Cookware Safety seems like one of the biggest question on everyone mind? Is cast iron safe, what about nonstick? our Cookware Safety guide should help you decide on what is safe to cook in and what isnt. All the information here are readily available online and all I did was consolidate it. You should always listen to your doctor if they instruct you to to avoid cookware with strong iron or aluminum content. With that being said, I hope this guide help any question you might have.
Ceramic Cookware Safety Guide
Ceramic cookware is the latest cookware on the block. They are often advertised as a healthier and eco friendly cookware to nonstick. However, this is often misleading. The reason why they claim this cookware is more healthy is because you can reduce the amount of oil. For this reason its consider healthier.
Health and Fat
In the 60’s the sugar industry paid some Harvard scientist to come out with an article claiming the dangers of fat. People bought it and set off the trend of low fat or fat free. To compensate for the lack of fat, they increase the amount of sugar. The end result is the diabetes epidemic we have now. You can read more about this from NPR Article.
What most people dont know is that fate is the gateway to flavor. Chef uses it quite often to bring food to a different level. But there is another more important thing about fat. It makes you full longer and satisfy any craving. In the long run, you will actually consume less calories.
In terms of manufacturing, Ceramic cookware is advertised as PFOA and PTFE free. PFOA does have some environmental effect. But PFOA is only used during the manufacturing of cookware. It doesn’t end up in your food. PTFE, otherwise known as Teflon does have issues but we will get to that in the next section.
Teflon Cookware Safety Guide (PTFE)
Teflon Cookware is one of the most common cookware today. It was invented in 1938 by Roy J. Plunkett while working for Dupont. Originally, it was applied to cookware to make things easier to clean. The major issue with PTFE manufacturing is the inclusion of the chemical PFOA. PFOA has been known to cause some of the following issues. Immune system, liver and developmental toxicant, carcinogen, reduce birth size, Developmental Delays, Endocrine disruption etc… Pretty Scary stuff.
PFOA is only used in the manufacturing of cookware, it doesn’t end up in your cookware. The real issue is environmental pollutant. When the word got out, Dupont was eventually sued for their use of PFOA. Since then, most cookware are usually classified as PFOA free.
Teflon Ingestion and Poison
Teflon or PTFE is chemically inert. If you ingest it, it should past right through your body. In a study done Rotem Naftalovich, MD, MBA, Daniel Naftalovich, BS, and Frank L. Greenway, MD. They fed rats with a 25% concentration of PTFE for 90 days. The animals shows no sign toxicity and actually lost weight. While more research can be done on the subject, ingestion of PTFE shouldnt actually harm you. You can read the scientific article at NCBI.
Teflon Flu and Gasses
Ironically, the one thing that most people do but arent afraid of is overheating the pan. When you heat up Teflon to temperature of 572 °F and higher, fumes will start releasing and you can experience flu like symptoms. This is known as the Teflon Flu, which birds has been known to die from. While humans are unlikely to die from it, it is best to avoid doing so. You can temper the heat of the pan by always adding oil to a cold pan. If you see smoke being emitted from the oil, you have already passed the optimal cooking temperature.
Hard Anodized Cookware Safety Guide
Anodized Cookware Safety is the same as Non Stick Cookware. The only difference between the two is how they are made. In hard anodized cookware, the coating is afixed via anodizing. They soak the pot in a solution them run a electric current to force it to stick. This process is called anodizing. Any safety and health guideline should the same.
Aluminum Cookware Safety Guide
Aluminum is one of the most used metal in the production of cookware. They are reactive and can leech into your food when you cook acidic items. For that reason, most manufacturer usually line it with a coating. The most common is Teflon or a Stainless Steel lining like the one All Clad does. Other manufacturer will sell cookware with no lining and just used a pure aluminum cookware.
In a study done by Katrin Klotz, Dr. rer. nat, Wobbeke Weistenhöfer, Dr. med Frauke Neff, PD Dr. med, Andrea Hartwig, Prof. Dr. rer. nat., Christoph van Thriel, PD Dr. rer. nat. van,5 and Hans Drexler, Prof. Dr. med.
The team researched data on the connection with Aluminum and Neurotoxicity, Alzheimer and breast cancer on PubMed and Scopus. They found that Aluminum Welder and Worker in the Aluminum industry showed degrading performance in attention, learning and memory. They had aluminum concentration of 100 µg/g creatinine + in their urine. People with Alzheimer was found to have an elevated level of aluminum content.
Aluminum Transfer From Cookware
Having said that, the amount of aluminum content that is exposed to you from a cookware is really low. In another study done by Liukkonen-Lilja H1, Piepponen S.
They cooked porridge on aluminum pots and found no traces of aluminum. When boiling milk they found 0.2-0.8 mg/kg. Water was slightly higher at 0.54-4.3 mg/l. Acidic food was the highest at 2.9-35 mg/kg. Well within the acceptable consumption level.
America Test Kitchen also did another Study with tomato sauce and found only .0024 milligrams of aluminum per cup. They boiled and left tomato sauce overnight in the pot.
In general, the level of Aluminum that you get from bare aluminum has little or minor traces of aluminum. If you absolutely must avoid aluminum, then get coated cookware.
Copper Cookware Safety Guide
Copper is one the best conductor of heat around. Like Aluminum, they react with acidic food. To get around this, manufacturer will line their cookware with stainless steel or Tin. However, some cookware will leave their cookware bare and other might have some copper showing through.
Like aluminum, ingestion of an excess amount of copper can cause a wide range of issues. Some of the symptoms include omiting, hematemesis (vomiting of blood), hypotension (low blood pressure), melena (black “tarry” feces), coma, jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of the skin), and gastrointestinal distress. Quite a wide range of symptoms.
However, copper leaching mainly occurs when you store acidic food in copper vessels. Certain food preparation like making jams or meringues uses unlined copper. The antibacterial properties help maintain the preserving quality that jams need. You can find more information about Copper Toxicity at Wikipedia.
Enamel Cast Iron Cookware Safety Guide
Brands like Le Creuset uses enamel coating to cover their cast iron cookware. With use, the porcelain coating can come loose and get in your food. Luckily, these enamel coating are basically powdered glass. Beneath the enamel is basically plain cast iron. Which should not cause you any ill effect. America Test kitchen actually released a video about the safety of the dutch oven.
Most of the fear that people have about cookware is overblown. If it was truly dangerous, manufacturer will not sell it. Hopefully this will calm any fears that you might have. If I miss anything, please let me know and I will update it.
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