With my forray into the blogging world and reading blogs, I’ve come across rave reviews for the Bosch Mixer. It seems that all moms who feed their families healthy food and bake their own bread use the Bosch Mixer! Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I’d never heard of it before reading blogs about healthy cooking and then kept reading about it. I’ve been interested in a KitchenAid mixer for quite some time, so I set out to compare the two and decided whether or not to add the Bosch Mixer to my wish list.
After reading reviews on amazon and elsewhere, I realized that although many people love their KitchenAid mixers, there were a few commonly reported problems. KitchenAid mixers are often reported to leak oil; I even posted a poll on a private message board that I belong to and several moms there agreed that their KitchenAid leaked oil! I found many reviews here reporting problems with KitchenAid mixers. Along with leaking oil, some mixers just flat out stopped working, often times when people were trying to mix larger loaves of bread in them.
I couldn’t find nearly as many reviews of the Bosch Mixer, but the reviews I read all included the words “I love my Bosch Mixer.” After looking at this comparison chart, I was pretty convinced. Bosch has an 800 watt motor vs KitchenAid’s 575 watts. It has a three year motor warranty and 1 year on parts, vs KitchenAids 1 year warranty. The Bosch actually weighs less and is smaller (a big plus for my tiny kitchen), but is better at mixing bread dough in large batches. I was about to cross the KitchenAid off of my wish list and write in “Bosch Mixer.” ...but wait! What was it made of? The blender looked suspiciously like polycarbonate plastic (which would contain the toxin BPA). I had more research to do.
Whenever I typed “Bosch Mixer” in Google’s search engine, Pleasant Hill Grain always came up advertising themselves as “The Bosch Mixer Store: low prices, free shipping, and 25 years Bosch experience.” Alright, these people know their Bosch Mixers, I’ll ask them my questions. Pleasant Hill Grain’s website stated that the Bosch Mixer bowl was made of “super-tough Makrilon” and the blender attachment was made of “Lexan polycarbonate”. Lexan is a brand name polycarbonate, and definitely contains BPA. The bowl I wasn’t quite clear on. I Googled “Makrilon” and it came up as Makrolon, also a brand name polycarbonate, again, containing BPA. I couldn’t find information on any other websites selling Bosch Mixers that said what the mixer bowl and blender pitcher were made of.
I emailed Pleasant Hill Grain asking them what type of plastic the mixing bowl was made of. The first reply I received simply stated:
“Christy, I know the bowl is made of Makrilon plastic. Thank you, Dee”.
I replied thanking them for the email, but again asking for information about whether or not the Bosch mixer and blender contain BPA. I received this reply:
“...Bosch is made in Slovenia and according to what we know, it is against German manufacturing law to make anything with BPA. I feel pretty safe saying that the Bosch mixer and blender does not have BPA.... Tom”
I wasn’t thrilled with this reply; “prettty safe” didn’t sound very factual to me. After some searching, I discovered that KitchenResource.com was the Bosch distributor for the US. I contacted them with my questions. I simply wanted to know what type of plastic the mixing bowl and blender pitcher are made of and if they contain BPA.
My first response from Kitchen Resource stated that the blender is made of polycarbonate and that it was the only part of the Bosch Universal Mixer that was made of polycarbonate. They also included some information saying that the major concerns with polycarbonate are heating it, or bottles which contain liquids for longer amounts of time which may allow time for leaching.
I replied to Kitchen Resource, letting them know that Pleasant Hill Grain had assured me there was no BPA in the mixer or blender, and that they may want to clarify this information with them, as it was false. Their website stated that the bowl was Makrilon, which would contain BPA, so I asked for clarity on what type of plastic the bowl was made of.
My contact at Kitchen Resource replied stating that the mixer bowl was polypropylene and that he had asked for confirmation from the factory and would let me know for sure.
After three weeks I heard back:
“...The Bosch mixing bowl is PP (polypropylene). The Bosch blender jar is polycarbonate. At one time, Bosch used a polycarbonate from Bayer, trade named Makrolon, as the material to make their blender jars. I do not know what their source is for that plastic at this time. I have been assured (undocumented) that, because Germany is verrrry environmentally conscious, Bosch does not uses materials that can leach BP-A. There is some indication that some polycarbonate plastics are better than others. Those from China might be more suspect than those from Europe, for example. However, I do not have enough data to reach a firm conclusion about that.”
So far Pleasant Hill Grain, the 25 year Bosch authority, was wrong on two accounts 1) the Bosch Blender DOES contain BPA and 2) the mixer bowl is not made of Makrilon, nor was it ever.
I contacted the folks at ZRecs.com because they’ve done this type of consumer research with companies and plastics information. I forwarded them a few emails and their reply confirmed my thoughts:
“There are many things made of polycarbonate whose manufacturers will say "does not leach" BPA. Polycarbonate is, by its nature, composed of chains of BPA. There are many different ways to test whether or not a given plastic will leach BPA, and the results are influenced by many variables that are not regulated or independently monitored - test sensitivity, what the plastic is subjected to, and so on. We prefer (and recommend) products that do not contain BPA, as these are not subject to the (often secret) testing methodologies of companies.”
In the meantime Pleasant Hill Grain changed the information on their website after I had let them know I was in contact with their distributor and finding conflicting information. They did not reply to me or correct the erroneous emails they previously sent. I happened to find out that they had changed the information upon visiting their website again.
Whew, so what is the point of this long story? I am not interested in mud slinging, just in consumer advocacy. I’m concerned that it took me over a months worth of time, numerous email conversations, and being given false information several times just to find out the truth. Pleasant Hill Grain didn’t know the answer to my question, nor did they respond when it was revealed to them. I did finally figure out that the Bosch mixer is made of safe plastic, the blender is not. I absolutely will not purchase or use the blender until Bosch changes their plastic formulation to get rid of the BPA. Will I purchase or use the Bosch Mixer without the blender? I don’t know. I do find it unsettleing that companies aren’t sure what is in their products, especially when it comes to toxic chemicals. Does anyone else see a problem with this?