I’m sorry. Most of your small kitchen appliances are toxic, but we searched through thousands of blenders, dehydrators, air fryers, 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, plastic-free food storage products, & highly recommended plastic-free products, now join us as we tackle the small kitchen appliances aisle.
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 selected small kitchen appliances with materials that have tested negative for EA, 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.
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 (PFCs) 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 PFC 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.
At this time, it’s extremely difficult to confirm any independent test results that prove the safety of any types of ceramic, stoneware and porcelain cookware, bakeware and small kitchen appliances (both glazed and unglazed). If any brand would like to submit valid testing for our review, we’d be happy to re-evaluate our assessments.
*Note that at-home lead testers aren’t sensitive enough to show a positive for anything less than 600 ppm.
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.
- 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 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, testing that has been made public and effecienc 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. Sorry Vitamix fans!
- Alpina (glass jar)
- Black + Decker (glass jar)
- Blendin glass replacement jar
- Blendin stainless steel replacement jar
- Cuisinart (glass jar)
- Dash Arctic personal blender (stainless steel jar)
- Hamilton Beach (glass jar)
- Juschef (glass jar)
- KitchenAid (glass jar)
- Oster (glass jar, multiple models available)
- Premier Super G3 (stainless steel jar)
- Prestige Manttra Nakshatra (stainless steel jar)
- Tribest personal blender (glass jar)
- Vava (glass jar)
- Waring (stainless steel jar)
The following food processors are made with Tritan food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: All Blendtec blenders
- AVOID: All Ninja blenders
- AVOID: All NutriBullet blenders
- AVOID: All Vitamix blenders
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. For this reason, we cannot recommend the use of any handheld immersion blenders. We’re sorry about this but better to be safer than sorry. Therefore we have no immersion blenders to recommend to you at this time.
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
- Bodom Pedom Coffee Maker with Vacuum, strong flavor
- West Bend Electric Coffee Perculator
- Ilsa Stainless Steel Espresso Coffee Maker
- Hario Woodneck Drip Pot Coffee Maker
- FORLIFE Cafe Style Glass Coffee/Tea Press
- Nee Porcelain Coffee Dripper
- Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
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
- Cosori multi-cooker
- Instant Pot multi-cooker
- Mealthy multi-cooker
- Mueller multi-cooker
- Precise Heat electric skillet/ slow cooker
- Presto stainless steel pressure cookers
- T-fal stainless steel pressure cooker
- VonShef stainless steel 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)
- AVOID: Instant Pot ceramic non-stock interior pot
- AVOID: Ninja multi-cooker (ceramic-enameled non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: NuWave multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Power Pressure Cooker multi-cooker (non-stick interior pot)
- AVOID: Prestige pressure cookers (aluminum)
- AVOID: T-Fal multi-cooker (ceramic interior pot)
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
- Braun Tribute Collection food processor (stainless steel/polypropylene) – note that the lid material could not be confirmed
- Brieftons manual food chopper (ABS)
- Cuisinart (ABS, multiple models)
- Kalorik food processor (ABS/SAN) (currently unavailable)
- Hamilton Beach glass bowl chopper (polypropylene lid)
- KitchenAid stand mixer with glass bowl
- KitchenAid stand mixer with a metal bowl
- Klarstein Kitchen Machine with food processor (stainless steel)
- Linkchef food chopper (stainless steel)
- Quqoola food chopper (ABS)
- Valuetools mini manual food processor (ABS)
The following food processors are made with Tritan or polycarbonate food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: All Cuisinart food processors
- AVOID: All Hamilton Beach food processors
- AVOID: All DeLonghi food processors
- AVOID: NutriBullet
- AVOID: Ninja
There are only 3 air fryer options we found that don’t have non-stick coatings or plastic food contact surfaces.
- Big Boss (glass bowl)
- Elite Platinum with stainless steel basket (avoid Elite models with plastic non-stick baskets)
- Vanaheim (stainless steel basket)
The following food processors are made with plastic or non-stick food contact surfaces and therefore cannot be Mamavation-approved:
- AVOID: Avalon Bay (non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Cosori (non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Elite (models with plastic non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Kuppet (non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Ninja (ceramic-enameled basket)
- AVOID: NutriChef (plastic teflon-coated basket)
- AVOID: Philips (non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Power Air Fryer (non-stick basket)
- AVOID: Simple Chef (non-stick basket)
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.
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.
- Lodge cast iron grill griddle combo
- King Kooker cast iron grill griddle combo
- Rome Old Fashioned Waffle Iron
- Square Pie Iron Sandwich Cooker
- Texsport cast iron waffle maker
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)
- DEX Products baby food processor (SAN)
- Kalorik Chopper baby food maker (ABS/SAN)
- Paderno puree maker (ABS)
- The First Years Babypro All In One baby food maker (polypropylene)
- Zanmini 8-in-1 baby food maker
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 all together. 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.
- Food Pantrie solar dehydrator (stainless steel frame/polypropylene trays)
- L’Equip (ABS trays and housing/polypropylene mesh inserts)
- Nesco dehydrators including the Snackmaster Express and American Harvest Gardenmaster sold widely around the country (polypropylene)
- Ronco dehydrators (ASA trays/ABS housing)
- STX International plastic dehydrators (ASA trays/ABS housing)
- STX International stainless steel dehydrators (no plastic)
- Tribestlife Sedona dehydrators (polypropylene trays/ABS housing/LDPE mesh screens)
- TSM Products plastic dehydrators (all ABS)
- TSM Products stainless steel dehydrators (no plastic inside)
- Waring Pro (ASA trays/ABS housing)
- Weston Supply (ASA trays/ABS housing/silicone sheets)