Worried about Lead in Bone Broth? Don’t Be. But Do Take Care with the Source of your Broth

angry chickenEarly in 2013, a study out of the UK about lead in chicken broth ruffled a lot of feathers, and unfortunately is still scaring people away from broth.   The study, which appeared in the journal Medical Hypotheses, reported broth made form organic chickens was contaminated with lead, one of the deadliest toxic metals known.   

That was scary news, and if the study were valid, there would be plenty of reason for concern.   Lead, after all, is a neurotoxin that can cross the placenta and the blood-brain barrier.   It is associated with abnormal fetal development as well as a very long list of neurobehavioral disorders and diseases in children and adults, including ADHD, violence, social withdrawal, depression, substance abuse and Parkinson’s.

The study left a flock of unanswered questions starting with the type of cookware and the broth ingredients, and ending with a need for more details about the source of those “organic chickens,” the feed they were fed, the water they drank, whether they were “free range” or confined, where they were raised, and what were their living conditions.   All the article reported was they were “organic birds.”  Then, six months after the study was published, the researchers discovered the chickens were not “organic” after all, thus proving a whole lot of people had been alarmed unnecessarily.   In the meantime, we tested chicken and beef broth made from pastured chickens and cows raised at several locations in California and found undetectable levels of lead, even at five parts per billion.

The takeaway?  The lead/broth flap was a lot of clucked up nonsense.   But take care with the source of your broth.

For a more detailed analysis of the study and the laboratory analyses of broth made from pastured chickens and cows, read my articles here.

and here:


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  1. The link for the detailed analysis doesn’t seem to work. The broth tested from California sources; was it broth from bones using acv?

    • Yes, the broth was properly prepared using vinegar. Re the links, the first is to Amazon for the book, which is where I report the lab results. The second is for a longer version of thearticle at The Healthy Home Economist’s blog. Both seem to work when I click them. Thanks for visiting our site.

  2. I don’t have access to organic chicken for my broth due to it being cost prohibitive where I live. Do I need to worry about my broth then?

    • A good way to save money is to buy quality chickens is by buying inexpensive parts such as necks, backs, wings, drumsticks, all of which usually cost less per pound that a whole chicken. Do find a source of chicken feet. They are always inexpensive and are the key to a rich, gelatinous healing broth. Indeed some people make broth using the feet alone. And consider making beef, lamb and other broths too. Good luck.

      • Brenda Ossinger says:

        I am having a hard time finding chicken feet. Where do others find them? Unfortunately where I live there are no local pasture raised chickens (so I can’t ask any farmers). Thanks

      • I just bought ‘Nourishing Broth’ and was wondering about the chicken feet. We raise our own meat chickens and layers. I have never before known how beneficial the feet were! I’m wondering how to clean the feet sufficiently in order to feel safe in putting them into my food. I imagine myself scrubbing them well with a stiff brush, soaking them first… please help!

  3. Do you have a recipe for a good bone broth?

  4. Jakemjones says:

    Its funny that u say that secound link it your post when it is word for word a copy of the beggining of an article by weston a price on his website. Thats called. Copywriting and is against the law. Do your own research and publish your own thoughts, dont mimic someone elses!!

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