I think this is one of my most disturbing recent finds…
For context, today (in 2019) the amount of Lead (as detectable with an XRF instrument) that is considered unsafe in items made for use by children is 90 ppm Lead (or higher) in the surface paint, finish or coating or 100 ppm Lead (or higher) in the substrate.
Back when this KitchenAid Superba Refrigerator was made (maybe 1997?), there was no similar regulation for items intended for use by children – but even if there had been, that would not have mattered anyway, because the CPSC does not consider a fridge to be “an item intended for use by children”. [Can you say #RegulatoryLoopholes?]
Note: The owner of this fridge told me she thought this was from the 1980s, but it looks like it might be a 1997 fridge based on the markings on the sticker on the inside (see photo below & continue reading below photo.)
Regardless of the exact year of manufacture (and regardless of the lack of regulations at the time it was made), this particular vintage fridge tested positive for a very high level of Lead in the outside vinyl coating, and (as you can see from the pictures), was still in regular daily use when tested recently (in 2019 in a home where a child was suffering from “unexplained” health issues.)
There is no obligation for companies like KitchenAid to recall vintage appliances (or other products) – even those that may still be in daily use for food use applications in our homes.
This is also not an isolated incident — this is not the first KitchenAid item I have tested that has been positive for high levels of Lead. Many of their products (both new and old) have been positive for unsafe levels of Lead when tested with an XRF instrument (unsafe when compared to the current regulatory standards imposed on modern items manufactured with the intention of being used by children.) This is why I titled this post “KitchenAid is developing a bit of a reputation.” No matter how much they deny that there is Lead in some of their products, their denial is simply unfounded corporate “spin”. To see more KitchenAid items I have tested for Lead (along with their exact XRF detectable Lead levels), click here.
Do you think KitchenAid should be held responsible for Lead found in their vintage products that are still in use today? How about their more modern products that have tested positive for unsafe levels of Lead (but are not considered to be “intended for use by children” and – as such – not regulated for limits of total XRF detectable Lead?)
Please comment on this post with your thoughts – and I will be sure to share this post with KitchenAid (and if they respond I will link their response here.)
The exact XRF readings for the exterior of this fridge were as follows:
- Lead (Pb): 1,646 +/- 135 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): Non-Detect
- Mercury (Hg): Non-Detect
- Barium (Ba): Non-Detect
- Chromium (Cr): Non-Detect
- Antimony (Sb): Non-Detect
- Selenium (Se): Non-Detect
- Zinc (Zn): 10,400 +/- 500 ppm
Do you have a fridge like this at home? If so it might be time for a new one! Stainless steel finish is usually a good [non-toxic] option for a finish for your appliances!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.