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Country Discussion Topics
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Lead Exposure in Meat Grinders
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Sheila Young    Posted 12-12-2002 at 06:59:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We all know about the antique meat grinders our parents used (or may still do). But, are they safe? I recently had someone to tell me that their child was exposed to lead poisoning because of the meat being ground in these antiquated machines. Is it fact or fiction? It is likely that parts of the grinder may be made out of lead or has been soldered, but is that enough to harm someone by ingesting the ground meat? And does that dissipate after the meat has been cooked?

TB    Posted 12-12-2002 at 08:30:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just had our old No 32 out and it has brass bushings not babbit . And still works good. Now if thay had babbit bushings it might be somthing to worry about. I dont ever rember of seeing any that way, and I usually looks at the barrings when I look things over. Some were just machined to the right size. It 's good to look them over when you get them out.

DeadCarp    Posted 12-12-2002 at 07:34:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
I've never seen any lead parts OR soldering on a meat grinder - they're always plated - nickel i think.
You can still get lead solder in the hardware store - (it melts a hair sooner and sticks pipes together better than the safe stuff) so chances are, if these IS a threat, society is getting more lead from water pipes than anywhere else. There's even lead in that fancy bottled water. Why pay $1/quart for something when you can condemn your family for pennies/100 gal?
Be careful preparing big fish though - they store and concentrate pollutants in that dark strip along the sides under the skin. Bottom feeders, sharks, catfish, bass and carp are especially good at gathering/filtering/storing inedibles.

Red Dave    Posted 12-12-2002 at 07:20:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
I hadn't heard about lead exposure in meat grinders before, but I have heard of some surprising lead sources.
What is the grinder made of? Some cast iron does have a small percentage of lead content. It was often added to make machining it easier. Many coatings and finishes commonly used years ago contained lead too.
If any part that contacts the meat was soldered, it very well may be the source.
Once it is contaminated, it is contaminated forever, it can't be cooked out.
A laboratory could test the grinder to determine lead content, but it may be as cheap to just replace it.
Children are more susceptible to lead poisioning because they have smaller bodies and their organs are not as developed as adults. Because lead can interfere with the development of some organs, lead poisioning is a far more serious thing in children too.
Don't take a chance with it.
One of the many hats I wear at work is lead risk assesment.

ol Henry    Posted 12-12-2002 at 07:19:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't think they had any lead in them, the coating that they put on them to prevent rust was tin as far as I know.Have never heard anything about lead being used in any way. I have an old one and still use it sometimes.

ger    Posted 12-12-2002 at 07:09:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
i don,t think cooking would dissipate the lead sheila, and as always the smaller the person the more he or would probably be affected by it. there a town about 200 miles west of me the has i think the worlds largest lead smelter an a few years ago it was found that all the people there had really high concreations of lead in them but the kids had the highest they were even getting it from the air an dirt that they played in at school

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