FREE 5 BIG Food Mistakes GuideGET IT NOW
Lose Weight Now!


Is Your Cookware Safe?

FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!
by Wendy Goldman in Healthy Cooking, Healthy Eating

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. She was staying in someone’s house, and was afraid to use their cookware. Unfortunately, her host didn’t know about the danger of the cookware she was using, and that got me thinking that a lot of people don’t realize their cookware can be toxic. Let’s talk about the different types of cookware, and what’s safe…and what’s not.

Aluminum: common in pots, pans and bakeware. Some studies have implicated aluminum as a possible cause in Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not known for sure, yet, but Alzheimer’s truly sucks, there’s no treatment and no cure, so in my opinion, it’s not worth the risk.

Teflon/ Non-Stick Cookware (other than ceramic): These are the original non-stick coated pans with the gray coating. When you heat them, they off-gas toxic chemicals (PFOA and PTFE) that have been shown to cause cancer, liver toxicity, and possibly disrupt hormones in the body. When the coating is chipped, there’s a greater chance you’ll end up eating some of it in your food. This is what my friend was worried about with her host’s scratched Teflon pans. Best not to use these.

Silicone bakeware: These are newer, and haven’t really been tested for safety yet. Think how many decades Teflon was out before we found out it was toxic. There hasn’t been any research that I could find to test the safety of cooking in silicone. However, I think it may be a risk. The original breast implants were filled with silicone, and when they leaked, they poisoned the person’s body, and made people really sick. When I think about how sick some of the patients I saw with leaky implants were, there’s no way I’ll ever cook anything in silicone. Use at your own risk, but maybe best avoided.

Cast Iron: These are the old-fashioned black iron ones that weigh a ton. These are safe. You just need to be strong enough to lift and maneuver them safely. They used to be recommended for people with iron-deficiency anemia, because when you cook in them, the food will absorb some iron from the pot or pan. They’re safe to use, unless you have some issue with high iron in your blood chemistry. They last forever.

Ceramic Coated: These are fairly new, and non-stick. They have a white ceramic coating inside. As far as we know right now, they seem to be safe. They’re non-stick and don’t off-gas anything toxic. They’re also safer for higher heat than Teflon. I’m using some of these now, and love them. I have found a difference in quality, though. The first one I bought a couple of years ago was lousy quality, and lasted about five minutes before it stopped being non-stick. If you’re going to try these, get ones with really dense, smooth ceramic surfaces. It’s not so much about price, because you can find them pretty inexpensively. Just make sure you run your hand over the surface. It should be really smooth. I sure hope they turn out to be safe, because I love cooking in these!

Enameled Cast Iron (Le Creuset-type): Again, these guys weigh a ton (and can cost a ton), but they’re safe for cooking and baking. If you like these for cooking, baking, or roasting, they’re a good investment, because they’re safe and they last for a very long time.

Glass: Another old-fashioned stand-by, and another safe choice. Great for cooking and baking. No issues. Just make sure there are no chips or cracks.

Stainless Steel: Another oldie, but goodie, and safe. Buy good quality heavy stainless. It’ll last your lifetime, and then some. I still use my original set of Revere ware stainless I bought when I first moved out on my own. The copper-bottom ones are great, and look good. (My grandmother used to make me polish the copper ones, which I hated, so I got the stainless-bottom ones, even though the copper looks way more cool.)

The older types of cookware: stainless steel, glass, cast iron, and enameled ceramic are all safe. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. They’re just not non-stick. Once Teflon was invented, it changed everything, and we all wanted the ease of non-stick cooking. The problem is that it’s toxic.

So if you have aluminum or Teflon cookware, does this mean you have to throw it away? If you have chipped or scratched non-stick cookware, I would definitely suggest replacing it sooner, rather than later. I recently got a couple of ceramic pans for about $12 each, and they’re good quality, so it’s not big bucks to replace them.

Part of eating healthy is cooking healthy, so best to limit our exposure as much as we can. I hope this sheds some light in the kitchen!

Note: Watch out for the words “green” or “eco-friendly”. They don’t mean anything, and have absolutely nothing to do with safety. It doesn’t mean to buy, or not buy, anything labeled this way. It’s usually a red flag for me, so follow the guidelines above.

FREE Food Mistakes Guide

5 BIG Food Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Get It Now!