One source of toxins that many people don’t think about is cookware. Did you know that non-stick cookware is coated with materials that are considered toxic and even carcinogenic? These toxic chemicals are part what make them non-stick, and this is why they are dangerous to our health and why switching to non-toxic cookware is important.
Specifically, the dangerous chemicals in many non-stick pans are known as polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is why you see newer types of cookware promoting they are free of PTFEs and PFOAs. This newer, non-toxic cookware is certainly a better alternative than the original non-stick pans made with Teflon.
First of all, it’s not even a secret that Teflon, specifically, was known to be hazardous. DuPont was fined millions of dollars by the EPA for hiding this information since the 1960s. Secondly, it is noted by the Environmental Working Group, that Teflon has long-term exposure risk, is associated with chemicals that harm the environment, and contains chemicals that are commonly found in most, if not all Americans. These very same chemicals, known as Perfluorinated Chemicals or PFCs, have been traced to many health issues, potentially impacting thyroid, liver, and immune function.
So, What Are Your Choices for Non-Toxic Cookware?
While every option has it’s pros and cons, non-toxic cookware for the oven includes glass, cast iron, and ceramic as good options. Of course, these heavy pots and pans must be used carefully on glass stove tops, so as not to crack the surface.
Glass cookware should be lead–free and cadmium-free, which is more likely with brands made in the US, Canada, or France. It is also important to make sure the cast iron is lead-free and not contaminated with other heavy metals. Lodge is a good, low-cost brand.
Along the same lines, your ceramic cookware should be free of toxic chemicals and not prone to cracking, which can leach chemicals from underneath the ceramic coating. You should only purchase non-synthetic, 100% ceramic cookware made in the US, Canada, or approved countries. Many countries do not adhere to strict standards, and you risk contamination of lead, cadmium, or synthetic materials in foreign-made products.
Lead-free stoneware from brands like Le Creuset are also a good option. Le Creuset also has enameled cast iron.
Lastly, stainless steel cookware is a good choice for stove-top pots and pans. One of the safest types is 316 stainless steel grade such as Salad Master. Calphalon and Cuisinart produce safe cookware by ensuring the inner aluminum core does not leak to the surface of their pans.
In the end, all of the above options should help you restock your kitchen cabinets with non-toxic cookware (or at the very least–less toxic), helping you take one more step in reclaiming your health.