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Originally posted: April 14, 2019
Updated: March 6, 2020
Update – March 2020:
Since writing this post I have found at least two more high-Lead silicone spatulas. To see all of the spatulas that I have tested that have been positive for some level of Lead, click here.
Banana Yellow KitchenAid Brand Silicone Spatula
Here’s the story behind this particular spatula (which is now in my “Museum of Lead” collection!):
Sometime over the last couple of years I visited my friend “K,” and tested her family’s everyday household things for Lead and other toxicants (that’s a big part of what I do to help families who have concerns about Lead exposure). One thing I found at her house was a distinctive spatula – featuring an unusually-long, curved “banana-yellow”-colored blade, with a round wooden handle, just like this one (pictured above). The XRF instrument revealed it to have high Lead content.
When I was visiting with her it didn’t occur to me to ask her if I could have it to report on for my blog; however, about a week after our visit I called her and asked her what she did with it, and if she could possibly save it for me for my growing assortment of examples of “Leaded household products” I was starting to collect to share with other parents. She said she had already thrown it out — DARN!
Since then, I have tested – among the countless array of items in people’s kitchens – probably hundreds of spatulas…and I have not ever found high levels of Lead in any other silicone spatula (which is GOOD news, of course!) However, during testing parties I often tell the story of that friend’s distinctive banana-yellow spatula – the only spatula I have ever tested that was positive for high levels of Lead [I hadn’t recalled noticing a particular brand-marking at the time].
At a m0re recent testing party, I shared that story (as I have many times, as a cautionary anecdote) — and one of the mamas said that SHE had a spatula that she thought matched that description: round wooden handle; long curved rubber blade; “banana-yellow”! As luck would have it, I was scheduled to be in the area for a few more days, and so found an opportunity to visit her at her home later that week, and when she proudly produced her very own “banana-yellow” spatula it did indeed seem to be a dead ringer for that oddball one I had tested years ago! I realized at that moment that I was torn — hoping on the one hand that this woman’s spatula was negative for any toxicants, of course — but at the same time hoping I had stumbled upon another genuine specimen of the fabled outlier — the crazy banana-yellow spatula that tested positive for high levels of Lead! I tested her spatula and “WHAMMO!” — super-high Lead!
She graciously offered it to me for my collection, to photograph and to share with everyone on my blog!
To recap: this is the only color silicone spatula that I have ever tested that has been positive for Lead above a trace amount (and most silicone spatulas do not even have a trace amount of Lead.) Based on my now pretty vast spatula testing experience (lol), and my recollection of K.’s spatula, I think hers may have pretty likely been the same brand – and possibly even the exact same design from the same year (I will ask her).
As I scrutinized this one, I was just floored when I discovered this was a KitchenAid product! With their ongoing denial of the unsafe levels of Lead found in their mixer paddles – I was not surprised to find another KitchenAid product with Lead — but it just cements my concern for their brand as a whole – which people perceive as being “pedigreed” and “the ‘top-tier/ high-priced option’ — but worth it.” And so we learn (as with many other home products)… high-priced does not necessarily mean non-toxic!
Continue reading below for the full XRF test results for this particular spatula pictured here… and PLEASE write a letter of complaint to KitchenAid and ask them to change their attitude regarding manufacturing processes for kitchen products (past and present!) that needlessly include any amount of the potent human neurotoxicant, Lead <sheesh>!
Continue reading below the image.
When tested with an XRF instrument (for 60+ second reading) this yellow KitchenAid spatula (which the owner told me she purchased about 10 years ago – so c. 2009/2010)… had the following readings:
- Lead (Pb): 970 +/- 29 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 736 +/- 179 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 106 +/- 70 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 7 +/- 3 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 110 +/- 29 ppm
- Metals not listed were not detected by the XRF
The amount of Lead that is considered toxic in an item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm or higher in the paint or coating or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate. There is currently, in the U.S., no regulation limiting total Lead content (as detectable with an XRF instrument) for food-use spatulas (nor for any kitchenware for that matter). There should be.
Our restrictions for food use products should be AT LEAST as strict as our restrictions for products for children — after all, our children eat the food we make with these items.
For those of you who follow my blog, you know that this is NOT the first KitchenAid product I have found with Lead, at what I consider unsafe levels (levels I consider “unsafe” because they are not considered safe for children based on current regulatory standards for children’s items — which I think should be applied across the board.)
As always, please let me know if you have any questions. I hope you are as outraged by the absurdity of this as I am. After all, as repeatedly stated, theirs is literally the only example of a high-Lead-content kitchen spatula I have ever found.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
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Tamara Rubin is a Federal-award-winning independent advocate for consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. Tamara’s sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in August of 2005. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. This year , her work was also responsible for three CPSC product recalls — the Jumping Jumperoo recall (June, 2022); the Lead painted NUK baby bottle recall (July, 2022); and the Leaded Green Sprouts Insulated Stainless Steel Baby Bottles (November, 2022) — and she was recently featured in an NPR story about Lead in consumer goods (August, 2022); The Guardian (December, 2022); and an upcoming article in Consumer Reports (December, 2022). Tamara uses XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants (specifically heavy metals), including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Antimony, and Arsenic. All test results reported on this website are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Items are tested multiple times, to confirm the test results for each component tested and reported on. Please click through to this link to learn more about the testing methodology used for the test results discussed and reported on this website.