Boston public health officials are advising residents to stop using certain aluminum cookpots, known as Afghan pressure cookers or Kazan pressure cookers, due to high levels of lead in the cookware.

The dangerous lead levels can lead to poisoning for anyone using the cookware or eating any food prepared in them, the commission said.

“These pressure cookers may be brought into the country by immigrating families or purchased locally at markets or online,” the commission said. “Online retailers such as Amazon and Etsy have been notified of the lead contamination of these products, but they are still available for sale online.”

The commission “advises anyone who owns this type of pressure cooker to stop using it and replace it with stainless steel cookware,” the statement said. “When shopping for a pressure cooker, be sure to purchase one made from stainless steel that has been made and regulated in the United States.”

The lead contamination was first discovered by health officials in King County, Washington, in 2019 after observing high lead levels in immigrant children, the commission said.

The Massachusetts Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is currently investigating a lead poisoning case where an imported pressure cooker is likely the source of that child’s exposure, the commission said.

“If you or a family member have used an aluminum Afghan Kazan pressure cooker, contact a health care provider to be screened for lead poisoning,” the commission said.

There is no safe level of lead in the human body. Children are particularly at risk for lead poisoning because of their small size and growing bodies, but adults can also be injured by lead exposure, the commission said. Lead poisoning can have serious and life-long impacts on a child as it harms the brain and nervous system as well as other organs in the body. This can slow growth and development, make it difficult to learn, damage hearing and speech, and cause behavioral problems.

In Massachusetts, children must be tested for lead at 9 to 12-months old, and ages two, three, and four if they live in a high-risk community, such as Boston, the commission said.

Public health officials advised to ask your child’s doctor about having a blood lead test done.

You can learn more about lead hazards and Boston Public Health Commission programs to address them by calling BPHC at 617-534-5965, by emailing leadpoisoning@bphc.org or by visiting the agency’s website.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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