Independent Testing Confirms Presence of Lead in Part on Baby Bullet

by Kristen King, Mommy-in-Training on February 6, 2013

Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated writer and twin mom from the Tampa metro area, and founder of AmateurParenting.com. She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and a cat. They are Independent Herbalife Distributors and Wellness Coaches. Meet the whole AmateurParenting.com team on our About page.

Underside of the Baby Bullet. The center nut tested positive for presence of lead.

Independent testing conducted by HealthyStuff.org confirmed the presence of lead in the nut on the underside of the blades on popular babyfood-making product The Baby Bullet. Testing was prompted by personal reports from a midwestern mom, Kristin, who conducted home testing on the product after her child was diagnosed with severe lead poisoning. Kristin has stated several times that she does not believe her child’s poisoning was caused by the presence of lead in the Baby Bullet, but that it may have been a contributing factor to his extraordinarily high lead levels.

Kristin tested the product herself using a ProLab testing kid from her local The Home Depot, with a lead fishing sinker as a control. Both the sinker and the Baby Bullet indicated presence of lead. Kristin contacted Baby Bullet customer service and was told to send an email, which she did on January 21, January 29, and January 30, 2013, with no response from Baby Bullet. She then attempted to contact them through Facebook. In her emails, Kristin described clearly which parts of the Baby Bullet showed presence of lead in her home testing and included a photo:

The “section between the blades and the plastic” described by Kristin in her communications to Baby Bullet.

The center nut on my unit tested positive for lead using a ProLab lead test kit at home, as did a section between the blades themselves and green plastic on the other side.

Because I am still not certain what this part is made of and for the fear that lead could leach into food made with the Baby Bullet, I wanted Baby Bullet to ascertain exactly what this part contains.

In her emails, Kristin also indicated that Baby Bullet had deleted her posts on their Facebook page and had incorrectly stated that they had not received any reports of lead, specifying that she had contacted them via email, phone, and Facebook. She further informed them that she had contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

On January 31, CPSC referred Kristin to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA].

On January 31, 2013, Baby Bullet issued a statement on their public Facebook page asserting that the Baby Bullet is lead free. Below is a screenshot of their statement.

This post was met with a mix of support from pro-Baby Bullet moms and outrage from other moms with concerns about the presence of lead in products used to prepare baby food. I expressed my own concern at this statement: 

The statement from Baby Bullet had garnered 268 posts as of this writing. Baby Bullet has hidden it from view on their Facebook page, but it is still accessible through the direct link to the post. I and many other mothers have also saved screenshots of the post and the ensuing string of comments. Since this post, Baby Bullet has not made any other official statements on their Facebook page. Concerned moms continue to write comments on unrelated posts, however.

Following her public concern, Kristin received an offer from HealthyStuff.org to test the components in question for the presence of lead. They did so, and Kristin has received results that clearly indicate the presence of lead. I have personally seen them and find them very disconcerting, substantially higher than the federal limit of 600 PPM, but will not share the numbers until she gives me a green light to do so. HealthyStuff.org clearly outlines their testing methodology on their website.

Kristin has said both in communication directly with Baby Bullet and on their Facebook wall that she does not blame Baby Bullet for her son’s severe lead poisoning. Nonetheless, she has concerns –which I certainly share — about manufacturing a product for feeding babies using lead components. She has received responses from Baby Bullet, but they have been unsatisfactory and include reiterations that the product is lead free and later that any lead present would be within legal limits. I await permission to share the full text of this correspondence.

 It’s not clear yet what will happen next in this situation. Anecdotal reports from other parents on Facebook indicate that others have also found indications of lead in components of their own Baby Bullets through home testing. I know that this is enough for me to be glad I don’t have a Baby Bullet. If I did, I would stop using it immediately and seek to return it if at all possible. Even low exposure to lead can cause serious long-term consequences.

Read Baby Bullet’s response to this article.

Information about lead poisoning and lead exposure:

Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated writer and twin mom from the Tampa metro area, and founder of AmateurParenting.com. She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and a cat. They are Independent Herbalife Distributors and Wellness Coaches. Meet the whole AmateurParenting.com team on our About page.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristin February 6, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Kristen,

Thank you so much for sharing this information. By all means, please feel free to share anything I have already posted online. As I learn more information, I will update you.

To your readers, I am the mother whose son has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. The primary source was our water, but we are saddened by the very possibility that an appliance designed to make baby food could have in any way contributed to our son’s high lead levels.

I encourage all readers to test their water on an ANNUAL basis, particularly if they have a private well or live in older homes. Our water was once good, and it somehow turned bad in a relatively short period of time. Our baby NEVER drank the water, with the exception of a little at bath time. Washing his baby bottles and dishes in it was enough to poison him, with the lead residue.

Lead is scary. Our son appears healthy. We are treating him, but we are uncertain if the cognitive effects will manifest soon or several years from now.

So let’s at least get the lead out of baby products!

The part on the Baby Bullet that tested positive is an exposed nut, and if you have a Baby Bullet, please exercise caution when handling this part as you would with any other lead. My personal opinion is to get it our of your home.

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2 MegS February 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm

This is very concerning. I have the NutriBullet and wonder if it has the same issue. May I ask where you are located? I ask because chloramine treated water is also known to leach lead from the pipes which results in lead in the water supply. Thank you for sharing this information.

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3 jkaur February 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Not discounting your concerns, but I’m just curious here… is it possible that the part you tested was contaminated by your lead containing water when you washed it?

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4 Mildred February 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Good point Jkaur!! Would be interesting to test a brand new baby bullet just to be sure.

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5 Kasey February 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

As long as you wipe the item down very well, it will remove the residue left from the water.

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6 Brooke April 10, 2013 at 11:44 am

If you look on the link they posted at the bottom baby bullet posted a statement saying that parts that do not touch food has lead in it.

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7 Rita McDonald February 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

since your saying it is the nut/bolt does this also affect the full size normal bullet? as i have one of those!

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8 Kristen King, Mommy-in-Training February 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Rita, that’s a great question and I have no idea. If I had both products, I would compare the bottoms and if they looked the same, I would set both of them aside pending more information. It’s going to have to be a personal judgment call.

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9 Lisa Hann February 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

I have a full-size Magic Bullet, which I used to make my son’s baby food, and after reading this article, I did an at-home lead test on it. My test DID indicate the presence of lead in between the blade and the plastic AND the center nut on the underside of the bullet (the two places shown in the photos of this post). The top of the blade was negative. I will file a complaint with the CPSC.

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10 Kristin February 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Lisa,

Very interesting as your tests worked the same way as mine!

Our water comes (I should write “came” as we are not living there anymore), so it is untreated… It was once good water, but somehow the well recently went bad.

I’d like to dispel some of the myths that are out there. I tested my Baby Bullet at my in-laws’ house, which is newer than ours and uses city water. I used that water on the test strips.

I cleaned the Baby Bullet well before testing it myself. Certain parts were negative, and certain parts were positive. Therefore, I can reasonably assume that our well water didn’t taint the two areas that tested positive.

Finally, and maybe this is a huge assumption, I think the research director would know a thing or two about lead parts vs. lead water tainted parts.

I can only go by the test I did and the test that was done in the lab.

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11 Kristin February 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

oops… I meant to type that our water came from a well…

12 kikidee98 February 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Agreed – how can you disentangle cause and effect here if you washed the bullet in contaminated water?? (e.g., water caused both high levels of lead in Bullet & sadly your child). Let’s systematically test other Bullets before jumping to conclusions. I hope your child recovers soon.

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13 Kristin February 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Several parts of the milling blade component were tested by the organization and tested negative, the exception being the nut itself. Lead residue can be cleaned, and when this component was tested, they were working with a clean product.

We tested many items that I’d once washed, and they also came back negative when we used our test strips… So we do have substantial reason to believe this component containts lead. It is also similar in color to that of a lead fishing sinker.

I do agree that unused Baby Bullets should be tested, which is why I originally made a complaint to the CPSC. My report has been forwarded to the FDA, but this was prior to me having these test results. The next step is for me to contact my state’s Consumer Complaint Coordinator at the FDA in order to make a report there as well.

In a private email to me, I was told if there was any lead, it was within legal limits, per Baby Bullet. Publicly, Baby Bullet stated their product was lead-free.

Personally, I am satisfied that my Baby Bullet blending components contain lead.

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14 Kristin February 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm

And thank you for the well wishes for my child. Unfortunately, while lead can be removed from the body in both the short and long term, it is impossible to reverse many of its effects. There are many alternatives to lead, even if it costs a little bit more.

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15 Jackie M. February 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

The bolt that all of you are concerned about has zero contact with the food. Why are you concerned about what it is made of? If you had any idea what chemicals and metals are in every other appliance in your home, you’d never sleep.

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16 Kristen King, Mommy-in-Training February 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Jackie, the bolt connects the blades, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that lead could enter the food area through that connection. Additionally, it’s possible for the person preparing food to come into contact with the lead and touch the food or touch the mouth of the child, thereby transferring lead. With what we know and have known for decades about the danger of lead, it is not acceptable for any product used to prepare food to contain lead.

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17 Jackie M. February 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm

There are a lot of things that are not beyond the realm of possibility. It’s not worth daydreaming about possibilities. The water in Kristin’s home was contaminated. They used that water to clean the system and it is likely that the lead-contaminated water was on the nut that tested posted. Even it was positive, it is under the blades. It does not come into contact with food in ANY way. We all know you want to make a name for your blog, but this approach is disconcerting.

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18 Kristen King, Mommy-in-Training February 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm

Jackie, Kristin said clearly in her comment that the piece was cleaned prior to testing. I am also working on getting more in-depth testing for new-in-box Baby Bullets. I hope you will continue to follow the story for more information, whether you do it here or elsewhere.

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19 Tammy Jones February 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I find it so irresponsible and inexusable that a company making products for food prep especially for babies would use anything that is known to be harmful to humans just to save a buck. I purchased one for my daughter to make food for my grandaughter. This really infuriates me. Mayne they should get a heavy dose of lead. This is or should be a criminal offense.

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20 Deanna Koch February 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about this…my daughter has overcome lead poisoning, so I completely understand where you are. Eliza’s number was a 23 at her 1 year required lead test. Thankfully we were able to find and cover/remove all lead in the home and 9 months later, her number is 5. I wrote about our story on my blog as well, http://www.ibebloggen.com/dont-freak-out-dont-freak-out/
Good for you for staying on this Baby Bullet. Good luck!!
Deanna Koch recently posted..I Love My TribeMy Profile

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21 Kristin February 14, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thank you, Deanna! It is very scary when your child is diagnosed with lead poisoning. My son’s levels were much higher than your daughter’s levels, but as you have studied, the concern begins around a blood lead level of 2. I’ve learned so much about lead, and there is no need for Baby Bullet to use parts made from lead that are exposed for human touch. I do worry about the possibility of leaching due to the poor quality of manufacturing. To each their own, but I’ll happily keep exposed lead away from my family.

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22 Kasey February 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Just a fyi…Now Baby Bullet has posted a “generic” post regarding this…It can be found on Baby Bullet’s Facebook. It amazes me the amount of people who are so quick to call Kristin crazy, has her panties in a wad, needs to calm down…The post clearly is cover their asses. Pardon my language. Here is what was posted, you can verify it for yourself, but you should post a rebuttle to their “generic” post.

Baby Bullet · 421,181 like this
about a minute ago · ..

Baby Bullet, LLC hopes to dispel any concern that there is harmful “lead” associated with the product. Please forgive the generic nature of this post, but we hope that it will respond to all pending concerns and inquiries. While we cannot specify every material used to construct the Baby Bullet, please be assured that no “food contact surface” of the Baby Bullet contains BPA or any regulated heavy metal, including lead. It is the food contact surfaces that are regulated by the FDA and are the avenues for possible food contamination. The aluminum alloy nut used to anchor the stainless steel blade to the blade base, is not a food contact surface. It will not touch food in the ordinary use of the product. Prior to its commercial introduction, the Baby Bullet was thoroughly evaluated and certified under all applicable standards and regulations for its intended use as a food preparing device. Amongst the test protocols followed was the International Electro technical Commission (IEC) Standard 62321:2008: “Electro technical products – Determination of levels of six regulated substances (lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers)”. Unlike over-the-counter lead testing kits which can detect the presence of lead if used correctly, the IEC standard provides precise, repeatable protocols to test for the presence and level of each regulated substance. Exacting procedures are detailed in the IEC standard to assure that test samples are free from external contaminants (e.g., tap water residue) to assure accurate and reliable test results. SGS labs certified the Baby Bullet under the IEC standard and found it to be fully compliant (safe) for its use in food preparation. No food contact surface in the Baby Bullet is constructed with any hazardous substance and all external components (non-food contact surfaces) are within safe regulatory limits. Though not a food contact surface, the aluminum alloy nut was also tested, and determined by SGS to be with safe regulatory limits for each regulated substance. We hope that this generic response addresses any question about the presence of lead in the Baby Bullet.
****************************************
In my opinion, any amount of lead is too much.

Kasey

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23 Jackie M. February 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Everyone should be concerned for their children, but they should not freak out without taking in all the info available.

Every electrical appliance in your home has lead in it. Every electric item you use has lead, but all of those items are safe. The baby Bullet is safe. As far as I can tell, there had only been ONE problem, and it was made clear that the Baby Bullet was not the source of the lead.

END OF STORY

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24 Kristin February 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

It’s not the end of the story. There is a big different between exposed lead and lead that is embodied in other material. I wouldn’t wash my dishes in a sink with a lead fishing sinker or a spent lead bullet shell for the same reason I don’t think people should wash their Baby Bullet parts with other dishes. I also don’t recommend handling exposed lead on a regular basis.

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25 Kristin February 14, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I must apologize for my typos. I meant ot type big difference.

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26 Phillip Toth February 17, 2013 at 2:39 am

This is very alarming because lead is said to cause developmental problems in children when they are exposed to copious amounts. It is also said to cause neurological problems thus, it should be addressed properly.

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27 tamararubin@mac.com February 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm

If someone would like to send me a baby bullet – I will test with my XRF and happy to post results http://www.Facebook.com/MisleadMovie
http://kck.st/Y4nS1m

Also :
Lead Safe America Foundation
6637 SE Milwaukie Ave, Ste. 203
Portland, OR 97202

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28 kris Davidson March 16, 2013 at 12:33 am

Ok as a happy owner of this system and a concerned Mom i had my bullet tested by my local health department and on some heavy duty lead testing machines it did not i repeat DID NOT come up positive for lead…. Im not trying to bash the author of this article but i wanted to share what i learned with you all and I myself am going to continue using it.

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29 Andy Carlough October 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

While its always disconcerting when we feel as though our children are in danger I feel as thou hme testing kits has creating a witch hunt craze. Just like I wouldn’t test my children at home for disease or illness as that is better left to a professional who knows how to use the proper equipment to test, I would not hme test my water or anything else for lead. People go to school for many years to learn how to appropriately handle lead, water and other materials that are harmful to us. They spend just as many years in school and are educated on environmental variables as well as standards and limits. If you are concerned hire a professional to test as if you are this upset over it and the safety of your family the money should not matter. We reject so much that society has to offer based off our own fears. I agree that finding out the truth is important but in order to do that you need someone experienced in testing for lead because your own findings are compromised.

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30 Jennifer Foster December 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Does anybody have any update on the baby bullet lead issue? I just recieved a baby bullet as a gift. As a new mom I’m really concerned and wonder if I should just return it.

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