If you have been doing your research on KitchenAid’s gorgeous range of stand mixers, or any of their other American-made products, I’m sure you already know how popular these appliances are. These nifty baking tools are world-famous for their timeless aesthetic, superior build quality, and craftsmanship.
Depending on how long you have been looking, you might have found a mixer that meets all your requirements (if not, my stand mixer comparison might be able to help you out). Maybe you have even spotted the perfect color to match your kitchen color palette.
While you may have found the stand mixer of your dreams, it’s understandable if you still have some reservations. When I was buying my KitchenAid, besides the price, one of the things that made me slightly hesitant was this label at the bottom of the KitchenAid website.
Or worse still, you may have come across this message on some of their pages:
This product contains lead, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.
Now your brain is racing with questions. What does this mean? Do KitchenAid mixers cause cancer?
Before you start to panic or jump to the conclusion that this is a mass conspiracy in which KitchenAid is trying to kill us all, allow me to quickly explain what I discovered about the KitchenAid Prop 65 Cancer warning.
What does the KitchenAid Prop 65 warning mean?
I’m sure you already know this label isn’t exclusive to KitchenAid products. In fact, every manufacturer needs to display this warning if they are selling products in California that contain trace amounts of substances that are deemed as risks to health.
Prop 65, or rather Proposition 65, is the name of a piece of legislation that was passed in 1986 by the state of California. The aim of Prop 65 was, in theory, to help Californians make informed decisions on the health risk factors of products they use.
Here’s a quick video explaining what Prop 65 is.
The harmful chemical list is maintained by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and updated on a regular basis. As of 2022, there are more than 900 substances that the CA state considers harmful (carcinogenic) or pose a risk to pregnant or nursing women.
Based on the manufacturer’s knowledge of its products and processes, the regulation requires companies to add this warning label if any of these 900 substances can be found above the OEHHA recommended ‘safe harbor levels’. In 2018, the provision was updated and required manufacturers to mention at least one likely chemical from the list on their warning labels.
While in theory, this all sounds great, in reality, there are some big flaws with Prop 65 as I’m sure any Californian will tell you.
Why does KitchenAid have a cancer warning?
Okay, so circling back to KitchenAid, why do they have the Prop 65 label on most of their products? This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, after all, why does an appliance that we use to prepare food need a cancer warning?
After doing a little research, there seem to be a few reasons why their appliances have this warning. It’s worth remembering that, as Whirpool representatives have repeatedly stated, KitchenAid appliances are closely monitored, tested, and deemed safe by the FDA for sale and use by consumers.
The power cord
Interestingly, nearly all power cords contain lead. This includes everything from your kitchen appliances to your Christmas fairy lights. Lead is used as insulation which also makes the plastic wiring more flexible and reduces the risk of fire. Lead is used in many PVC products to stabilize their color too.
The circuit board solder
The solder used to attach electronic parts to the printed circuit boards also contain lead. A lead-tin solder has been an industry standard for a long time as these have a lower melting temperature and flow well, making it an ideal element to solder circuit boards with.
Trace amounts due to manufacturing
Trace amounts of lead could also be introduced in your appliance due to the manufacturing process, although not large enough quantities to make a negative impact on your health.
In fact, when you connect with KitchenAid customer support about the Prop 65 warning, this will likely be their standard response: Some of the chemicals that have triggered the Prop 65 warning, may have been used during the manufacturing process. These are trace amounts and are not known to be unsafe to humans in these amounts. However, we are required to put a warning on all of our appliances.
While all this sounds like a logical explanation, it still doesn’t explain why it is found on all KitchenAid’s non-electronic attachments.
Will KitchenAid cause cancer?
I’m not sure I am qualified to answer this question, after all, I am just a gal on the internet and I am certainly no doctor or medical professional.
While I cannot say about the older products and attachments, newer appliances produced by KitchenAid are increasingly lead-free, although you may still find trace amounts in cords or soldered parts.
Besides the Prop 65 warning label is just that – a requirement. It doesn’t inform you about the use of a particular chemical or the amount found in the said product (the KitchenAid mixer in this case).
While this idea of educating consumers is a step in the right direction, unfortunately, this warning label is simply slapped on all products sold or used in California from fruits and coffee to ceramic tableware and jewelry. This still leaves us clueless about the amount of lead or other chemicals found in our favorite appliances.
As for KitchenAid, other than the lead possibilities mentioned above, we don’t know what substance(s) might be on or inside the stand mixer or other products and related attachments.
My personal opinion (read not medical advice) is that the stand mixer you plan to buy isn’t going to be detrimental to your health. If it was not safe for use, KitchenAid would be battling lawsuits from consumer groups and individuals around the world.
And according to this statement released by the company:
“Whirlpool is committed to manufacturing safe and high-quality appliances, as we always have done. Should any product contain or produce even the slightest amounts of chemicals on the list, even when accepted and regulated concentrations are not exceeded, Whirlpool will liberally warn consumers even though we fully comply with the Act.”
Are you concerned about lead or the health impact of your mixing attachments?
The best way to avoid this is to buy stainless steel attachments which are definitely lead-free rather than the coated beater attachments.
As we‘ve seen it is practically impossible to avoid lead in everyday life. And if it’s within permissible limits for humans, you don’t have to worry too much about getting cancer or causing developmental uses in your fetus.
All you can do is ensure that you’re aware of the dangers and make an informed decision regarding your purchase.