa?dl=0

Refs:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_ ... _standards
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zamak

Hope this is helpful for someone, some day.

~Zach

zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » Mar 14, 2019, 7:59 am

Reference images of my LP if anyone wants to compare to theirs: https://imgur.com/a/QcLay3D

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Alslaw

Postby Alslaw » Mar 14, 2019, 11:37 am

Thanks for your research on this one, Zach! I am curious to see the levels of the water going into the machine.

I may be incorrect, but I don't think any of the parts that touch the water are chromed ... they don't appear to be on my Peppina.

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baldheadracing

Postby baldheadracing » Mar 14, 2019, 12:26 pm

2.7E+3 = 2700

2700 ug/l !!!!! :shock: That's 2.7 mg/l

'Normal' tap water is about 0.1 mg/l in North America.

The FDA drinking water standard is (max.) 0.2 mg/l

Now, one isn't drinking a lot of volume of water from the Peppina so one could use the same justification as people do with lead levels in espresso machines made before the recent EU regulations on lead content in brass. YMMV.
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

Marcelnl

Postby Marcelnl » Mar 14, 2019, 12:33 pm

first question: how long was the water in the peppina boiler before testing?

second what was the unit behind the 2,7e3? 2.7e+3 is a scientific notation (read as 2.7 times 1 with the decimal after the third digit, so 1000) meaning 2700, which can be a lot or not depending on the unit behind it :wink: However, I'd assume the unit was ug/L, edit; looking at the results confirms units as ug/L

Think it indeed all starts with getting your water tested too and checking pH.

source WHO:
dissolved aluminium concentrations in waters with near-neutral pH values usually range from 0.001 to 0.05 mg/litre but rise to 0.5-1 mg/litre in more acidic waters or water rich in organic matter.


1mg/L is 1000ug so your Al results are real high.
LMWDP #483

zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » Mar 14, 2019, 1:21 pm

Alslaw wrote:Thanks for your research on this one, Zach! I am curious to see the levels of the water going into the machine.

I may be incorrect, but I don't think any of the parts that touch the water are chromed ... they don't appear to be on my Peppina.

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It may be that your coating got eaten away as well -- hard to know for sure since I've never actually seen a pic of what these things looked like in the boiler area when they were new. I'll post back once I get my results from my tap water. I was thinking I'd also do another test on the Peppina with distilled water running through it to try to better isolate the contaminant as definitely being the LP.

zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » Mar 14, 2019, 1:23 pm

baldheadracing wrote:2.7E+3 = 2700

2700 ug/l !!!!! :shock: That's 2.7 mg/l

'Normal' tap water is about 0.1 mg/l in North America.

The FDA drinking water standard is (max.) 0.2 mg/l

Now, one isn't drinking a lot of volume of water from the Peppina so one could use the same justification as people do with lead levels in espresso machines made before the recent EU regulations on lead content in brass. YMMV.


Jesus! That seems like rather a lot, lol. So over 10x the ideal amount, wow.

zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » Mar 14, 2019, 1:25 pm

Marcelnl wrote:first question: how long was the water in the peppina boiler before testing?

second what was the unit behind the 2,7e3? 2.7e+3 is a scientific notation (read as 2.7 times 1 with the decimal after the third digit, so 1000) meaning 2700, which can be a lot or not depending on the unit behind it :wink: However, I'd assume the unit was ug/L, edit; looking at the results confirms units as ug/L

Think it indeed all starts with getting your water tested too and checking pH.

source WHO:

1mg/L is 1000ug so your Al results are real high.


1. Almost no time. As I recall, I flushed the existing water out prior to conducting my test. But even then, that existing water would have been there only about a week or so max, as I'd been dialing in some beans (too afraid to drink the shots tho, haha) a few days or week or so prior to my water test.

2. Yes, it was ug/L

Marcelnl

Postby Marcelnl » Mar 14, 2019, 3:26 pm

I would start doing some testing of your water, including pH levels as that has a large impact on dissolving metals (don't think it's 'leaching' at those levels).

that PF looks like aluminium but what is the boiler made of and the cylinder/piston? (can check for magnetism)
LMWDP #483

zachswinehart

Postby zachswinehart » replying to Marcelnl » Mar 14, 2019, 6:13 pm

What's the difference between dissolving and leaching? Definitely not an expert here so not surprised to hear that I used the wrong term :-)

I have heard that the cylinder is zamak and the piston certainly looks like brass to me. Not sure what the top kettle is made out of, but the coating is still all intact anyway, so that's probably not the culprit.

Hadn't thought to check pH, but that makes sense. I'll make a note to do that