4 Types of Toxic Cookware to Avoid and 4 Safe Alternatives
How to Avoid Hazardous Cookware
The cookware you use to prepare your food may be just as important as the ingredients in your food. Hazardous cookware can leech dangerous toxins into your food and cause health problems. However, there are many safe alternatives to cook with. To avoid dangerous cookware, stay away from non-stick, aluminum, copper, and BPA plastic. Instead, choose stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic, or glass.
Eliminating Dangerous Cookware
Avoid non-stick cookware.Non-stick cookware may be convenient, but it can be very dangerous. Non-stick cookware may release toxic fumes if it is overheated. These fumes can be dangerous if you inhale them. Stay away from Teflon pans.
- If you overheat Teflon pans, you may develop flu-like symptoms.
- The fumes from non-stick pans may also kill pet birds.
Beware of aluminum.Aluminum cookware may not be as safe as you’d think. Long-term usage of and exposure to aluminum can cause health problems. Using aluminum cookware often can introduce more aluminum into your body than is safe.
- Aluminum may damage the brain and block toxins from leaving the body.
Reconsider copper.Copper cookware is appealing to the eye, but it may be dangerous when placed in cookware. Copper and nickel are heavy metals that are toxic. They are both used in the shiny finish of copper cookware. Cooking often with this cookware may introduce these heavy metals into your food and body.
- A build up of these metals in your body may negatively affect your brain and cause chronic illnesses.
- If you want to use copper cookware, look for items where copper is only used on the outside. Sometimes, copper is placed between two layers of other metals, such as stainless steel, which is safe. Never buy cookware that has copper on the inside lining.
Throw away cookware that is damaged.Safe cookware can become dangerous if it is damaged. If you have non-stick cookware and the coating is coming off, throw it away. This can be very dangerous and release toxins into your food.
- If you use ceramic cookware that is cracked or chipped, get rid of it. If the glaze contains lead, being chipped or cracked increases the risk of lead seeping into your food.
Avoid plastic cutting boards.Plastic cutting boards can be a health hazard. When the knife cuts into food, it leave cuts and grooves in the plastic. These open spaces can house bacteria like E.coli and salmonella.
- Choose wood or bamboo cutting boards instead. Bacteria doesn’t stick to it as much.
Look for dangers with glazed cookware.Many glazes contain lead, and sometimes you can't be certain whether the cookware is lead-free or not. If you find ceramic cookware that is lead-free, go with that. For others, you may need to inspect it a bit more closely before using it. Some may say on the bottom it is for decoration only and not for food.
- Many glazed terracotta dishes, especially from Latin American countries, may contain lead. Use these only for decoration; do not eat from them.
- Overly decorated tableware, especially from Asia, can pose a risk. If there are brightly colored decorations anywhere that will touch food, use caution.
- Homemade ceramics, even in the United States, may contain a lead glaze. Talk to the person before using it with food.
- Antique ceramic tableware poses a threat because it may be from before lead was outlawed.
- Decorations on top of the glaze may cause a deterioration of the glaze, exposing dangerous metals such as lead.
Find the country of origin for your cookware.Not all countries have the same laws for cookware safety. Double check the country of origin when choosing cookware. This may influence the types of materials used in the production.
- For example, ceramic cookware made in other countries, such as Latin American or Asian countries, may contain lead and be unfit for food use.
Choosing Safe Cookware
Choose cast iron cookware.Cast iron is a great, safe material for pots and pans. Cast iron is also a relatively non-stick surface. You can heat cast iron to any temperature without any dangerous fumes.
- You can also place cast iron pots and pans in the oven.
- You can also try enamel coated cast iron.
Try stainless steel.Stainless steel pots and pans are safe options. They do not release anything hazardous into your food or the air when cooking. You can also use any cooking utensil on them without harming them. They also contain no carcinogens.
- These pans are not non-stick, so you have to add butter or oil to help keep things from sticking.
- Make sure to check your stainless steel pots and pans, especially if you are buying cheaper ones. Cheap stainless steel cookware may contain nickel and chromium, harmful metals that can seep into food.
Cook with glass.Glass is a safe material for cookware. Glass doesn’t release anything toxic when heated and won’t contaminate your food. It also doesn’t hold flavors or odors in the material.
- Make sure to use caution when baking with glass. It will break if dropped.
- Food will stick to glass if you do not add something to help it keep from sticking.
Try stoneware.Stoneware is safe and nontoxic. After a few uses, it will become non-stick. You don’t have to wash stoneware with soap. You can scrape, wipe, or rinse it instead. Stoneware also will not absorb flavors or odors.
- Stoneware can crack or break if dropped.
- Stoneware is more expensive than other types of cookware.
Go for ceramic.Cookware that is made with 100% ceramic is extremely safe. It doesn’t react when heated and isn’t toxic. The surface of ceramic cookware will not corrode. You can use any utensil on ceramic and put it in the dishwasher.
- Ceramic cookware is expensive.
- Make sure you are not purchasing cookware that has a ceramic glaze that contains lead. This generally occurs with pieces made outside of the United States. Research the brand and pieces to make sure it is lead-free.
Choose BPA-free plastic.Heating food in plastic containers containing chemicals can be dangerous. BPA can cause cancer and negatively affect the brain and heart. Throw out any plastic that is not BPA and only buy BPA-free containers.
- If you are concerned about using plastic, consider using glass containers instead.
Video: Dangerous Cookware To Avoid
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