Health: Prevent lead in espresso machines

Federal Institute for Risk Assessment Shows Increased Release of Lead in Espresso Machines According to


Increased lead intake is associated with significant health risks, including lead poisoning. The European Food Safety Authority( EFSA) has significantly reduced the limits for drinking water and, from the first of December, stricter legal requirements apply in view of possible health problems that may already be associated with low intakes. However, according to research by the news magazine "Der Spiegel", an as yet unimaginable risk is evidently provided by espresso machines. Here, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment( BfR) has found in a recent investigation, significant exceedances of the limit.

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Per liter of water, no more than 0.01 milligram of lead may be present in the future, according to the Federal Ministry of Health's announcement. Since the values ​​in lead lines are generally higher, "lead pipes are virtually useless as drinking water pipes," explained the President of the Federal Environment Agency( UBA), Jochen Flasbarth. If the lead limit value is exceeded, the health authority can oblige the water supplier or the landlord to eliminate the contamination, which in fact usually requires a complete replacement of the lead tubes. Although it can be assumed that the new limit values ​​lead intake via drinking water will continue to decline in the future. However, BfR has now identified the espresso machines, which are now also quite common in Germany, in the form of so-called portafilter machines as a new source of contamination.

Two out of three machines release lead
In the BfR study, two out of three tested portafilter machines were negative due to their high lead release, according to Der Spiegel. The technical judge value was exceeded by 100 times. In particular, immediately after the decalcification, the lead levy was particularly high, but even days later, the concentrations were still five times the limit, reports the news magazine. Due to the acidic descaling agent, the lead is probably dissolved out of individual machine parts. In the interest of consumer safety, the release of lead must be minimized, so the appeal of the BfR to the manufacturers of espresso machines. Given the effect of lead as a nerve and blood poison, increased sensitivity of the manufacturers seems urgently needed here. Especially since the lead according to the Federal Ministry of Health message "accumulate in the body and especially affect the child's development of the nervous system." Especially pregnant women, the unborn, infants and toddlers rely on preventive protection. Regardless of the discussion about the release of lead by espresso machines, according to the Federal Ministry of Health, "care should be taken to ensure that the water has not been in the lines for too long( over four hours) to drink or prepare food." Was the tapNot in use for a long time, the water should be allowed to run for a short time "until it comes out of the pipe in a consistently cool condition," the Ministry said.(fp)

Image: Maik Bolbeth /

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