Do you know if your cookware is leaching harmful chemicals or heavy metals into your food? After much research, here's the breakdown.
STAY AWAY FROM:
Often known as Teflon made by Dupont. It contains C8, or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which is an unregulated harmful industrial chemical. The EPA has ruled Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) as "likely carcinogens."
The coating can come off very easily and flake off into your food, releasing toxins. PFOA’s have been linked to Liver toxicity, Liver malfunction, Ulcerative colitis, Tumors, reduced hormone levels and a slew of others diseases.
A new law passed in 2018 prohibiting PFOA in cookware, but Buyer Beware:
Companies are now claiming no PFOA’s but they are using something similar -short chained PFAS’s which appear to be just as dangerous. In 2015, 200 scientists from around the world signed the Madrid Agreement warning of the dangers PFA's.
Read the labels and do your homework. To avoid the PFOA restrictions companies are moving over to mixing Ceramics with chemicals, synthetics and polymers and are labeling their cookware 'Ceramic'. The synthetic coating may even be manufactured with lead especially if they are of lower quality. They should not be labeled Ceramic cookware and you should steer clear.
Aluminum is a heavy metal easily absorbed in to food and strongly suspected of causing Alzheimer's disease. Excess aluminum has also been associated with estrogen-driven cancers. Further studies show links to autism due to the combination of Aluminum and Glyphosate. Avoid using Aluminum foil and aluminum cookware if you can; there are safer options.
*If you place a magnet on your pot and it sticks, it does not contain Nickel, if it doesn't stick, then it does contain nickel.
These can be OK
Cast Iron Cookware
Pros: Cooks evenly and is non-stick. Can be used in the oven, BBQ, Campfire etc. Long Lasting.
Cons: Acidic foods like tomato products can draw the iron out, leaching it into food.
With regular use, Iron can reach toxic levels in the body causing stress, oxidation, free radicals and eventually disease. This is usually not an issue for pre menopausal women (still losing blood monthly) or young children (still growing). If you want to be sure, it's easy to check Iron levels at your doctors office, with a pin prick, it takes 5 minutes.
Should not be scrubbed with soap or a Brillo pad as it increases leaching.
Should be seasoned before using to prevent leaching and create a more non stick surface.
Glass and Corningware
Pros: Safe if made without lead or coated with toxic materials. Low probability of leaching.
Cons: Glass is heavy and breaks easily. Does not tolerate heat changes well. Food sticks easily.
May be manufactured with lead or coated with toxic materials, especially if they are of lower quality. Research the Brand before you buy!
Enameled Cast Iron
Pros: Safer to use than regular cast iron cookware that can leach iron into your food
Cons: If it gets scratched, Iron can leach potentially into your food. Use wooden or silicon utensils to avoid this. Low-quality enamel may contain lead or may chip so research before you buy.
Stainless steel is an alloy containing chromium and nickel
Pros: Can be a great choice if high quality steel is used.
Cons: Poor quality steel can scratch and leach nickel or chromium in to food.
Find out the grade of your stainless steel:
316: Surgical Stainless Steel- used for surgeries and medical implants. Contains16% chromium, 8% nickel and 2% molybdenum to resist corrosion and pitting. This is a great choice especially if it's made with multiple layers of steel(5-7 layers).
316ti is 316 grade steel with titanium added to add resistance at higher temperatures
304: 18/10 and 18/8: Companies may try to sell you on the fact that 18/10 is superior to 18/8 because it has 10% nickel rather than 8%, however there's a loophole in FDA regulations which allows a product to be labeled 18/10 even when it contains only 8.3% nickel. Both are good choices however.
305: 18/10 The 305 series is used for Pots and pans. It must contain 10% Nickel because the pots and pans are shaped in such a way that the 10% is a necessity. Grade 305 is almost never used by flatware manufacturers because it's so expensive.
It is very durable, easily cleaned and bacteria resistant.
430: 18/10: The cheapest kind of stainless, it contains no nickel so it's not good at resisting corrosion and can rust. *Place a magnet on your pots. If they contain Nickel the magnet will stick, if they don't, the magnet will not stick.
Pros: A very safe option. Non reactive, non-stick, lightweight and strong. Non-porous and resists scratching. Titanium cookware uses an aluminum base for optimum heat distribution. The non-porous titanium layer prevents aluminum from leaking into the food
Cons: Very expensive.
Pros: X-trema Cookware is currently the only company that sells 100% Ceramic Cookware. Made with water, inorganic materials and minerals from the earth’s crust. Tested by an independent 3rd party lab. Does not leach anything into food (they post the test results on their website). Non scratch and very easy to clean You can even use steel wool or scrubbing pads without scraping the surface. They hold flavors evenly.
Dishwasher, oven, microwave and stove safe and can be scrubbed with anything
Cons: Break easily. Not the best heat conductors.
Pros: A great alternative to aluminum for baking sheets and roasting pans. There are also Stoneware muffin tins and bread pans.
Cons: Break easily. You can’t use soap because stoneware is pourous and the soap can sink in to it.
Silicone is a very safe polymer made from sand and oxygen,
Pros: It is FDA approved and according to Canada’s health agency, does not react with food or beverages, or produce any harmful fumes up to temperatures of 428 degrees. Nonstick, stain-resistant and, cools quickly. Mainly used for baking pans, baking mats, muffin tins and molds.
Cons: Avoid high-temperature cooking. Can scratch or tear.