Pollet bill reducing lead in cookware heading to the governor’s desk.

OLYMPIA – Lead causes serious social-emotional, developmental and cognitive harm in children. It also damages the emotional, cognitive and medical health of adults. House Bill 1551, sponsored by Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, protects families by putting stringent limits on lead in cookware. 

The bill was introduced after it was found that more than 40% percent of certain groups of immigrant children were found by the Seattle/King County Public Health and Hazardous Waste Program to have high levels of lead in their bodies. This was especially prevalent in the Afghan immigrant community. These instances of poisoning were traced to pots, pans and pressure cookers sold with extremely high levels of lead.  These products continue to be marketed to families in Washington. 

“There are no safe levels of lead contamination. We need to reduce our families’ exposure. We should be able to enjoy family meals without the worry that our cookware is poisoning us,” said Pollet. “The effects of lead poisoning are profound and often irreversible. I have long fought to reduce lead contamination. Sending this important legislation to the governor’s desk is the next important step in this ongoing effort.” 

House Bill 1551 prohibits the manufacture, distribution and sale of cookware containing lead levels over 5 parts per million (ppm). The legislation also gives the Department of Ecology the authority to determine if products with levels less than 5 ppm are necessary and feasible to protect the health of consumers. Finally, it creates a fine structure, so manufacturers are held accountable. 

House Bill 1551 passed both chambers unanimously.