According to a press release published by the German risk assessment institute Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) on December 2, 2013, coffee and espresso makers may release lead in quantities exceeding the safe limit. The BfR assessed 3 portafilter, 3 coffee pad and 2 coffee capsule coffee makers. Overall, lead migration increased after decalcification. One portafilter coffee maker released lead at levels above or slightly below the regulatory limit of 10 µg/l throughout use. However, the BfR also found models of each coffee machine type with lead migration well below the regulatory limit, showing that controlling lead migration is technically possible. Lead exposure is of particular concern during pregnancy as lead may cross the placenta and cause neural damage to the fetus. In adults, lead affects blood pressure and the kidneys. As, according to the BfR, lead exposure in Germany already lies around the tolerable daily intake (TDI), the agency recommends consumers to follow the daily cleansing instructions of manufacturers and to repeat the cleaning procedure after decalcification.

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Federal Institute for Risk Evaluation (December 2, 2013). “Freisetzung von Blei aus Kaffee- und Espressomaschinen.(pdf, in German)