There is a lot of questions circling around safe cooking tools. After a lot of research, I discovered there are certain finishes on pots and pans that you want to stay away from. Given we use these just about everyday, it’s probably worth reading this blog.
This is the most popular cookware and also the most controversial. Primarily,Teflon. In a nutshell, some good, but basically, it’s had a bad wrap. DuPont’s Teflon pans have been found to release one or more of 15 different toxic gases when heated to certain temperatures, but is generally safe when used according to manufacturers’ specifications. Which chemicals are released depends on the temperature of the pan. This chemical has led to cancer and birth defects in lab animals, and may have led to birth defects in DuPont plant workers. Lots of controversy around this topic, but my conclusion is, why take the chance.
Aluminum cookware. Aluminum is a soft and highly reactive metal that can leach into food, especially when you are cooking with acidic ingredients. The metal-food reaction can form aluminum salts that are associated with impaired visual motor coordination and Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminum intake is virtually impossible to avoid, and the amount we are likely to get from aluminum cookware is relatively minimal. A much better alternative to aluminum is anodized aluminum cookware. Aluminum is placed in a chemical solution and exposed to electric current which builds up a hard, non-reactive surface. This process is called anodization.
Cast iron cookware. Cast iron is known for its durability and even heat distribution. Unglazed cast iron can transfer notable amounts of iron into food, but unlike the metals that come off other types of pots and pans, iron is considered a healthy food additive by the U.S. FDA. The nonstick quality of cast iron comes from seasoning. Seasoning is the term used for treating cast iron with oil and baking it. Basically, everything sticks unless you oil it.
Copper cookware. Copper leaches into food when heated, prompting the FDA to caution against using unlined copper for general use. Accordingly, the cooking surfaces are usually lined with tin, nickel or stainless steel. Coated copper cookware can lose its protective layer if damaged or scoured. Keep in mind that the metals of the “protective” surface can also end up in your food.
AND THE WINNERS ARE:
Ceramic enameled and glass cookware. These are generally safe options. Yay!! Health concerns about using ceramic and enamel stem from components used in making, glazing or decorating the cookware, such as lead or cadmium. In the U.S. both of these highly toxic substances have been phased out, or at least limited in cookware manufacturing. This is not a place to ignore labels; if it says Not for food use, don’t use it for food!