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Toxic Cookware and Cutlery

Green Cookware and Cutlery: Is It Really?

Don’t be seduced by advertisements for “green” and/or nonstick cookware. Their nontoxic claims are most likely fraudulent. Below are the three types of cookware to NOT have in your kitchen. And don’t despair; there are safe, non-reactive alternatives.

1. Ceramic Coated Pans and Knives To make the so-called ceramic coatings, a chemically based polymer is melded onto an anodized metal surface. As these synthetic, plastic-like coatings are softer than metal, you can imagine what will happen. With normal use the polymer degrades. The life expectancy of a nonstick ceramic-coated pot or knife is about one year. Once the synthetic coating wears thin, pits or scratches, toxic metals like lead and cadmium can leach into foodstuffs. And the coating itself may contain toxic metals like arsenic.

My recommendation: Do NOT use ceramic-coated cookware. However, superior 100% ceramic cookware is non reactive; furthermore it withstands erosion and temperatures exceeding 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Also see Healthy Cookware; Food Tastes Best when Cooked in Clay; and 100% Ceramic: A Great Choice for Cookware.

2. Non-stick cookware is coated with a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene. The best known brand name is Teflon by DuPont If heated to 500 degrees Fahrenheit the polymers emit noxious fumes that are lethal to parakeets and certainly not healthy for humans. Once overheated, the coating starts to break down at the molecular level and toxic particles and gases, some of them carcinogenic, can be released.

So long before the pan is scratched, if it gets overheated, it’s reactive. Even though I never intend to boil a pot dry, I did so just last week. Had that pot been nonstick, its temperatures would have exceeded the safety limit. And don’t be fooled by Swiss Diamond Cookware; the polymer used to make it is PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene); the same toxic chemical that in Teflon.

3. Aluminum, Anodized Aluminum, and Cast Aluminum cookware are reactive and taint your food with aluminum. When ingested, aluminum is deposited in various bodily tissues and can cause illness and even death; it’s also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
When new, an anodized aluminum pot is fairly non-reactive; however, with use the surface predictably chips, peels and/or gets scratched. It’s then reactive and leaches heavy metals. Cast aluminum pans are more stable than thin aluminum pans, but they are reactive and therefore not recommended. Instead of baking a potato or other foods in aluminum foil, bake it on a stainless steel, oven-safe glass or ceramic surface.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

192 comments to Toxic Cookware and Cutlery

  • RWolf

    Thank you Rebbecca for your expertise. I appreciate the forum. Well here I am spending alot more cash than I wanted too, but don’t want to settle for low to mid-price range toxic cookware. Even expensive brands can be questionable as well. FYI everybody, wmfamericas.com is having a DEEPLY DISCOUNTED SALE on SILIT right now. I just had to jump on some stuff. Their running out of stock on some items so hurry!

    What do you think of Emile Henry? I just purchased their ceramic 4.2 quart Flame Top casserole/oven. Got a 20% discount by purchasing @ Bed & Bath online and bringing coupon into store for adjustment. They say they are lead and cadmium free. I tend to believe this, coming from an established French company such as this one. Do you agree? I hope I don’t break it , but think if a crack happened to develop, they might be good about a replacement.

    Any opinion on Duralex glassware? for glasses, plates and food storage. Their hard tempered and made in France.

  • Bitali

    Hi Rebecca, thanks for the info on non-toxic cookware. I am now worried about the ceramic dinnerware that I use to place my food everyday. Do those plain white ceramic plates and mugs which have a glossy finish contain ceramic glaze? I am looking at my mug right now and it has tiny scratches at the bottom. Is it still safe to use? Thank you in advance for your advice.

  • carrie

    OK?! WHAT are were supposed to use to cook food with? All these articles tell you which is bad for you none offer any good alternatives!!! Should we cook on a stone?!

  • Ghasak

    Thank you. I may switch to Silit ceramic (Silargan) is that true ceramic and safe to use?

  • Ghasak

    What is your opinion on Berndes ceramic cookware (in pearl) that is made in Germany? They claim to be PTFE PFOA Cadmium and Lead free. Is it safe to use?

  • RWolf

    I seem to be a little late to the thread, but i was hoping for some input. I’m looking to replace all my cookware with healthy alternatives. What a challenge! especially on a budget. This has been a process and very educational.

    What do you think of the high end Silit ceramic coated cookware made in Germany? They seem like a really good company. The coating and bonding process make the surface extra hard and durable. I don’t really see their cookware ever “wearing thin” and toxic metals leaking through. Cheaper ceramic coated pans I could see that happening.

    I looked into the 100% ceramic Ceramcor brand pans and my concern with them is that they can break easy and are expensive.

    Thats the stovetop any suggestions for the oven? A bake dish Clay? glass? ceramic?

    Thank you

    • In my experience, Silit is top of the line and I’ve daily used the same Ceramcor cookware since 2008 and I’m yet to break one. Yes, quality cookware is pricy, but it’s long lasting. Clay, ceramic and glass all work well for the oven and, as possible, clay and ceramic are superior to glass.

  • Neil

    Hi Rebecca,

    Great post, as I learnt a lot about toxins. I just got married, and we are looking to purchase our first cookware set. To be honest, I am a bit confused regarding what is “safe” from your post. We generally only use four products;
    1) Frying pan – for chicken, eggs, re-heating leftovers etc…
    2) Stock pot – For pastas, rice, boiling vegetables etc..
    3) Sauce pot – For tea, soups etc..
    4) Wok – For stir frying

    Looking through your post, I see you mostly only recommend 100% ceramic, but I have had trouble finding 100% ceramic for the above mentioned. Can you please recommend what we should go for? We were looking at ZWILLING brand for a new set. We currently using mostly non-stick regular pans.

    Thank you,

    Neil

    • For frying eggs, I use cast iron or stainless steel.
      For stock-pot, stainless steel.
      Saucepot–ceramic or enamel
      Wok–carbon steel

      Don’t waste your money on any reactive non-stick cookware such as ZWILLING.

  • Karen

    Thanks so much for your confirmation. Thank God that I have stumbled into this webpage before I made my purchase.
    Which brand make good carbon steel wok? In my country, the department stores carries mostly the non-stick coated woks (and expensive), due to the demand in the market.

    Also, should I throw out my electric rice cooker as all of them uses non-stick coating for their inner pot and start steaming my rice in an ceramic pot? What about those non-stick baking pans??? I am paranoid now. haha

  • Karen

    Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for sharing your valuable experience. I am looking to buy a good wok for Chinese stir frying and occassional deep frying. I saw that you endorsed on the Silit cookware in a reply to an earlier question but they seems to me to be also of non-stick coating that you have advised to stay away.
    http://www.silit.com/en/culinary-expert/frying/

    Similary, Le Creuset also has a non-stick pan. Does this belong to the non-stick that you mentioned to stay away?

    http://www.lecreuset.com/cookware/specialty-cookware/wok-with-glass-lid
    and
    http://www.lecreuset.com/cookware/specialty-cookware/12-nonstick-stir-fry-pan

    In your opinion, which will make a better stir-frying pan/work – Silit or Le Creuset?

    One last question. In Asia, a Korean company Happy calls has a few series of pans that is gaining a lot of attention and popularity – (1) double pans (2) Alumite ceramic pots (3) diamond pans. I supposed they belong to the non-stick and ceramic coated pans that we should aviod. There is a link to their website http://myhappycall.co.kr/en/.

    LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY TO MAKE MY DECSION. :)

    • You’re right, Happy Call uses “ceramic coating” and therefore are not recommended.

      Silit and Le Creuset are both enamel. I personally, however, prefer carbon steel for a wok because the purpose of cooking in a wok is quick heat transfer and you don’t get that in a cast-enamel pot.

  • Annie

    Hi ,Rebecca.thank you for your great knowledge on this.after reading your artical i have rung my God mother and my aunty to tell themto throw away all their alluminium cookware.i threw mine away years ago ,so did my mum but now i have more reason to tell other people to do the same.Being Asian,i do a lot of frying and stir fry so a good non stick wok is very vital.i have been using stone coated cookware and quite happy until i read this.so in short:
    -stay clear alluminium,non-stick,anything coated?
    -best to use 100% ceramic and porclan?
    -use cast iron for dry and non acidy food.?
    I am planing to buy a chinese carbon steel wok and “cure” it so it wont stick ( i had a restaurant years ago and saw my cook done it)
    Rebecca,any idea what is the best cast iron wok should be like?
    Also should i better off use my stainless steel sauce pans for soup and deep fry or my 100% ceramic with shiny glazed all over ones?
    Greaty appriciated

  • Lorraine

    Can you tell me if Moneta whitech made in Italy is non toxic.

  • What about the Lodge line of cast iron? I’m concerned about the their line Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron and Lodge Elements made in China versus their Lodge Logic line made in the U.S. Love your articles!

    • I’ve not used the Lodge line so I can’t offer first hand input. The marine grade stainless is indeed top quality. As Lodge says that their China-made enamel is made “according to their specifications” be in touch with them directly to see what this means.

  • Delia Bautista

    Thanks for the safety health information about cookware.
    How about carbon steel woks and Bodum Chambord enamel coated cast iron woks. I know Le crueset is a good brand and expensive. What about Bodum Chambord brand?

    • The point of a wok is for quick heat transfer. That’s why I use and recommend carbon steel. Whereas a heavy cast enamel pot better absorbs and retains heat and so is best for other applications.

  • Dear Ms. Rebecca,

    I really appreciate your help to give us the best healthy food , I want to know your opinion regarding Zepter stainless steel. I watched the demo and it seems that the pan in non stick pan. Also do you have any idea if they put harmful material to their cookware to avoid sticking than normal stainless steel .
    Waiting for your reply , Once more thank you for your great help .

    • Zepter pots are a quality stainless steel (AISI 304) that use a surface finishing process (the opposite to electroplating) that increases the concentration of chrome (Cr) on the surface of the bottom of the pan. This nearly doubles the chrome content in the first 0.5-1 micron of the surface which creates the non-stick ability. Check out online reviews to determine if these pots will suit your needs.

  • Anonymous

    Good post. I learn something totally new and
    challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday.

  • Dear Ms. Rebecca,

    I really appreciate your help to give us the best healthy food , but I want to know a specific reply about first titanium cookware made in Germany , they stated it is very health even if it is scratched , please do not tell me to go back to the related link because it makes me more confused , please give me your opinion about this brand specifically.

    Once more thank you for your time & great help

    • Perhaps you’ll be willing to help me. All non-stick cookware is reactive and therefore NOT recommended (even if it contains titanium). So by using that information alone, is your confusion resolved? Kindly advise me.

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  • mahm

    Hi and thank you for your very useful tips.
    My wife intends to buy a set of ceramic coated cookware made by Pedrini of Italy. Could you please advice me on safety of these cookware set. Thanks in advance.

  • Ivy

    Hi Rebecca! Is clay cookware safe? Can you recommend a clay pot manufacturer? Do you prefer Xtrema ceramic cookware over clay pots? Thanks!

    • You’ll find your answers in the links in this blog (100% Ceramic and Food Tastes Best when Cooked in Clay). Depending upon what I’m cooking, I use clay, ceramic, stainless, enamel or cast-iron.

      • lynn

        Rebecca, all this talk of toxic cookware has got me thinking about what we bathe in. Bathtubs are made of a lot of the same materials as what we cook in, and worse! And here we are soaking our entire bodies in hot water inside a toxic casing of plastics, lead, and acrylic paints! Imagine what dreadful byproducts get leeched into our bodies on a daily basis. We just had our bathtub refinished and the smell was unbearable. However, 3 days after the job, we already see cracks and ripples on the floor of the tub. The floor of the tub feels “sticky” and feels like a combination of paint and glue. Obviously, the refinish is porous and leeching its components into our tub and skin with each bath. Perhaps you could do an article on green bathrooms as well? Bathing is such an important ritual that SHOULD be clean and healthy. In reality, it is the leading cause of lead poisioning and respiratory problems, among others. Your daily shower, bath is where you are exposed to the majority of the toxins in your home. Its frustrating because I’ve scoured the internet and asked local remodelers and there seems to be no answer to this. Its just a toxic vessel. Period. The only option is to stop taking baths and limit the amount of time in your shower. I miss my dead sea salt soaks. But what about our children and babies who have to bathe in tubs? Rebecca, PLEASE devote an article to this topic. It would be much appreciated!!!

  • RussP

    Ozari Green Earth pans say they are 100% ceramic but are priced WAY less than other ceramic pans. I have read your articles many times trying to figure out if the Ozari pans are safe as my wife is extremely sensitive. Please provide a direct answer if you can. Also are BEKA 100% ceramic pans safe? Please I need guidance

    • Ceramic coated cookware is NOT a true ceramic and not recommended. Look again at the products you mention and you’ll see the terms “coated” and “non-stick.”

      • sara1

        Is ceramic coated cookware the same thing as ceramic glaze? I ask because xtrema does a ceramic glaze on their tea kettle. (It is so hard to find non toxic tea ware).

        How do you feel about Le Creuset? Their tea kettle and cookware is enamel on steel, however they phrase it as “finished with a porcelain enamel finish” which sounds an awful lot like the “coated” versions you’ve recommended we stay away from.

        Sorry to pepper you with questions, but you seem to be one of the few who knows what they’re talking about regarding this.

        • Ceramic glaze is a non-reactive ceramic top coat. It’s what potters traditionally use. What we steer clear of are synthetic (polymer) “ceramic” coated, non-stick pans that are simply a “plastic” stuck to a metal pan. The porcelain enamel finish of Le Creuset is excellent and non-reactive.

  • suzie

    I was wondering if the silit silargan cookware is a good option for someone who has a nickel allergy and is unable to handle heavier pots/pans that are 100% ceramic. is there any danger with any other metals like chromium seeping into your food with silit? do you find that the xtrema cookware is heavy to handle?

    • Enamel on cast iron pots are heavy. However enamel on steel (such as Silit) are less so. All enamel cookware is non-reactive. Email Xtrema and ask the weights of the pans you’re considering, then you can determine.

  • Russ

    Ozari Green Earth pans say they are 100% ceramic but are priced WAY less than other ceramic pans. I have read your articles many times trying to figure out if the Ozari pans are safe as my wife is extremely sensitive. Please provide a direct answer if you can. Also are BEKA 100% ceramic pans safe?

  • gail moore

    so confusing reading all this. So you recommend only using 100% ceramic cookware and nothing else?

    • I prefer ceramic cookware for most uses. However I also rely on my stainless steel pressure cooker, my cast iron crepe pans, and my cast enamel and enamel on steel cookware. Simply be aware of your options and chose accordingly.

  • Mimi

    Rebecca,
    Do you have any recommendation on electric pannini presses? what are your thoughts on non-stick brands available out there like Cuisinart, etc?
    thank you

    • I’d warm the sandwich on a cast iron pot or crepe pan and “press” it with a heavy lid rather than buying yet another gadget; and a non-stick one at that.

  • Jaahda JinnaH

    I was surprised to find a ‘new brand’ of ‘green cookware’ in my health food shop called neoflam with an ‘ecolon coating’ (https://www.neoflam.com.au).
    The word coating got me suspicious – however I wonder if you can cast an opinion please? it has thrown me that they are endorsed by the, usually fussy health food shop and another organic distributor.
    Thanks so much.

  • Joan Johnson

    Just wanted to point out that your comment about aluminum being a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is unfounded. Recent reports in the New England Journal of Medicine and other have cast aside this notion as their is no direct link, risk between aluminum and Alzheimer. In fact there is no medical research that backs that claim.

  • Jodie

    What would you recommend as a good broiler pan? These are hard to find in 100% ceramic. Most of them are porcelain coated. I believe I have a cheap one by Range Kleen. I’m assuming if this scratches that I’m being exposed to toxins? Thanks for your help.

    • The porcelain coated range pans that come with an oven are typically sturdy and scratch resistant. If it chips, it would then be reactive. I’d keep what you have and not worry.

  • Philippa

    Have read and retread your article a number of times, have been looking at the Silit range of frypans, they state they are made from ultra hard ceramic and high gloss ceramic exterior finish. Would you consider these to be a safe and good option? Thank you

  • neil whittle

    can someone please tell me what effect the residue that is left on some ceramic delph when scratched by stainless steel
    or crome plated cutlery

  • Philo

    Hi Rebecca, thanks for this great article… I have been using un-glazed handmade clay pots for over a year now and loving it.  Initilly it was a little different than cooking in metals but now I’am so used to it that i cant go back. The food tastes much better and knowing that its metal, chemical and glaze free is good! I’ve replaced most of my metal pot and pans with it and I’m glad I did so.

  • Sri

    Hi,
    Thank you for some valuable tips/inputs about various cookware in the market.
    On doing some research i find that aluminum is toxic. I want to buy the tri-ply ALL-CLAD stainless steel cookware. This has a layer of aluminum. Is this safe?

    Please explain. Thank you

    • Any quality stainless steel pot has an inner layer of a metal, most typically aluminum, for enhanced heat conduction. Because the aluminum in a tri-ply pot is sandwiched between stainless layers, the pot is non-reactive.

  • Dave

    You seem to speak with much authority, can you please share with me where you obtained your data? What studies are you referencing and can you please provide a link to them? I’ve found many similar sites talking about various unhealthy things but rarely do they provide any specific studies; instead they are simply regurgitating false information.

    • Thanks for your question. Yes, a lot of what I report is based upon my 40 plus years experience as an investigative food journalist. What specific question do you have? And I’ll answer.
      But if its about ceramic coating then perhaps common sense will provide the answer. Any synthetic (i.e. a “ceramic” coating) applied to a metal is less durable than the metal itself and in time will erode.

  • Lisa

    I also wondered if you can help me , I have an induction hob and have just bought the emille henry tagine without realising it would not work without using an induction disc , the emille Henry one has mixed reviews , do you know if it is non toxic ,or of any others that may be better and non toxic , thank you so much for your guidance it’s invaluable, I have ME CFS ,allergies etc and cannot thank you enough for sharing

  • Lisa

    Thank you for the great information,I have villeroy boch oven to tableware products .i think they are porcelain are they non toxic .

  • Nina

    Hello Rebecca,

    I am looking for a large deep fry pan that isn’t very heavy to lift.You say Le Creuset is a good brand…they have a Forged Hard-Anodized Nonstick Deep Fry Pan, is this a good healthy choice?

    Thank you

  • Lou

    My apologies since you have answered this question in one form or another a few times on here. But I was looking at Calphalon ceramic enamel pans, are these something that you would deem is okay? Are they at all in same realm of safety as le creuset?

    Also what about anodized? Thank you so much for your time and knowledge.

    • I do NOT recommend any non-stick ceramic surface because its not a true ceramic. It’s a scam and totally unlike real ceramic such as Le Creuset. Anodized is a hardened aluminum and not recommended.

      • Lou

        Thank you very much. I should have paid better attention and noticed that Calphalon claimed to be non-stick. Is there anything other than Le Creuset or Xtrema that you would recommend? Thank you again, this site is truly helpful and such a relief!

  • Kate

    Are Terraflavor frying pans safe to use or are they the same as Green pans?
    Kate

  • Hi Rebecca,

    GREAT site! I am so confused. I just purchased Terre D’Umbria, pot and lid terracotta from DeSilva in Italy from TJMaxx. It does not say the pot and lid are lead free. It is a red glazed lid and exterior with an orange glazed interior. Do you have any information on this?

    Many thanks for your help!

    A. Perlette

    • Here’s what the company says:
      The lead content in the pot is minimum, it meets Directive EEC 84/500 15/10/84 and Cal.Prop.65 for leachable Lead and Cadmium in ceramic ware.
      Please consider that as soon as our containers arrive in US, they are checked by FDA.
      Test reports are carried out by an authorized and certified company.Obviously we can guarantee for our products and not for those of other competitors.
      You can also contact us writing back at export@desilvaceramiche.it.
      At disposal for any further information you may need,

  • Laurie

    You mentioned nylon cooking utensils (spoons spatulas?) should not be used for cooking. Can you recommend an alternative beside wood? I would like to get a ceramic or enameled ( le creuset type) skillet and am not sure is a stainless steel spatula will scratch that or not. Thanks!

    • Yes, metal can scratch enamel and ceramic surfaces. I use wooden utensils and (taking care to not overheat them) silicone spatulas. I favor silicon over nylon as the former has greater heat resistance. Nylon melts at 400 degrees F. and is more reactive than silicone which degrades at 600 degrees.

  • Uncle Jed

    Cookware made with non stick Teflon coating today, are made without PFOA materials. Although I personally do not use non stick coated pans, the facts are Teflon has been reformulated and new polymers are now sold to manufacturers without PFOA or any similiar product. Just an FYI.

    • Yes, in 2014 Dupont (manufacturer of Teflon) and other companies will phase out the use of cancer-causing PFOAs in their non-stick products.

      However PFOA is being replaced by a newer non-stick technology, PTFE. As per my blog, I do NOT recommend PTFE coated cookware.

      • Uncle Jed

        PTFE is and always has been Teflon. As of last fall, 2013, all Teflon products, including PTFE are no longer made with PFOA. That includes clothing, industrial products and the 2 or 3 microns of coating on the cookware you mention. The products are hundreds of times safer than previous technology and selling like gangbusters by the way.

  • blake

    i am looking for a 100 % ceramic cookware ( saucepans especially) that have handles that don’t overheat. I see extrema offer products with handle covers. does this necessarily mean that the handles get hot? if so are there any 100 % ceramic products with a different kind of handle that are more suited to those of us who are forgetful frequently burn them selves?

    • Mechef145

      I would say that metal cookware is not the safest… When I learnt about metals and chemicals getting into our food, I moved on to pure clay cookware (miriams earthen cookware). The ones I have are lead and cadmium free, most importantly it holds all the nutrients in the food and cooks evenly.

  • Agnes

    I was given some cookware by my mother-in-law recently. I googled them and came up with the following information. I would like to ask if they are non-reactive and safe to use for cooking as they claimed. Please kindly advise. Thanks.

    F.I.R. had been recognized universally to promote health and treat various diseases including cancers, thanks to its ability to detoxify and activate cells. Through over 10 years of experiments, it is also strongly proven that F.I.R. can do miracles to food.

    DNI offers the only health care cookware in the world! Now, you can stop worrying on harms that food brings. Not only would it rids of toxins and all other harmful particles including food chemicals and radiations from electrical stoves, DNI cookwares also increase food oxygen and nutrients to the maximum point. Food becomes healthy, nutritious and non-heaty.

    What is more, save more when F.I.R. helps you to cook faster and of course, 100% fumeless. Yes, say goodbye to greasy kitchens and exhaust fans! Also, play a part in the green movement to save world from pollutions.

    With continuous usage, it could effectively treat and prevent health problems like gastric, uric acid, goiter, high cholesterol, arthritis, heaty body and even cancers.

    • The only online info I can find about Indonesian-made DNI Bio Energy FIR cookware doesn’t add up. And those are pretty amazing, shall we say, unbelievable, claims. What is your pan made of? Does it have a non-stick surface? If it has a non-stick surface, don’t use it.

  • Cheryl

    Thank you for your informative site. Can you use stainless steel whisks and utensils in stainless steel saucepans and bowls with safety or will it scratch them and then they leach nickel? (I have seen so many cooking shows and restaurants where they do this). One of your blogs says – ‘Once scratched, all stainless steel, will impart metallic ions into food’, however it seems inevitable this will happen. If stainless steel utensils are not suitable, what do you recommend that whisks and stirring spoons are made of? Silicon?

  • kimia

    Hello
    I have a question about STONE coating cookwares. I want to buy something healthy and these kind of cookwares are recently advertised. How are they? the ones with stone layers. and also some with “reinforced with particles of silicon and aluminum, naturally occurring minerals in the form of rock material” label. PLEASE HELP ME I AM CONFUSED…

  • I left my kitchen aid stainless steel tea kettle on the stove top until all the water dissipated and the kettle changed color on the bottom inside and out due to such high temperatures. My question is if heating up any piece of stainless steel cookware to this point would cause ill health effects with continued use. Thanks much

  • Carter

    Do you know if the Cuisinart knives are 100 percent ceramic and safe?

  • Michelle

    I have a Le Creuset dutch oven and it’s coating is chipping in several places down to the iron. I know cast iron is safe to use, but should I be concerned about the chipped coating?I don’t know what it’s made from. Thanks!!

    • The enamel that coats the cast iron is non-reactive, but where do the enamel fragments go as those chips enlarge? Into your soup! Best to pass on ingesting chips of glass-like enamel.

      Yes, cast iron is “safe” when cooking non-acidic foods or dry foods. But its iron and other metals leach into acid foods (tomatoes, wine, lemons, etc) as well as liquids. I use cast iron for pancakes and steaks but never for soups, sauces or anything with an acid ingredient.

      • Michelle

        Thanks for your feedback! It looks like my original post was edited or somehow part of it got deleted. When I typed my post I had wrote that I had a La Creuset “knock-off” from a particular store. I want to clarify that I did not have a La Creuset pot chip. I would hope at that price level, the quality would be better! ;) I do think I will make the investment in one of those. But is there any reason to be concerned with the enamel in other brands?

        • Oh, thanks for your clarification. So perhaps you’ll tell us the brand of your inexpensive enamel pot that others can learn from your experience. To answer your question, enamel is non-toxic. However thin layers chip and you don’t want to ingest either the enamel or be exposed to the metal that underlies the enamel.

          • Michelle

            My pot was from World Market… it was the store brand. I love the pot… great size, pretty color. It was from about 3 years ago and they have since changed their design so I don’t know if the chipping would still be an issue. I still think I am going to go ahead and get a high quality brand instead.

  • Alison

    I have been using my AMC stainless steel pans for over 40years. They hold a lifetime guarantee. I use the minimum of water if steaming or boiling and a smear of cooking oil if I want to fry or roast. I have never had any problems with pitting or scratching and thankfully I have never burned anything whilst using them. I have cooked with them on the hob and in the oven. They were pretty expensive when we bought them but I love them and they look as good now as they did when I first got them. I think the company is South African

  • Rebecca,

    I use Emile Henry cookware and have always believed it to be safe. It is ceramic and made in France of burgundy clay. Have you tried this line? What is your opinion of it?

  • gayathri

    How safe is hard anodized cookware. Kindly respond…I found one such in tarrington house cookware.

  • anh

    I ask xtrema and ceramcor customer service where their products are made in and they told me in China that made me hold back ordering from them. Do you have any suggestion for USA made products. I have 1 more question that what is the best choice for a tock pot. I am using stainless steel but I’m concerned about its food reactive.Thank you for your time.

    • I veer away from Chinese-made products that lack a legitimate paper trail demonstrating quality. Look on Ceramcor’s web page to see test results on their product. It is indeed “clean.”

    • Fred

      anh — stainless steel is the best for all cooking, except where the food tends to stick to pan. Even then, a good fat will stop it from sticking – NOT PAM (or other brands, it’s made from GMO soy lecithin.
      Stainless steel has been attacked by conspiracy theorists for decades now, but it doesn’t leach any appreciable amounts of nickel or chromium into food. It’s “self healing”, if you scratch it, the scratch immediately forms protective surface.

  • Kashfia

    Hi rebecca,
    I have to fry fish and egg at regular basis, as i do not like preserved cooked food. and do not have much time, as i am a student. so non-stick is important for me. Could you PLZ PLZ suggest me which is better: PTFE and PFOA free nonstick fry pan? or white bright ceramic coated fry pan? or any other alternative that DO NOT STICK FOOD…

    • There are so many quick ways to prepare fish and eggs besides frying; and when you want to fry, use more fat to prevent sticking. If you simply MUST have a nonstick pan, then I’d check out customer reviews as some non-stick pots are a better quality product. My guess is that the more pricy ones are probably better quality. But as soon as you see it degrade, toss it…..and then, perhaps, you’ll be game to replace it with a decent pot.

      • Kashfia

        Thanks for your reply Rebecca. you are really great. I am waiting for your review. and yes, I will NOT use it when it degrades. and I do have heavy weight iron pans in my country… I need nonsticks just for my one year study plan in an overseas country. and plz note that, I may not be able to buy the pots that are too expensive. rather suggest me if I can buy a PTFE and PFOA free nonsticks that are available in retail shops like Japanhome. Thanks again!

        • Regrets, I provide the basic information and it’s up to you to do product research to determine the brand that best suits you.

        • Fred

          Kashifa — you mentioned cast iron cookware. It was tested and found to leach up to 2600mg of iron into food. That’s a massive amount, a typical Iron supplement may be 30mg or less. My wife was tested and found to have high levels od iron, then I read the cookware test article and told her to stop using the cast iron pan, and her iron level fell down.
          I agree though, cast iron will give you best results for flavour and texture.

  • David

    Rebecca,

    I have just stumbled across this and another of your articles on my search for answers about my new stainless steel cookware set. Thanks so much for the info.

    I purchased a cheap stainless set by “sunbeam” from a “liquidation world” type retail store, but I’m noticing that there is no designation (such as 18-10 or 316) for the alloy type.

    I just found out today both that nickel can be a concern, and that there are so many variations of stainless steel, simply any element or scrap metal can be included in the product you’re buying. I find this a little alarming; though the cookware set does say “stainless” steel, it could contain any amount of reactive elements.

    have you heard of this phenomenon or could you point me in the direction to find out what is really included in this product?

    Thanks in advance, ill be “adding you to my bookmarks” right away!

    • Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. It’s the chromium which makes it relatively non-reactive; whereas carbon steel has less chromium and rusts.

      High quality cookware often uses 18/10 (18% chromium and 10% nickel) but you may also find 18/0 or that which is nickel free.

      If you do not scour or scratch your pots, the protective passive film of chromium oxide will effectively block corrosion and keep your pot non-reactive no matter what metals it might contain. So if a food scorches, soak it with water and baking soda or salt until you can easily remove the burned matter without scratching your pots.

      So in the meantime, enjoy your pots.

  • […] you mean? No I am talking about the 100% ceramic. Not the "ceramic non- stick coating"! Toxic Cookware and Cutlery | Rebecca Wood Healthy Cookware | Rebecca Wood […]

  • I have a set of Wearever and a set of T-fa Armaral. Are either of these safe from toxins?

    • I don’t know. Look for the company information online (or write to them) to find out what they’re made of and then, using the guidelines in my article, you’ll have your answer :)

  • Pauline

    Aloha, So what type of mugs do not contain lead? I know glass but I like ceramic mugs….would the Le Creuset be the best choice? I should throw out all my Starbucks mugs huh? I notice that they looked scratched.(black marks)

  • Roshan

    Rebecca, Thank you for all your helpful comments. I am interested in buying stonedine cookware. Are they safe to use?

  • sofia

    Hi,
    What do you think about dr. Mercola 100% ceramic cookware?
    Are they worth to buy? I live in Europe and they can deliver it to me, but I wanted to make sure, that they are safe.
    Sofia

  • Lisa Jong

    Hi Rebecca

    I fully understand now “Non-stick” pan is not good to use anymore, very dangerous too. Thank you so much for telling us!

    I recently found there has a new cooking ware in the market called “Nano-Ceramic Cookware” (or called Blanc Nano-ceramic cookware)- white colour surface frypan, wok, baking tray, soup pot etc., they said Nano material from Korea, but believe that they are made in China……

    Anyway, I am looking for a new & safe frying pan…… as I fry fish and meat frequently. Do you know this kind of new technology? Is it safe for high temperture cooking daily?

    Another query is: regarding Le Creuset cookware, they also have white colour coating cookware, is it safe too?

    Thank you so much for your advise.

    With warm regards
    Lisa from Hong Kong

  • C

    Hi Rebecca, never mind question re waterless vapo seal cookware/salad master. I think I got companies mixed up on web. I am sold on Ceramcor xtrema cookware. This is just what I’ve been looking for. Your site was very informative in ruling out other things. Ceramcor sells nylon cooking tools. I am assuming this better than plastic tools? They also recommend wooden spoons. Which do you prefer? Also if this cookware gets scratched is it only cosmetic or do I need to replace? Thank you! -C

    • Ceramcor’s silicon (not nylon) cooking tools are non reactive. As the pots are 100% ceramic, they’re non-reactive scratches or otherwise.

    • Fred

      Nylon tools don’t belong to any kitchen. Altho, being very cheap, they are quite popular. As long as I was in the work force, nylon was never approved for contact with food. So these utensils puzzle me, I feel it’s another case of massive corruption of FDA, approving something that’s (potentially) toxic to humans, for a huge bribe.
      BTW — did you know DuPont was recently (2, 3 years ago,?) convicted in US court for lying about “safety” of Teflon (PTFE?), and fined 18 millions dollars. It’s what they earn in a day, of a week, a joke.

  • Hi Rebecca, Thank you so much for your informational website. I am looking into the Chantal Enamel on Steel Cookware. You stated that Chantal is one of your favorites :) My question is, does Chantal also provide evidence of no chromium or lead in their Enamel like Xtrema does? I”m more concerned with how easy it Xtrema pots are to break in my house with children around!

    Thank you for your time,
    Jeana

  • Bekah

    Does the non-stick waxy coating on parchment paper contain the same horrible chemical that is in Teflon? I’ve been reading that microwave popcorn bags and fast food sandwich wrappers contain that chemical, and many health websites are saying parchment paper does too. It’s just hard to know what is true and what is hype. If it is true, I think I will start using brown paper bags for cooking, instead of parchment paper. I would love to have your thoughts.

    • Use 100% unbleached parchment paper; it’s coated with non-reactive silicon and not the chemical, quilon.

    • Fred

      I am glad you asked, I have been wondering myself. Microwave popcorn packages and take out packages are coated with evil chemical (sorry I forget the name, I don’t need it, I don’t eat out) to keep all the trans fats (yammy) inside, not to ooze out.

  • Karina

    Greetings,
    Do you know anything about Zepter cookware? The company position it’s product as very healthy. It is very expensive. Mostly popular in Europe.
    Thanks a lot!
    Karina

  • [...] Read the full article here and learn more about cooking healthy. [...]

  • C K

    Good day,

    I have really enjoyed your site and feedback. I have been eagerly looking for healthy flatware (forks, knives, spoons) to eat with. If stainless steel can leach toxins, does it not stand to reason that flatware can as well? Most flatware are either plastic or stainless steel and this worries me greatly. Please advise- I look forward to your advice! Thanks!

    • You’re welcome. Enjoy your stainless steel flatware. As it is prolonged and high temperatures that increase the ion exchange in stainless steel, flatware is safe.

  • Leanne

    Hi,

    I was wondering what you thought about the German brand Silit? They have their own ceramic coating that they say is non reactive but it is still a coating.

    Your thoughts on this would be valued.

    • The brand Slilt is traditional and legitimate ceramic cookware and non reactive. What you want to avoid is the synthetic non-stick so called “ceramic” cookware.

      • Fred

        admin — I have a question about cearamic cookware. How is the heat conductivity? As far I know, ceramic doesn’t conduct heat as well as metal. When I was very poor, I had a set of glass cookware, and it was fine, VERY INEXPENSIVE, but it had this “time delay” reaction (slow heat transfer), which was very inconvenient for cooking.
        What is the cooking experience with ceramic? It is quite costly, and I don’t want to splurge, only to find out I don’t like it.

  • [...] Cookware and Cutlery: Is It Really? Green Cookware and Cutlery: Is It Really? by Rebecca Wood Toxic Cookware and Cutlery | Rebecca Wood excerpt from above: [...]

  • Pleader

    How about wear ever ceramic cooking surface.they say it does not contain any metals like cadmium or any polymers. Is it ok to broil and fry ?

  • Lim C.c

    Hi, I m looking for rice cooker with non toxic inner pot. But most of the brand with non stick coating. The brand, Buffalo, claims that their inner pot with stainless steel clad for outer & inner & aluminium at center layer. Is this safe? Please advise. Thanks.

  • Dee

    Is parchment paper safe?

  • LT

    Hi there! I was researching non-toxic cookware and was very happy to stumble upon your article, Rebecca. Thanks very much. I have a question that no doubt will reveal the seemingly limitless depths of my ignorance about this subject: I looked at the Le Creuset site, and it says that their cast iron is porcelain coated, which I thought meant that it was indeed enameled/ceramic coated?

    Could you tell me the difference between their porcelain coated products and other brands’ ceramic/enameled products?

    Any light you could shed on this would be very helpful. I’m finding the process of information-gathering on this subject to be very arduous, all kids of conflicting information…thanks a lot!

    • You’re welcome!
      Porcelain enamel is made by fusing powdered glass to a metal substrate by firing, typically between 1,382 and 1,562 °F. Any brand of enamel cookware is made with this process.

      “Ceramic” coated cookware is a marketing ploy. While a ceramic coating can take higher temperatures 850F than the PTFE (thermal plastic) coating it scratches within a year of normal use.

      Yes, Le Crueuset’s skillets with black enameled interiors better withstand higher cooking temperatures.

  • Christina

    Thank you Rebecca for posting this information. Toxic cookware is an issue becoming more prevalent by the day and its by awareness that we will be able to hopefully put an end to this epidemic.
    With regards to ALL CLAD…though it is made of high quality stainless steel and void of a nonstick surface, even stainless steel, when heated can be leaching heavy metals and toxins into your food. Currently SALADMASTER produces the only non-toxic cookware in the world. This cookware is made from a 316 stainless steel with titanium. This grade of stainless steel, 316, does not expand and contract while heating and this prevents any metals from leaching out of your pan and into your food. With a simple baking soda soda test (heating baking soda water on high until almost boiled out) you can taste what subtances, if any, are leaching out of your pans. With the SALADMASTER cookware, I hae noticed that what you put in is what you get out.
    Thanks again for bringing awareness to this issue!

    • At SaladMaster.com it says:
      …provides the maximum resistance to chemical reactions with the salts, acids, and alkalis in the food being prepared.”
      As I read the statement it says “maximum resistance” but it offers no science to back it up. My understanding is that metals are reactive. Kindly provide some data.

  • Hi Rebecca,

    Am in process of replacing old, scratched cookware with Xtrema, thank you for the 10% discount you arranged with them. I have a Breville Smart Convection oven which I love but just realized it’s got a “non stick ” coating inside the oven walls. After all these years NOT using any teflon or other non stick cookware I”m concerned that I somehow missed this one? Is this different because I’m not putting food directly onto the surface or is it the same thing with chemicals going into the food from the sides of a hot oven? Thanks as ever for your sage advice. Blessings, Jane

    • The only problem with non-stick surfaces on the interior of oven walls is if heated to 500 degrees F. or above, it will emit toxic fumes. So perhaps if you are broiling, turn the kitchen fan on and/or open a window.

  • Linda da silva

    I’m concerned that you mentioned to stay away from all nonstick . “All Clad” stainless steel cookware has a stainless steel finsh inside the pans & they are not sold as non-stick pan. Have you seen their pans?? In fact, they have their own non-stick collection. I see a smooth stainless steel interior when I look inside their pans. The difference is instead of a clear surface matching the outside of the pan …it is a smooth surface with circles beginning in the center and going thru out the interior until the pan side. They call it a starburst stainless finish. I chose to consider “All Clad” because of their high quality stainless steel.They are noted to last a lifetime.”ALL Clad” pans cook only in low temperatures because of the 5 layers of aluminum and stainless steel.Furthermore,they require oil or butter to prevent food from sticking. Clean up is easy so long as you use “Bar Keepers Friend” (a non abrasive cleaner) to keep the pot inside polished and looking like new…but then all stainless pots require “Bar Keeper Friend” to maintain their beauty. Did your research find out that “ALL CLad” stainless pans are reactive? Please clarify. I feel like I was missing something when you considered stainless steel nonstick. Thank you so much. This is an enormous expense.

  • Linda da silva

    Do you know if the starburst coating inside the AllClad stainless steele is reactive?
    They are easy to clean as a stainles steel finish but one MUST follow the directions.Company says they are not reactive & do not leach.
    Thank you.

  • Is the green pan safe for cooking?

    • The “ceramic” coatings on green pans is reactive and therefore not recommended. Ideally your cookware will be non-reactive like enamel, 100% ceramic or stainless steel.

  • Ola

    Dear Rebecca, thank you very much for this post. I’d like to spread the information about the health hazards of ceramic-coated pans among Polish readers. I’ve been looking for some published research results on the subject but all I found is this: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/12/ceramic-coated-frying-pan-toxic/. Would you be so kind as to give us some links to websites that publish some information on the subject? Thank you in advance,
    Ola

    • Ola, Thanks for your excellent question. Yes, they’re new and I’m yet to see published research. However Teflon maker, DuPont, says:
      Silicone Coatings use synthetic resins that can be applied to specially prepared metal surfaces and bonded to the metal by baking. Sol-Gel, or so-called ceramic coatings, are solvent-based products. Both types tend to lose their nonstick characteristic…...

  • linda desilva

    Corningware cookware:
    Question: Is scratched Corningware safe to still cook with? And is it still safe to use it to store cooked food?
    Thank you.

  • Linda da silva

    Thank you for your suggestion. We were advised not to use ceramic coated cookware ,because of metals,polmers etc. therefore,what ceramic cookware brands do you recommend for me to research that are safe.
    Thank you greatly.

  • Linda da silva

    Thank you for your suggestion about scratches on stainless steel.I’m still left with not knowing which cookware to purchase . Stainless steel even when careful using wooden utensils and soaking not scouring, my experience is that it will still scratch thus sending out metallic ions. Some of the most expensive pots( All Clad) have scratches from just being handlled at William Solloma stores. I am going thru detox of heavy metals therefore, I need cookware that will not put back into my body that which is being elimanated. Any final suggestions? Enjoy you day! Thanks.

  • I am researching safe stainless steel cookware. Consumer reports recommends Calphalon Comtemporary ( 3 layers: exterior is stainless steel, then a layer of aluminium, then the interior is stainless steel.Aluminium helps to induct heat. I like also the All Clad d5 line which has 5 layers of stainless steel alternating with aluminum and interior is stainless steel. It claims to have superior even heating.All Clad is made in Pennslyvania,USA were as Calphalon is made in China which make me weary. Do you have thoughts about these 2 cookware sets? Will the All Clad be a better investment?
    Are they safe for not releasing toxins? thanks!

    • Yes. by all means research and in this way you’ll deduce your own personal choice. Stainless steel, no matter it’s country of origin, is stainless steel. Once scratched, all stainless steel, will impart metallic ions into food as I have described. Take care to soak off any burned food rather than scour it off.

  • What do you think about Cuisinart green gourmet hard anolized eco-friendly nonstick ceramice 10′ pan? Does it have cadmium? Is it safe.

  • Janet

    Now my housemate and I are wondering about the white Corning Wear pots that we have. Thanks for taking your valuable time to consider our questions.

  • Janet

    Le Creuset type ceramic coated iron pots and pans …are these also in the non-stick “so called ceramic” category that you speak of?

  • Virginia

    Thank you for this helpful information on cookware. I need to replace my stove, and I wondered what you think about induction cooking. Is it safe for food and people?

  • Ruth Miles

    Hi – so what types of pans do you reccommend? Thanks

    • My personal favorites include: Xtrema, Le Creuset and Chantall. I’ve two heavy stainless steel pots (one is a pressure cooker) a carbon steel wok from a Chinese market, and I use cast iron crepe pans for quick breads.

  • Jan

    I wrap potatoes and cover food in baking dishes in baker’s paper and THEN wrap foil around it. This way I have the covering of foil that I want, and the food is protected by the baker’s paper from touching the foil.

    Is this a reasonable way to get the benefits of wrapping in foil without the dangers associated with it?

  • Irina

    Rebecca, thank you very much for your warning of green pan, and other ceramic-coated pots and pans. You said: “Note: Avoid all ceramic coated cookware. However superior 100% ceramic knives and cookware made from natural substances are non-reactive. Furthermore, cooking in ceramic enhances the flavor of foods as per the link cited above.” Can you please explain what is a ceramic cookware made from natural substances, or what is the best possible choice for non-stick cookware? Thank you very much.

  • Matthew McIndoo

    Hi,

    Thank you for the heads up about health risky cookware. I have an idea for cooking potatoes without aluminum foil. Why not try wrapping a potato in a couple cabbage leaves and then cooking it?

    • hmmmmm…interesting. But perhaps a waste of cabbage? Fortunately the skin of the potato adequately prevents the food from drying out and it results in a nice, chewy skin. Surely the suggestion of wrapping foil around a potato was generated by the foil industry and is an idea that we can shed.
      I bake my potatoes directly on the rack of my oven (or toaster oven). Or if I’m baking another food, I put the potatoes alongside, whole or in chunks.

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