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Question from Terry

Hi Debra,

Do lead free door knobs exist?

Debra’s Answer

This is a very difficult question.

To answer this question thoroughly you would need to know:
* the types of doorknobs available
* the materials used to make each type

And then you would need to review each one and choose those that are not made with lead.

Alternatively, you could test each doorknob for lead using an XRF machine.

But neither of these methods are practical.

There are thousands of available doorknobs, and materials disclosure is not required by law.

One man tested all his doorknobs for lead using XRF. After finding out they all tested high, it turned our they were plated with nickel. “The XRF analyzer was seeing through this layer to the lead beneath. Likely this lead would never transfer to our hands, unless the nickel wears through.”

And even if the lead DID get on your hands lead does not go through skin into your body.

BUT if you were to touch a doorknob with lead and then you picked up a sandwich, the lead would get on the sandwich. If you then ate the sandwich, the lead on the sandwich would get into your body and you would have a lead exposure.

So that would be the exposure. You would touch something that contains lead, like a doorknob, then eat some fried chicken and lick your fingers and then you would be exposed to lead.

There’s a great website called “How Products are Made”, which gives the history, materials and manufacturing information on a wide variety of products we use every day. I looked up Doorknob. In the past, doorknobs were made from wood, glass, china, or bronze. Today more doorknobs are made of metal. The most common type of metal is brass. But we don’t touch the brass—doorknobs are coated with various inert metals and electroplated with semiprecious materials.

I could find only one article that expressed any concern about Lead in doorknobs:

And only one website that sells “Lead-free” door knobs. Even though one blogger stated, “lead-free door knobs are readily available,” I couldn’t find them anywhere else but here.

In the forty years I’ve been researching things toxic and toxic-free this is the first time it has come up as an issue. I always just buy whatever doorknobs I like. It’s not the greatest exposure to lead.

Wash your hands before you eat (as you should do anyway because of germs) and any lead your hands may have picked up along the way will be gone.


PureBodyx2-214x300We touch many doorknobs as we go throughout our day, so even if you found and installed lead-free doorknobs in your home, you would still be exposed to any lead that might be on other doorknobs beyond your control.

Once heavy metals enter your body, it is very difficult for your body to remove them.

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