Tea and coffee-makers across Britain are reporting that their new kettles are giving off a foul smell and producing 'undrinkable' water.
Complaints to consumer group Which? first started coming in about the £25 Russell Hobbs Ebony kettle, which users said was producing water that stank of chemicals.
"One of those who contacted us told us that they had tried reboiling and rinsing it several times, but the plastic flavour wouldn't go away," says senior home researcher Matt Clear.
But after confirming that there really was a problem, a Which? test team was unable to discover the reason. "Our white-coated wizards tested it for lots of different chemicals but couldn't come up with an answer," says Clear.
And it seems the problem isn't restricted to the Russell Hobbs kettle.
"I have recently purchased kettles by Breville, Russell Hobbs (Buckingham), De Longhi and Next," writes one Which? member.
"I have tried to buy kettles with as little plastic in as possible as I thought that might be causing the problem - although most kettles seem to have some plastic in them - but each time I have had the same problem with a horrible chemical taste and smell."
Customers say they've tried everything they can think of to eliminate the smell, including boiling up bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and vinegar - but all to no avail.
"I have never quite been able to get rid of the metallic taste," says one. "I've tried boiling bicarbonate of soda and leaving it overnight and using lemon juice. This made a reasonable difference but it doesn't seem to have been a lasting fix and that metallic taste is still discernible."
Some say the problem is minimised by using fresh water every time, and by rinsing the kettle out between uses.
Russell Hobbs says it tests its products thoroughly, with safety its main concern. It apologises to anyone affected, who it says should contact its customer services team.
Meanwhile, Which? is asking people to boil up water in their kettle and a saucepan to compare the results, and let their team know here how they get on.
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