Published: June 14, 2019
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.
KitchenAid Persistently Manufactures Leaded Products
This is 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.
What should we (as consumers) do about this?
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?)
To learn more about XRF testing, click here.
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.
Owner – Lead Safe Mama, LLC
Cheryll bennet says
Thank you for letting us know, I won’t buy kitchenaid. I’m wondering now about the vinyl coated racks in dishwashers…. It’s so unfortunate that we as consumers have to be the ones to do the detective work on product safety just because companies take no responsibility for the health risks of their products. It really encourages one to become a minimalist/anti consumer if one weren’t to begin with.
Jennifer Tsacoumangos says
My husband is saying that there is no problem with this fridge unless you chip the paint? Is that so how can I argue this point with him?
Nicole Planchon says
Yikes. I have a c.1999 Kenmore Fridge that came with the house. Ever tested a Kenmore?
No I have not tested a Kenmore that I can recall.
Juhlie Curatolo says
Do you think that a swab test would be able to detect this? My father-in-law has a fridge similar to this one and I would like to test his.
Would 3M lead check swabs work on fridge paint? Tested one today — no color change. Thanks!
Carolyn J Danford says
have kitchen Aid Superba and the middle where both doors close has become very HOT
Joseph T says
Just had the same problem on mine. Your condenser fan isn’t working. It is probably making your refrigerator run longer/more often than normal too. And can also cause premature failure of the compressor if it isn’t fixed. Replaced mine in about 10 minutes after getting the fan.
Hi Tamara –
I did a websearch on the my mother’s Kitchenaid Superba because of the eroded enamel on the Interior and found this article – the interior reminds me of a worn down enamel clawfoot tub interior… do you have numbers for that?
Thanks – ellen bennett
I am sorry – i was referring to the Superba dishwasher, not refrigerator….
Sincerely, e b
Camille B says
Is the Kitchen Aid Pro 5 Plus Blender toxic? I believe it has a stainless steel bowl.
Thank you SO MUCH for what you do!! I’m so grateful!
Nyssa Lanzafame says
Ugh! I had this fridge when we first moved in. The kids claimed the fridge was going to kill them, even after a professional cleaner spent days cleaning it and then my mom spent a day cleaning (the house had renters prior). And so we only had it for a short while, so I guess the kids were right! BUT I still have the matching TOL double oven (renters did not cook much- it’s in great shape)! The doors are white glass front, but the handles are some sort of plastic! I could maybe make a cloth wrap for the handle? It’s an oven…but it’s on the outside, and as I cannot afford a new dbl oven this may be my best option? Have you ever tested the enamel in an oven? Oh gads!!