Woman warns against black plastic air fryers after discovering something unsettling

@taborplace/TikTok Enjoy The Life/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘NOTHING IS SAFE’: Woman warns against black plastic air fryers after discovering something unsettling

‘I tried to get a coffee pot without black plastic basket. Impossible.’

 

Braden Bjella

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Air fryers are increasingly becoming a kitchen staple. These small convection ovens allow people to cook foods in a manner similar to frying—only without all of the heavy oils that frying would typically require.

Given their present ubiquity, it’s no surprise that the simple device would spark some controversy. For example, one air fryer user claimed that she found her device to contain lead, worrying that some of the lead was leaching into her food and harming her child. Another claimed that an air fryer they bought at Costco blew up while in their kitchen.

While air fryers are often considered healthier than other ways of cooking food, one TikTok danger says that those who use air fryers are exposing themselves to more danger than they think.

Is black plastic poisonous?

In a video with over 601,000 views as of Saturday, TikTok user Beatrice (@taborplace), who calls herself “the anti-plastic lady,” explains why she believes black plastic air fryers to be dangerous.

“Black plastic is really, really toxic. It is probably contaminated with old electronic e-waste,” she starts.

“Black plastic has this huge supply and demand issue. Next time you go shopping for a kitchen appliance, you’re going to notice that it’s all black plastic,” she continues. “As a result, companies have trouble keeping up with the demand…

She says what various countries do—”because remember, this stuff is not done in the United States, it’s done all over the world”—they “illegally mix” in old electronic e-waste, which happens to be all black. “They’re mixing that in with plastic that ultimately goes on to be in contact with food,” she says.

This can be dangerous, she says, because e-waste can contain dangerous chemicals that should not be found in food-safe products like air fryers.

“One example is antimony. This is a neurotoxic heavy metal that is used in all processing of polyethylene terephthalate…Black plastic has been found to have super high levels of antimony as well. Lots of black plastic food containers had really high levels of antimony merely due to it being contaminated with recycled e-waste plastic pellets that it was not supposed to have,” she shares.

To conclude, while she says that one should avoid all plastic in general, she advises staying away from black plastic specifically given the potential exposure one could have to these chemicals.

Is what she’s saying true?

To start, is e-waste really being recycled into black plastic?

One 2018 study found that black plastic did, in fact, contain e-waste.

“There is mounting evidence that the demand for black plastics in consumer products is partly met by sourcing material from the plastic housings of end-of-life waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE),” writes study author Andrew Turner. “Inefficiently sorted WEEE plastic has the potential to introduce restricted and hazardous substances into the recyclate, including brominated flame retardants (BFRs), Sb, a flame retardant synergist, and the heavy metals, Cd, Cr, Hg and Pb.”

A 2023 study confirmed the presence of e-waste in black plastics; however, the potential danger of this practice was, as of yet, unsubstantiated, with the study saying that further testing is needed.

“Only a small number of studies made an explicit connection between chemical presence and human health risks. The results were inconclusive: most products had concentrations below concentration limits, but a non-negligible number of products substantially exceeded those concentration limits,” the study reads. While the study suggests that there could be danger here, it states that “more evidence to bridge the gap between recycled chemical presence and human health is needed.”

These new black plastics were found to contain antimony, as referenced by Beatrice. However, it is unclear if black plastic on the exterior of a device like an air fryer could really make its way into the food, which is cooked in an interior chamber that is not made of black plastic.

@taborplace Replying to @Alexis black plastic has lots of toxic chemicals 🫣😱 here are some great options for air fryers without it 😊😊😊😊 #blackplastic #airfryer #toxicchemicals #antimony ♬ original sound – Tabor Place

Commenters share their thoughts

In the comments section, some users shared their own black plastic experiences, while others noted the need for regulation in this area.

“WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WHEN THEY WONT DO THEIR JOB!!!” a user exclaimed.

“I tried to get a coffee pot without black plastic basket. Impossible. Bought an all metal one. Black plastic basket,” stated another.

“Bruh the first time I bought an air fryer, the instructions said it warm it up first and the whole house smelled like toxic plastic!! I turned it off and never used it,” offered a third.

The Daily Dot reached out to Beatrice via email.

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