I’m sorry. Most of your small kitchen appliances are toxic, but we searched through thousands of blenders, dehydrators, multi-cookers, coffee makers, immersion blenders, waffle makers, pressure cookers, food processors, and baby food makers to find you the safest & nontoxic ones for your family. There are thousands of small kitchen appliances available to you today. Considering the dangerous contaminants found leaching into food from small kitchen appliances, it can be daunting to find the safest brands. But never fear, Mamavation is here! You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you investigations like safest cookware & bakeware, best & worst air purifiers, & our 2020 non-toxic gift-giving guide for the whole family, now join us as we tackle the small kitchen appliances aisle.
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
The Small Kitchen Appliance Aisle is Problematic
Small kitchen appliances like blenders, coffee makers, food processors, and waffle makers are incredibly problematic to hormonal health based on the food contact materials that are being used and their lack of migration testing reports. But never fear, Mamavation is here to help you make sense of it. After our cookware investigation was finished, we decided to keep going and find the safest small kitchen appliances for your family.
The Mamavation-approved products listed below do not consist of ceramic, polycarbonate (BPA), polystyrene, HDPE, PET or Tritan because they’ve all tested positive for estrogenic activity (EA) or leaching of toxic chemicals. We prefer food contact materials to be made of glass and stainless steel, however, this isn’t always possible based on what is out there.
We selected small kitchen appliances with materials that have tested negative for estrogenic activity, but we strongly caution against heating any type of plastic. DON’T DO IT. Plastic materials readily break down and leach when heated, even the safest kinds.
The approved plastics are polypropylene, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), SAN (styrene acrylonitrile), and ASA (acrylonitrile styrene acrylate). They should be avoided in their raw forms (think factory workers), but appear to be quite stable under normal use and without heating. I repeat, no heating. (And no dishwashing of plastic parts that come into contact with food!)
Materials to Avoid in Small Kitchen Appliances to Safeguard Your Family
There are a handful of common food contact materials in small kitchen appliances that present toxicity problems. Almost all of the materials on our list are plastic, but ceramic makes an appearance since nearly every slow cooker has a ceramic insert. Here we explain what materials we don’t recommend and why.
Non-stick coatings have become well known for their toxicity, and they’re bioaccumulative. Fluropolymers used in non-stick coatings were found to increase the incidents of tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands, and pancreas in lab animals. The EPA has also categorized perfluorinated compounds (PFAS) as likely carcinogenic. Also, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered a shocking statistic — 98% of Americans have detectable levels of PFAS or PFCs in their bodies. Mamavation has been studying PFAS contamination closely in cookware, food packaging and water. These chemicals are linked with the following diseases and symptoms you don’t’ want:
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- reduced vaccination response
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- interfere with the body’s natural hormones
- increase cholesterol levels
- affect the immune system
- increase the risk of cancer
Ceramic Glazes on Food Contact Surfaces
Ceramic kitchenware and cookware have been our biggest challenge. This applies to ceramic small kitchen appliances like slow cookers as well as cookware with quasi-ceramic coatings. As a whole, ceramic appears to be very problematic due to the glazes used on food contact surfaces.
Unfortunately, coatings of any kind are bound to wear down and chip away into food, and ceramic glazes are no different. In the same way, ceramic coatings are too fragile for long-term use and tend to scratch and chip away leaving bare base materials that immediately start contaminating your food.
Most ceramic product manufacturers will tell you they test for heavy metals and don’t even use them in food contact surfaces. The problem is that virtually no one has third-party test results to back up their claims, and we don’t run on trust alone. Proof is a must! This is our family we’re trying to protect.
What about slow cookers? Ceramic slow cookers* are glazed and there’s no thorough heavy metal testing for lead that we could locate from any brand. That also still leaves the question of other toxic materials that may be in the product. Nanoparticles have been recently discovered as a leaching byproduct of ceramic coatings. Nano titanium dioxide is the most prevalent substance found and is hazardous because it’s been shown to cause immune system disruption and pre-cancerous lesions in the gut.
Nanoparticles themselves are problematic because their tiny size allows them to enter most areas of the body and wreak havoc in the most pervasive ways. For example, asbestos is a carcinogenic nanoparticle that has taken many people’s lives. Mamavation has taken a hard stance against nanotechnology in ceramic glazes. Therefore, we recommend only using slow cookers with stainless steel interiors or Mamavation-approved clay cookers.
*Note that at-home lead testers aren’t sensitive enough to show a positive for anything less than 600 ppm.
Polycarbonate–Bisphenols (BPA, BPS, BPAF, etc, etc.)
Bisphenols are some of the highest volume chemicals produced worldwide used primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins for food and drink packaging, water and infant bottles, compact discs, safety equipment, medical devices, and coatings for canned food, bottle tops and water supply pipes.
Bisphenols are well known endocrine disrupting chemicals, and due to their ubiquitous nature and multi-route human exposure, detectable levels of BPA are found in 93% of urine samples. Adverse effects of bisphenols include reproductive cancers, early puberty, obesity, diabetes, infertility, memory impairment and learning difficulties.
Studies show that polycarbonate releases detectable BPA even at room temperature. BPA is also present in air and dust too which scientists believe can reach and contaminate nearby waterways, and when exposed to boiling water, it leaches 55x more rapidly.
Styrene is a petroleum by-product is used to make plastics, rubber, and resins that can be found in packaging, cups, plates, take-out containers, and packing peanuts. Polystyrene leaches styrene which is linked to leukemia, lymphoma, organ and nervous system damage, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and gastrointestinal problems.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is common in milk jugs, juice and water bottles, detergent and shampoo bottles, grocery bags, and cereal box liners. HDPE is among the more stable plastics, but it tested positive for estrogenic activity.
In fact, bisphenol-A has been detected in HDPE bottles, and while the levels were low, it still doesn’t excuse the presence of this serious endocrine-disrupting chemical. BPA was also detected in waters of public distribution systems using HDPE supply pipes, as well as a range of esters, aldehydes, ketones, aromatic hydrocarbons and terpenoids.
HDPE water bottles and caps were found to leach low levels of octylphenol (OP) and nonylphenol (NP), along with the presence of detectable BPA in some HDPE water bottle caps. Phenols have been detected in human breast milk, blood and urine, and is associated with negative reproductive and developmental effects in rodents.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is commonly used in disposable water bottles, and soda and sports drink bottles. Another of the more stable BPA-free plastics, it can leach antimony, a toxic metalloid that can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, heart problems, and muscle and joint pain.
Extended shelf time causes more leaching, but exposure to heat is the real culprit with studies showing up to 100x the amount of antimony in bottled water than in clean groundwater. Low levels of nonylphenol (NP) have also been found to migrate from PET.
Note that at this time, we cannot recommend products made with Tritan on food contact surfaces because there is conflicting information on its safety.
Eastman, the manufacturer of Tritan copolyester, has posted safety information on their website which provides details on its estrogenic activity (EA)-free testing methods and results, however, in 2013 the scientific peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry tested Tritan and discovered the migration of DMIP (dimethyl isophthalate), BBP (benzylbutyl phthalate) and detectable BPA from Tritan.
Two other non-intentionally added substances (NIAS), 4-nonylphenol and 2-phenoxyethanol, were also found to leach from Tritan during this testing. In addition, Biomed Central’s Environmental Health journal conducted testing that showed estrogenic activity present in 3 Tritan resins with exposure to UV radiation in natural sunlight resulting in an increased release of EA chemicals. The journal also states that triphenyl-phosphate (TPP), an additive used to manufacture some thermoplastic resins such as Tritan, exhibited EA in both testing assays.
Additionally, Mother Jones notes that the 200-plus samples of Tritan resins that were tested consistently leached estrogen-like chemicals after being exposed to a type of ultraviolet ray found in sunlight (UVA) and another kind that some parents use to sterilize baby bottles (UVC). In some cases, samples that hadn’t even been exposed to UV light also seeped estrogenic compounds.
3 Ways Plastics Become More Dangerous
The chemicals used in plastic are problematic because they can escape and migrate into food and drink in a process called leaching. There are 3 ways toxins leach from plastic:
- Heat is the biggest culprit. When plastic gets warm or hot, it releases toxic chemicals up to 55x faster than normal. Black plastic is known to contain extremely hazardous leaching chemicals including brominated flame retardants, chlorine, PVC, cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, and antimony, so it’s highly important to avoid using it in the kitchen. DO NOT MICROWAVE PLASTIC. And do not put plastic food contact materials into the dishwasher either.
- Fats have also been found to increase leaching. Cheese, milk, yogurt, fatty meats, and oils that are packaged in plastic have a much greater chance of being contaminated with leached toxins. Studies show that BPA has been detected in milk packaged in Tetra Pack or HDPE plastic bottles which confirms that fatty foods have a better ability to extract BPA from plastics than water.
- Acidic foods cause lots of chemical excitement. Acidic foods are known to cause leaching in many materials including plastics, cookware, and bakeware. Citric acid, tomatoes, coffee, and citrus fruits are highly acidic and should not be stored in plastic.
It’s clear from multiple studies that we should take great care to avoid ever heating plastic. We should also be mindful that fatty and acidic foods in plastic containers are very likely contaminated with the chemicals present within the container itself, so overall, it’s best to choose non-plastic small kitchen appliances and storage containers whenever possible.
Small Kitchen Appliances Investigation
Okay, so which small kitchen appliances are safe for your family? I’m glad you’ve asked. Mamavation sorted through thousands of blenders, coffee makers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, food processors, air fryers, waffle makers, baby food makers, and dehydrators to find the safest products for your family.
And we’ve come up with suggestions based on the most current understanding of hormone disruption in food contact materials, testing & court records that have been made public, public court documents, and reviews for the efficiency of use.
Fortunately, we were able to find a lot of blenders with glass or stainless steel jars. We wanted to avoid any blender that was made from plastic because of the potential of leaching. Blenders are used so often, put into the dishwasher, and potentially can contain hot contents that we do not recommend you purchase one where plastic is touching the food. But if you have a Vitamix, they are selling stainless steel pitchers now!
- Amaste Blender (glass jar)
- Black + Decker (glass jar)
- Blendin stainless steel replacement jar
- Cuisinart (glass jar, resellers only)
- Dash Arctic personal blender (stainless steel jar, resellers only)
- Hamilton Beach (glass jar)
- KitchenAid (glass jar)
- Premier Super G3 (stainless steel jar)
- Prestige Manttra Nakshatra (stainless steel jar)
- Tribest personal blender (glass jar)
- Vitamix Stainless Steel Pitcher (optional attachment)
- Waring (stainless steel jar)
The following food processors are made with Tritan food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: All plastic Blendtec blenders
- AVOID: All plastic Ninja blenders
- AVOID: All plastic NutriBullet blenders
- AVOID: All plastic Vitamix blenders (get the stainless steel pitcher!)
Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) have been discovered in the hood of immersion blenders just above the spinning blade that mixes food. Not only that, but CPs have been shown to leak from hand blenders reaching the food and causing significant human exposures.
We were not able to find labs on this, so we wanted to warn you about that and if you still wanted one, these are the immersion blenders that are made of stainless steel and do not have plastic food contact materials:
- All-Clad Stainless Steel Immersion Blender
- Braun Immersion Blender Combo (except beaker we believe is plastic)
- Mueller Immersion Blender
When we looked at juicers, we ran across lots of Tritan, melanmine, and other polycarbonate plastics. We opted for some plastic juicers, but ones that seemed to be the least problematic because you are not heating juice. However, it’s important to know that acidic foods, like oranges are also known to leach some plastics, so we prefer stainless steel and glass. Some products had polycarbonate containers that you can simply avoid using and use your own glass catch.
- HERRCHEF Juicer (stainless steel)
- TCRAYCH Portable blender for smoothies and juice mixing (glass & stainless steel)
- Heavy duty hand juicer (stainless steel)
- Breville Citrus Press Pro Juicer (stainless steel)
- Breville Juice Fountain Elite Juicer (stainless steel, use your own glass to catch)
- Breville XL Juice Fountain Elite Juicer (stainless steel, use your own glass to catch)
- Jarware citrus juicer to screw on your mason jar (stainless steel)
The following juicers are made with Tritan or polyethylene food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Barsetto (Tritan)
- AVOID: PopBabies (Tritan)
- AVOID: Crenova (Tritan)
- AVOID: Koios Juicer (polyethylene (PEI))
- AVOID: Breville (polycarbonate containers, so if you purchase replace it with your own glass)
Have you ever noticed how many black plastic coffee makers there are out there? Well, we’ve already talked about heating plastic and how that can cause leaching of the contaminants inside the plastic out into your food. Well, the same goes for your coffee.
Black plastic, in particular, has been shown to leach fire retardants, heavy metals, and phthalates. And that’s because most black plastic is made from recycled end-of-life electronics and has contamination similar to electronics. Long story short, if your coffee has any plastic parts touching your coffee, pitch it, and pick up one of these instead.
- Cemex Glass Series pour-over coffee maker
- AGOGO Glass Coffee Maker Pour-Over
- Ovalware Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Bodom Pedom Coffee Maker with Vacuum, strong flavor
- Gvode Stainless Steel Mesh Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- West Bend Electric Coffee Perculator
- Ilsa Stainless Steel Espresso Coffee Maker
- Hario Woodneck Drip Pot Coffee Maker
- SAKI Pour-Over Coffee Maker
- COLETTI Coffee Percolator
- FORLIFE Cafe Style Glass Coffee/Tea Press
- Nee Porcelain Coffee Dripper
- Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
- Faberware 12 Cup Stainless Steel Percolator
- AMFOCUS Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Cuisinart Stainless Steel Percolator
The following coffee makers are made with plastic food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID Kuerig machines (and all the k-cups)
- AVOID all the Hamilton Beach made with plastic food contact materials
- AVOID all the Cuisinart made with plastic food contact materials
- AVOID Nespresso machines
- AVOID all Mr. Coffee
- AVOID all Ninja coffee makers
- AVOID all Krupps coffee makers
Since you may be finding yourself grinding coffee for the first time, we’ve included some of our favorite manual coffee grinders in case you find yourself without power or just want to do it while saving power, and of course electric coffee grinders.
- Seal Kitchen Manual Coffee Grinder
- Bodum BISTRO Bur Coffee Grinder
- Simple House Manual Coffee Grinder
- Turkish Style Manual Coffee Grinder
- Vevok Chef Manual Coffee Grinder
- Driver Manual Coffee Grinder
- HadonEEON Electric Coffee Grinder
- Chardor Electric Coffee Grinder
- KitchenAid Blade One-Touch Electric Coffee Grinder
Electric & Glass Kettles
The basic rules on heating water is to not all it to touch any plastic food contact surfaces while it’s hot. These brands use only glass or stainless steel as food contact materials.
- Molgree glass teapot with removable infuser
- COSORI glass electric kettle
- Chefman glass electric kettle
- MOSFiATA glass electric kettle
- OXO cordless glass electric kettle
- Hamilton Beach cordless glass electric kettle
- Buydeem cordless glass electric kettle
Pressure Cookers, Slow Cookers, and Multi-Cookers
No ceramic products are acceptable at this time due to lack of availability of independent heavy metal testing and nanoparticle glazes. The following list consists of stainless steel or safe clay pressure cookers, slow cookers, and multi-cookers.
- VitaClay multi-cooker
- 360 Cookware stainless steel slow cookers
- Instant Pot multi-cooker
- Mealthy multi-cooker (resellers only)
- Precise Heat electric skillet/ slow cooker
- Presto stainless steel pressure cookers
- T-fal stainless steel pressure cooker (resellers only)
- Hawkins 360 pressure cooker
- Zojirushi Multicooker 6 quarts
- Zavor pressure cooker and stainless steel steaming basket
- Geek Chef electric pressure cooker
The following pressure cookers are made with ceramic or non-stick interior cooking pots and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Bella multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Black + Decker multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Crock Pot multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Gourmia multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: GraniteWare multi-cooker (aluminum)
- AVOID: Geek Chef multi-cooker (aluminum non-stick interior pot) but one above is okay
- AVOID: Instant Pot ceramic non-stock interior pot (this is the safer interior pot)
- AVOID: Ninja multi-cooker (ceramic-enameled non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: NuWave multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Emeril multi-cooker (non-stick & unknown ceramic glaze)
- AVOID: Power Pressure Cooker multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Prestige pressure cookers (aluminum)
- AVOID: De’Longhi Livenza (nonstick, aluminium)
Food Processors, Mixers, and Choppers
Food contact materials are listed in parenthesis for your information. Stainless steel food mills are also widely available.
- Black & Decker glass bowl chopper – note that the lid material could not be confirmed
- Homeleader electric food chopper with glass bowl
- Braun Tribute Collection food processor (stainless steel/polypropylene) – note that the lid material could not be confirmed
- Elechromes electric food chopper with glass bowl
- Cuisinart (resellers only, ABS, multiple models)
- Hamilton Beach glass bowl chopper (polypropylene lid)
- KitchenAid stand mixer with a metal bowl (resellers only)
- Klarstein Kitchen Machine with food processor (stainless steel)
- Makaluce electric glass food processor
- Homgeek meat grinder & food processor with glass bowl
- Kocbelle wireless glass portable food processor
The following food processors are made with Tritan or polycarbonate food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Phillips
- AVOID: Breville
- AVOID: All DeLonghi food processors
- AVOID: NutriBullet (tritan)
- AVOID: Ninja
Clay Multi-Cookers & Earthenware
Clay can be very hazardous when the geographical origins are unknown. We could locate only two brands of clay cookware that conduct testing for heavy metals commonly found in clay and glazes. Both companies do not glaze their products, so the testing reflects the makeup of the clay itself.
- High-Fire VitaClay 2-in-1 Rice & Slow Cooker in Clay Pot
- VitaClay VM7800-5C Smart Organic Clay Multi-Crocks N’ Stock Pot, 6.5 quart, Stainless Steel
- VitaClay VM7900-8 Smart Organic Multi-Cooker- A Rice Cooker, A Slow Cooker, A Digital Steamer plus a bonus Yogurt Maker, 8 Cup / 4.2-Quart
- VitaClay VM7900-8 Smart Organic Multi-Cooker/Rice Cooker, Brushed Stainless Steel and Black by VitaClay
- Miriam’s Earthenware
Waffle Makers and Griddles
Almost every single waffle maker and griddle is aluminum with non-stick or ceramic coating. There are only a few manufacturers that offer Mamavation-approved products, and all of them are uncoated cast iron, the only safe option.
- King Kooker cast iron grill griddle combo
- Rome Old Fashioned Waffle Iron
- Square Pie Iron Sandwich Cooker
- Pre-seasoned cast iron reversible grill griddle w/heavy grill press
- Lightly pre-seasoned cast iron grill griddle for gas stove
- Rome’s double pie iron with wooden handles
- HAWOK cast iron waffle maker
- Lodge cast iron waffle press
- Cuisinart cast iron burger press
- NORPRO mini cast iron grill press
The following waffle makers are made with plastic or non-stick food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Presto (non-stick)
- AVOID: Chefman (non-stick)
- AVOID: KUTIME Pancake Pan (nonstick)
- AVOID: Black and Decker (nonstick, stainless steel, plastic)
- AVOID: OSTBA (nonstick)
- AVOID: Dash (nonstick)
- AVOID: Anxin (nonstick, aluminum)
Popcorn makers were found to use lots of non-stick coating and plastics that they didn’t label. Here were the ones we found that were made of safe food contact materials.
- Zippy Pop stovetop popcorn maker (stainless steel)
- Great Northern stovetop popcorn maker (stainless steel)
- Ecolution microwave popcorn popper (glass, silicone top)
The following popcorn makers are made with plastic or non-stick food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Dash (nonstick coating, unnamed plastic)
- AVOID: Nordic Ware (melamine plastic shouldn’t be heated)
- AVOID: HIRIFULL (nonstick, plastic unnamed)
- AVOID: Presto (polycarbonate + BPA plastic)
Baby Food Makers
This category is a mess. It’s not as easy to get away from plastic, and baby food in general isn’t really a good idea. The latest research looking at evolutionary dentistry says that softening a baby’s food prevents them from fully developing their jaw, which can lead to a list of ailments in adulthood like sleep apnea. But if you must, I have some more bad news for you, it’s close to impossible to get automatic grinders that don’t touch plastic to food. So what we’ve done here is found the least problematic ones. Many modern baby food makers are made of Tritan, but we were able to locate several options that aren’t. Food contact materials are listed in parenthesis for your information.
- Beaba Babycook Neo (glass/stainless steel)
- Beaba Babycook 4-in-1 baby food maker (polypropylene)
- Stainless Steel mortar & pestle (no plastic whatsoever)
- Weston Stainless Steel Food Mill (no plastic whatsoever)
- Norpro Stainless Steel Food Mill (no plastic whatsoever)
- Cuisipro Stainless Steel Food Mill (no plastic whatsoever)
- Baby Breeza glass baby food maker
- Black & Decker Glass Food Processor
Ice Cream Makers
In the ice cream maker section, plastic abounds. You want to avoid Tritan, polycarbonate, and plastics that are just not labeled. This is what we found from safer food contact materials.
- Cuisanart freezer bowl 2 quarts (stainless steel)
- Cuisanart ICE Frozen yogurt ice cream maker (polypropylene)
- Whynter automatic ice cream maker (stainless steel, aluminum pot)
- Ice cream maker hand crank (stainless steel)
- Automatic Ice cream machine w/ compression cooling (stainless steel only, however not available till 4/21)
- Royal Brew automatic ice cream maker (stainless steel only)
Many dehydrators are constructed with polycarbonate (BPA) plastic in the lining inside and/or the housing itself. We were told by Excalibur that because the dehydrators stay at such a low temperature, up to 160° F, the polycarbonate doesn’t have a chance to heat enough to leach chemicals within. Unfortunately, the National Library of Medicine has found that polycarbonate releases detectable BPA even at room temperature, so we recommend steering clear altogether. Additionally, it’s been discovered that BPA is present in air and dust too which scientists believe can reach and contaminate nearby waterways, and that points to potential off-gassing/sloughing and is yet another source of bisphenol exposure.
- COSORI premium stainless steel dehydrator (no plastic)
- 6 Layer stainless steel dehydrator (no plastic)
- Samson silent 6 layer stainless steel dehydrator (no plastic)
- Colzer stainless steel food dehydrator (no plastic)
- Nesco dehydrators including the Snackmaster Express and American Harvest Gardenmaster sold widely around the country (polypropylene)
- Ronco dehydrators (ASA trays/ABS housing)
- STX International stainless steel dehydrators (no plastic)
- Tribestlife Sedona dehydrators (polypropylene trays/ABS housing/LDPE mesh screens)
- TSM Products stainless steel dehydrators (no plastic inside)
- Waring Pro (ASA trays/ABS housing)
- Weston Supply (ASA trays/ABS housing/silicone sheets)
- SAHARA folding food dehydrator (polypropylene shelves)