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Tamara Rubin is a multiple-Federal-award-winning independent advocate for childhood Lead-poisoning prevention and consumer goods safety, and a documentary filmmaker. She is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children (two of her sons were acutely Lead-poisoned in 2005). Since 2009, Tamara has been using XRF technology (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. Tamara’s work was featured in Consumer Reports Magazine in February of 2023 (March 2023 print edition).
Tuesday – December 27, 2022
Below is the text of the KitchenAid response to the findings of Lead in their stand mixer attachments. The above image is a screenshot with this text that was shared by a LeadSafeMama.com reader on 12/22/22:
“Throughout our 111-year history, Whirlpool Corporation has been committed to providing safe products for our consumers.
The company’s aluminum alloy stand mixer accessories, including beaters, dough hooks and whisks, are tested through a third-party, independent laboratory to ensure they comply with all applicable regulations in the locations where they are sold regarding Lead content. They are safe for any family’s cooking needs.
In addition, all current models of Aluminum stand mixer accessories have a food-safe coating over the aluminum that is tested both for Lead content and Lead migration to ensure that it is safe for all consumers.”
Our Response to KitchenAid’s Public Statement (Point-by-Point)
Their Statement (#1):
“Throughout our 111-year history, Whirlpool Corporation has been committed to providing safe products for our consumers.”
111 years ago, safety standards for kitchenware to protect consumers from Lead exposure were not yet in place — in fact, current regulatory standards still do not require that your products be Lead-free. Since you brought it up, let’s talk about your history: you manufacture durable, heirloom-quality kitchen appliances and other items that “last a lifetime” and are prized by cooks and found in a majority of well-appointed kitchens in this country. You have a reputation as being a company that is also concerned for our family’s health and well-being — yet you have a long track record of manufacturing Lead-contaminated products for use in our kitchens. From a metallic toxicants perspective, your company’s history, rather than setting a similar high bar for excellence, is in fact, a shameful example of consistent “willful ignorance” / arrogant indifference — and gaslighting customers who contact you voicing concerns about the high Lead levels in your products!
There is no safe level of Lead exposure — and there is no excuse for your persistent practice of unapologetic manufacturing and selling kitchen products with unsafe levels of Lead in one or more components [refrigerators (link); silicone spatulas (link); crock pots (link); and stand mixer attachments (link)]. How can we possibly believe your statement (that you are “committed to providing safe products”) when you have an extensive history of blithely manufacturing and selling Lead-contaminated products? On top of that, you have known of my findings of Lead contamination in your KitchenAid stand mixer attachments for at least nine years, yet have done nothing to fix the problem (except perhaps capitalizing on the issue by SELLING a Lead-free stainless steel option as an “upgrade”), and NOTHING to alert the public of your past mistakes and any efforts you have made to remedy them.
Their Statement (#2):
“The company’s aluminum alloy stand mixer accessories, including beaters, dough hooks and whisks, are tested through a third-party, independent laboratory to ensure they comply with all applicable regulations in the locations where they are sold regarding Lead content.”
- Current applicable regulatory standards do not restrict you from manufacturing and selling Lead-contaminated products.
- The fact that your stand mixer attachments meet current – lax – U.S. regulatory standards — standards which science has repeatedly demonstrated are not protective of human health— is irrelevant.
- We expect MORE from you as a trusted brand that we have let into our homes for generations.
- I suspect an audit of your internal communications on this matter (compliance with all applicable regulations) might also provide some interesting insight, as it seems suspicious timing that you have stopped selling the burnished (bare metal) standard attachments AND you made a Lead-free alternative as an “upgrade” only after we (Lead Safe Mama, LLC) published our findings of Lead in your standard aluminum stand mixer attachments.
Their Statement (#3):
“They are safe for any family’s cooking needs.”
Current regulatory standards only guarantee some limited degree of safety of cookware products at the time of manufacture (meaning no leaching of any significant amount of Lead only when the product is new). These standards do not take into account the safety of heirloom quality products — i.e. that may be put in service in a family over time /across generations (with many decades of continual use.) Leach-testing standards only need to be met for any given product at the time of manufacture, and once an item has been used for 5 (or 10 or 20+) years a Lead contaminated item often will no longer meet the testing requirements it met when it was new. If those products contain significant levels of Lead contamination (as your cast Aluminum stand mixer attachments do), then the deterioration with use over time is likely to cause eventual leaching of Lead into food being prepared with these items.
Given this context, there is no defensible reason for KitchenAid to be selling Lead-contaminated kitchenware in 2022 (almost 2023) — especially with a near-$500 price tag… and especially given KitchenAid has an (obviously misplaced) reputation for being an ethical, reputable company, that cares about their customers.
Given you failed to take these recent actions (sensible, practical responses to the dangerous risks inherent in their Lead-contaminated counterparts) until customer awareness and pressure to act evidently rose to levels that you could no longer simply completely ignore — your language expressing the company’s “commitment to providing safe products for our customers” seems solidly in the realm of “disingenuous”, as it is belied by your actions — which appear to be, at best, reactive rather than proactive.
Their Statement (#4):
“In addition, all current models of Aluminum stand mixer accessories have a food-safe coating over the Aluminum that is tested both for Lead content and Lead migration to ensure that it is safe for all consumers.”
Welp, no!… ummm… have you SEEN your paddles after regular use by most families?! Poll any 20 random families who own your products (and who have had them in service for 5 years or longer), and I would bet that the coating on at least 18 of those families’ paddles is chipped and deteriorating — exposing the Lead-contaminated surface of the attachment to the food being prepared in the mixer. I’m frankly astonished that you would even mention this consideration, given the level of deterioration I have consistently seen – across the board – of the coatings applied to your paddles. This also begs the issue of the considerably-more-troubling fact that for many years you sold totally-uncoated paddles — your “burnished finish“…which you quietly stopped selling (but which still can be found in limited quantities on Amazon as of 12/27/22) after spending years blaming the users for the fact that these “burnished” paddles left gray streaks in their food!. I think the time is now to have some independent scientific testing done on the potential for Lead-contamination of food being prepared with those burnished paddles…especially since you never issued a recall of those uncoated, significantly-Lead-contaminated paddles — and never even issued a public statement about the potential for concern.