Can cookware cause cancer? – 4 Safe Non-Stick Alternatives to toxic Cookware – You have heard all about the importance of eating healthy foods. You understand how to measure your calories, and macro-nutrients like fats, protein, and carbs. But what about your non-stick cookware? Did you know that your shiny new copper coated non-stick skillet is potentially very toxic to you and your family? Even the healthiest diet can cause severe health problems if your pots and pans are toxic.
The cookware industry has been searching for a safe non-stick coating for healthy cooking for decades. The grand daddy of synthetic non stick surfaces for cooking is Teflon. Teflon cookware gets its non stick properties from a coating of PTFE. When heated above 572°F, this plastic polymer releases terrible toxins. These toxic fumes lead to flu-like symptoms called polymer fume fever. It’s more commonly known as Teflon flu. Several chemical compounds found in Teflon cookware are threatening to the body, as well as to the environment.
Like many other non-stick surfaces, aluminum cookware is usually coated. Just like several of the other toxic surfaces that are underneath the safe ceramic coating. Ceramic is an effective barrier to the negative effects of aluminum. However ceramic is prone to chipping while cooking or washing your cookware. Rapid heating and cooling can crack an expensive skillet. This allows the toxic metal to leach into your food.
Aluminum foil, is even more dangerous. There’s an established “safe” amount of aluminum the human body can manage. It’s approximately 20 mg per pound of body weight a day. When you wrap your food in aluminum foil and cook it this way, the amount of this substance that leaks into the food significantly exceeds the permissible level. For me personally, no amount of a toxic metal in my blood stream is okay.
Aluminum is a neurotoxic metal. Elevated levels of aluminum in the body have been linked to several central nervous system diseases, including ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of dementia.
Uncoated copper pots and pans, are quite toxic. A nice dinner of salmon in lemon sauce, could lead to desert in the ER with a case of metal poisoning. And that’s because it can release copper when you cook acidic foods.
Companies like All Clad, Calphalon, and Cuisinart are always cooking up expensive new non-stick surfaces to sell to you. A new skillet can run you upwards of $200. This is especially painful when you later discover that your shiny cookware is really poisoning you. Ouch!
So what should you do? Non-stick cookware makes clean up easier, and you use a lot less oils and fats in your cooking with non-stick cookware. The solution is easy. Stick with the classics, such as, cast iron, carbon steel, glass, and 100% ceramic cookware.
Here Comes Ironman!
Your grandma knew how to make a cast-iron cookware as smooth as any overpriced option from Wolfgang Puck. Cast Iron has great heat retention. So your food stays warm just in case someone’s a little late for dinner. Cast iron heats well and evenly.It doesn’t leak anything toxic into your food. Plus it has the added benefit of increasing your body’s iron levels.
Many manufacturers are now making preseasoned cast iron pans. If you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, your morning omelet will slide right out of the pan. Cast iron is also about as durable and rugged as cookware can get. You can make popcorn in your cast iron Dutch oven over a campfire, without a scratch on it. Try that with your $200 copper pot.
When in Rome
Carbon steel is very popular in Europe. It’s a lighter, and equally durable alternative to cast iron. Carbon steel is generally safer stainless steel, because stainless can contain nickel, another toxic metal. It’s better to be on the safe side in my opinion. The only draw back to carbon steel is it’s a little harder to purchase here in the United States.
Glass cookware is about as safe as you can get. It does not release anything toxic when heated, Glass doesn’t hang on to any old food flavors. It’s also eco-friendly!
You might be scratching your head as to why I suggest 100% ceramic cookware. Notice the 100% part of the sentence. The problem with ceramic coated cookware is not the ceramic part, it’s the aluminum, lead, and other toxic substances underneath. Ceramic coatings are usually soft. They chip and peel. All ceramic pots are much more durable, and don’t peel, or chip like coated versions.
So, can cookware cause cancer? The answer unfortunately is – yes. In my opinion, it’s always better to be on the safe side, when it comes to your health. Why go with a new and untried non-stick pan, when, all you have to do, is do what your grandma did. Iron, steel, glass, and ceramic have been around for a very long time, and they’re here to stay.