Modern cookware offers you the luxury of a variety of non-stick materials, making pots and pans easier to clean, but these materials do pose a few safety concern. The four types of cookware listed below usually present hidden hazards. Fortunately, you have some safer options to choose from when selecting your cookware, as detailed below.
Aluminum Cookware Safety
The hazards posed by aluminum cookware are biggies. Elevated aluminum levels in the body are linked to some central nervous system disease, most notably Alzheimer’s and ALS. And while most aluminum cookware has a coating, most chip easily, which releases the aluminum into your food when cooking.
Safe Alternatives to Aluminum Cookware
A safe alternative to using pots and pans made of aluminum is glass cookware. Safe when heated, glass releases no known chemicals while cooking. In addition, glass cookware is durable and better for the environment. Keep in mind that even though it is safer, food sticks to glass, unlike non-stick cookware, so it’s a bit messier to clean up.
Ceramic-Coated Cookware Safety
Ceramic cookware comes in two types, totally ceramic and ceramic-coated. It is the ceramic-coated that causes problems. Over time the ceramic coating gets damaged, allowing the metals underneath to leach into your food. Some of these metals even contain lead, which can cause you to get lead poisoning.
Safe Alternatives to Ceramic-Coated Cookware
If you must use ceramic cookware, make sure it is 100 percent ceramic. Made of completely natural materials, ceramic cookware is non-stick, and you don’t have to worry about any toxic materials getting in your food. Keep in mind that ceramic cookware can be more expensive than other cookware types.
Copper Cookware Safety
Like many coated cookware products, copper cookware usually are copper with a coating, usually containing nickel. It is the metals in the coatings that present safety issues, as they can get into the food you cook. In addition, if the coating is damaged, copper can also leach into your food, especially if acidic.
Safe Alternatives to Copper Cookware
A safe alternative to copper cookware is pots and pans made of stainless steel. Keep in mind that any stainless steel cookware that is not food-grade usually contains nickel or chromium, toxic metals that can get into your food. Stainless steel cookware can also be made non-stick by seasoning the cookware.
Teflon Cookware Safety
Teflon, while a great non-stick material, is known for chipping, leading to the chemicals within the coating getting into your food when cooked. Also, if heated above 572 degrees Fahrenheit, a chemical in the coating, called polytetraflouroethylene, or PTFE, releases toxic fumes that can make you sick.
Safe Alternatives to Teflon Cookware
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While not non-stick, cast iron cookware makes a great alternative to Teflon. Plus, it heats evenly and doesn’t leak anything into your food. You can season a cast iron pot or pan to provide a non-stick surface. To limit your iron intake from cast iron cookware, look for cookware that has an enamel overcoating.
By using cookware made of materials and overcoatings that do not leak toxic substances into your food while you cook, you can stay healthy and avoid many of the side effects of non-stick cookware. You have many alternatives to choose from when shopping for cookware, including cast iron, ceramic, and glass.