Introduction (for those new to this website):
Tamara Rubin is an independent advocate for consumer goods safety. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. 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. Tamara uses high-precision XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for metallic toxicants, including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, and Arsenic.
Lead and Cadmium do not belong in our food prep utensils.
I don’t have too much more to say about that. It’s a pretty simple idea. As consumers, we should be able to expect that when we buy new food-use products (dishes, utensils, pots & pans) that they do not contain ANY amount of toxic heavy metals. Unfortunately, in the current U.S. regulatory climate, this is apparently an unrealistic expectation – even in the year 2020.
How much Lead is too much Lead?
The amount of Lead that is considered unsafe (and illegal) in a newly manufactured item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm Lead (or higher) in the paint or coating of an item or anything 100 ppm Lead (or higher) in the substrate. Since this item is not intended for use by children (not specifically marketed and sold for children to use) the fact that the food use surface tests positive for more than 1,100 ppm Lead is not considered to be illegal (or unsafe) in any way. As an advocate for childhood Lead poisoning prevention and as a mother of Lead poisoned children, I disagree with this. I think it should be concerning to find Lead – especially at levels far above what is considered safe for kids – in food use products. Kids eat food too and the standard for children’s items should apply across the board for anything we use in our kitchens and dining rooms. Unfortunately this is not (yet) the case.
Why I don’t like OXO as a brand:
Some OXO products are Lead-free…some OXO products have trace levels of Lead – that would be considered safe by all standards…some OXO products have high levels of Lead. The reason this is a big problem is that consumers have no way to know which they are going to get (unless they happen to have a $35,000+ precision XRF instrument available to them to test everything they purchase). The only thing consistent about test results for OXO products (when it comes to testing for the presence of Lead and Cadmium specifically) is that the results ALWAYS vary – and are NEVER consistent.
We should not have to have these concerns; we should not have to test everything we purchase. As a result recommend avoiding this brand entirely.
The only exception – if I were to make an exception [the one product from OXO that I have tested that appears to be consistently Lead-free and Cadmium-free] – is their glass food storage cubes. However, toxicant-free glass food storage cubes are available from many other brands, so I personally prefer to source products like that from another brand, to avoid OXO entirely.
More OXO products I have tested and reported about on this blog:
- OXO Silicone Steamer Basket
- OXO Spatula
- OXO Ice Cream Scoop
- OXO Glass Food Storage – Round
- OXO Glass Food Sotorage Cube
- OXO Silicone Bib
- OXO Baby Spoon and Fork
- OXO Spatula
Scroll down to read the full XRF test results for the green and black spatula pictured here.
Green spatula end (image above) – 60-second test
- Lead (Pb): 1,117 +/- 47 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 11 +/- 5 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 5 +/- 2 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 146 +/- 24 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 75 +/- 34 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 121 +/- 46 ppm
- Indium (In): 16 +/- 7 ppm
- Palladium (Pd): 6 +/- 3 ppm
The black plastic center part of the handle and black rubberized end of the handle had readings similar to those components found on the same style spatula with the orange spatula end. You can read those detailed XRF readings on this post, link.
Tests results are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Tests are done on each component multiple times, to confirm the results. Tests reported on this blog are from 60-second readings, unless otherwise noted.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Given the readership of this blog has blown up over the past year, I will do my best to answer your questions personally – but I may not be able to get to each and every question (I often approve questions in the hopes that one of my other readers takes the time to chime in and answer them – as my readers have been very helpful in that way!)
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