Important background points to understand:
- XRF testing is entirely distinct from leach testing.
- XRF test results are not somehow magically negated by leach testing results.
- If a product passes leach testing for metals, that does not somehow magically mean it is “metals-free”; it only means that it passes leach testing for metals at the time of manufacture (or at the time was tested.)
For Context: My original posts with my findings of metals in Xtrema products:
- Here is the original post about these Ceramcor / Xtrema / Mercola pans having Lead from June 9, 2017 – there are more than 140 comments — and the comment thread is actually quite entertaining, so you might like to sit down in a cozy spot with a glass of wine to read that one.
- Here’s a follow-up post from August 2018 in which I shared the full metals breakdown (as detectable with an XRF) for these Xtrema Ceramcor Mercola pots and pans.Metals found included: Lead, Barium, Selenium, Vanadium, Titanium, Tin, Cadmium, Cobalt, Iron, Nickel, Chromium, Bismuth, Magnesium, and Zinc.
- Click here for a summary post about the 14 specific metals found – including which were found in the bare ceramic substrate and which were found the black glazed surface.This post clearly explains how it can be reasonably deduced that many of the metals are a significant added ingredient in the glaze and not some alleged “naturally occurring” artifact of the base ceramic — as Xtrema claims.
These posts above ^^^ also discuss at length WHY it is a problem that these pans are positive for metals. The considerations I bring up in the posts linked above are concerns that go beyond whether or not a product passes or fails leach testing – focusing also on the greater environmental impacts of producing products that contain toxicants like heavy metals. The work I do has never been (and will likely never be) about merely determining whether a product passes leach testing.
My work (in the consumer goods arena) is only ever about discovering and disclosing neurotoxic metals detected in consumer goods using XRF technology — so that consumers can have unbiased information (without corporate influence) to use as a basis for making educated choices about what they bring into their homes (taking into account all of the potential environmental impacts of the product throughout its life – from mining to manufacturing reliant on global supply chains to distribution through end-of-life disposal or recycling/reclamation handling — not simply the question of direct immediate impacts of the finished product on the end user and their family.)
Below (at the bottom of this post) is an internal memo (three full pages, leaked to me by an anonymous source) that Ceramcor / Xtrema (pots and pans – also branded by Mercola) sent out yesterday (May 24, 2019) to their affiliate distributors (primarily wellness and cooking bloggers as I understand it) in an attempt to discredit my work because I found Lead in their pots and pans that they have historically sold and heavily marketed as “Lead Free” and “Metals Free”.
They apparently wrote this to try to convince their resellers that my research was incorrect or not science based (to – I guess – try to reassure their resellers that they had not been sucked in to their campaign of false advertising – blatantly selling pans as “metals-free” over the past several years [decade or more?] – when in fact since at least my communications with the manufacturer in 2017, they have known the pans have repeatedly tested positive for more than a dozen metals when tested with an XRF instrument.)
I am sharing this letter Xtrema wrote (below) with you, my readers, today so you can do me the honor (a bit of a favor if you will) of commenting on this post with all of the argumentation explaining why his letter makes no sense. [I know you know the answers and will have reactions!]
If I have a moment later this weekend I may do a point-by-point rebuttal myself (I have my hands full with my kiddos at the moment)… but in the meantime I just have to say thank you to all of the bloggers who have STOPPED selling his “Lead-Free” / “Metals-Free” products since I discovered they test positive for Lead and other metals (using XRF technology, which is a completely valid and accurate scientific testing methodology.)
Bloggers still selling this product and advertising it as Lead Free or Metals Free and therefore bloggers who have been discredited in my opinion in the area of knowledge around Lead and heavy metals toxicity concerns include:
- Wellness Mama (link to her post selling these pans) Here are some screen shots from Wellness Mama’s site (still up as of 5/25/19) as well:
- Debra Lynn Dadd (here’s a link to her post selling Ceramcor) – I must say I have been truly disappointed in her stance on this and some other lead concerns given she generally is level headed and science-based about this issue. Here is a screenshot from her post as well (still up as of 5/25/19) :
Other bloggers reselling these pans, bloggers who appear to understand (based on what they have been told by the manufacturer) that the pans are metals free and who are (often) using that as a selling point in the product reviews for their readers include:
- And another: https://eatwellplease.com/review-xtrema-cookware-ceramcor/
- And another: https://greenopedia.com/xtrema-ceramic-cookware/
- And another: https://mariamindbodyhealth.com/ceramcor-cookware/
- And another (with another screenshot below from this one): https://www.deliciousobsessions.com/2014/04/xtrema-ceramic-cookware-review/(still up as of 5/25/19)
What to do if you are a blogger who has been selling Ceramcor / Xtrema thinking they are metals free:
Bloggers selling his product can correct the problem and set the record straight (and stop enabling/engaging in false advertising) by simply doing the following:
- Remove your product reviews with claims that these products are “metals-free” or “Lead-free” (or simply remove any “metals-free” or “Lead-free” language from these reviews.)
- Write a quick apology post to your readers saying you were misled by the manufacturer – believing (based on his statements) that these products do not contain heavy metals – when, in fact, they do.
- Feel free to emphasize that the manufacturer had apparently confused the scientific distinctions “non-leaching for Lead” and “Lead-free” (and “non-leaching for metals” vs. “metals free”) and it is your understanding that while the pans are non-leaching at the time of manufacture (based on testing provided by the manufacturer) they are not actually “metals-free”.
- If you are one of these bloggers and need help with that communication, please let me know – I would be happy to help you draft something for your readers that will explain the situation.
Lastly, I have been discussing the possibility of a class-action lawsuit against the company (with an attorney who approached me, who handles this sort of thing.) If you are possibly interested in participating in that, please subscribe to my newsletter (so you get any updates about that) and also send me an e-mail noting your interest in participating. TamaraRubin@mac.com.
All Ceramcor / Xtrema needs to do:
While (as of today 5/25/19 – when I just popped over to their site) it looks like the company has removed much of the “Metals-Free” and “Lead-Free” claims from their website (and changed a lot of the language to just specify “non-leaching” – which is a better statement and likely more correctly describes their product) there are still statements on the site that the product “contains no metal, cadmium, lead” (see screenshot at the top of this post) and their affiliates are still actively selling their products (and have old blogs with the previous language) with the assertion that they are “Metals-Free” and “Lead-Free”, as they may not understand that Xtrema/Ceramcor has shifted their language (fairly recently it looks like) on the topic.
So what is left to do for Ceramcor:
- Stop advertising the products as Lead-free and Metals-free (which may have already been done)
- Remove all language from your site that alleges the products are metals-free or lead-free.
- Make sure you communicate with your resellers clearly alerting them that in fact your pans do contain heavy metals (specifically including Lead and Cadmium) and at fairly high levels in some components of the pans, and that they should change the language in their blog posts accordingly.
- Issue refunds to any customers who bought them because they thought they were metals-free.
- Issue a public apology to anyone who bought them (or sold them) expressly because they thought they were metals-free.
- Remove the metals from your pans! 😉 – but still go ahead with points 3, 4, and 5 above to account for previous sales.
The fundamental concern with these Xtrema / Ceramcor / Mercola pans:
- The company has historically claimed the products are “metals-free”
- The company has enlisted bloggers as resellers with a foundation of the relationship being the understanding that the products are metals-free. The company used this alleged feature as an important promise (a unique selling proposition) – distinguishing their product from other pots and pans.
- Xtrema then used the reputations and readership base of any affiliate / reseller bloggers (and most important, the important culture of trust bloggers have established with their readers) to sell their products.
- The products (simply put) are definitely not “metals free”, and apparently never have been.
- This has been false advertising — at least since 2017, when they learned of my findings and chose to do almost nothing in response (in terms of possible options like: alerting their customers of the problem, changing the formulation of their products, changing their marketing or language about the products, or issuing refunds or recalls on the products.)
It’s not a question about leaching or not leaching (or bio-availability) of metals.
The big concern right now is a simple question of truth-in-advertising (or the lack thereof) and doing the responsible thing in cleaning up a mess over current / previous / historic communications that have given customers (and bloggers) the wrong impression about the Xtrema products.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.