Four Types of Toxic Cookware You Should Avoid and Safer Alternatives
People nowadays are gradually learning the importance of eating healthy. From products without harmful ingredients to low-calorie choices, health, especially weight loss is an issue being addressed more in people’s lives. Lifestyle choices are changing but!! There is one arena that is often ignored and that is cookware. Even though you may be cooking healthier food, how do you know your cookware is safe? When we graduated earlier from cast iron to aluminum and non-stick coated cookware, research proved us wrong with several health complications associated with such items. In fact, such cookware that many of us may still use is toxic. Here are the most dangerous cookware today and safer alternative that can be used.
The biggest culprit in toxic cookware today is Teflon. The world over, people choose Teflon cookware at home because of the aggressive consumerism associated with it. Teflon nonstick cookware is affordable and touted by companies as the best possible cookware. While Teflon cookware is convenient it is also dangerous.
2The properties of Teflon make it toxic
Teflon cookware is coated with a substance called PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene which is a plastic polymer that leaks toxins when it is heated to high temperatures in excess of 572 degrees F. Thus if you cook with Teflon on high heat, it emits toxic fumes that can cause symptoms of flu or what is also known as polymer fume fever or Teflon fever.
3Teflon cookware is also coated with other cancer-causing substances
Teflon cookware contains another chemical called PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid. This has been associated with various types of cancer including prostate, breast, and ovarian cancer. Manufacturers claim that your Teflon cookware only contains small amounts of PFOA that is risk-free but the same ingredient is found in several products so all add up to a considerable risk.
4Teflon wears off
If you are a frequent user of Teflon nonstick cookware, you will find over time that it may lose its nonstick feature or bits and pieces of the material start peeling off. Moreover, the surface soon starts to look rough. When this happens, you should discard the product as Teflon coating leaking into your food is extremely dangerous for health.
Granite cookware is usually PTFE or PFOA free but there is a considerable risk factor in this too. Just as mentioned above, here too, the granite coating which is thin can chip easily and wear off. Once this happens, discard the product immediately without second thought.
Copper certainly looks pretty. You must have also seen content on the internet advocating the benefits of copper vessels for storing water. Copper is a good conductor that allows fast and even heating. But, copper too can be toxic.
7How copper can be toxic
Copper is a heavy metal and in small quantities can be beneficial for health. Excess amounts, however, can result in metal poisoning. If the copper cookware does not have any coating, it will release the metal especially while cooking anything acidic. Coated copper cookware contains nickel and that too makes it toxic.
8Aluminum cookware and aluminum foil
Aluminum is a widely used metal for utensils and cookware. In countries like Asia, aluminum is used extensively because it is lightweight and cheaper. It is also strong and versatile as well as recyclable. Believe it or not but in countries like India, in rural markets you can purchase a new aluminum cookware by exchanging your old ones at an exchange rate determined by weight. But, aluminum has many dangers.
9Aluminum is a neurotoxin
Aluminum is associated with diseases of the central nervous system, ALS and Alzheimer’s. Aluminum cookware is also coated. This too can chip and release toxic metal into the food. Symptoms of aluminum toxicity can be a headache, colic, flatulence, heartburn and a dislike for meat. Aluminum has been linked to several diseases but is yet to be proven to cause cancer.
Everyone likes the aesthetic qualities of ceramic cookware. Although ceramic is considered 100% for cooking, ceramic coating usually hides toxic materials. Ceramic isn’t very durable and start to chip after prolonged use. This is when lead and cadmium present in the coating leaks into the food.
11The bad effects of lead poisoning
Lead poisoning is a dangerous condition that can cause abdominal pain, infertility, headaches and several other health issues. In severe cases, lead poisoning causes coma and death. The problem in such cookware is that in spite of it being coating free, it is still dangerous because of the neurotoxin effects of aluminum beneath the coating of ceramic. Moreover, ceramic isn’t entirely non stick and over time, the food can stick especially when grilling where you may find the cooking surface turning black.
12The safe alternatives: cast iron cookware
The world is returning back to the goodness of cast iron cookware. The main reason why iron was not convenient is that food would stick. But! If you temper and season your iron cookware properly, you’ll never want to use any other metal. Iron withstands high heat and will not leak toxic ingredients into the food. Iron cookware is also a good way to increase iron in your body if you suffer from low iron. Enamelled cast iron cookware is a better option to use.
13Safe ceramic cookware
If your cookware consists of 100% ceramic, then it is safe to use. There will not be issues of chipping and it will be made from natural material. The product will also have a natural nonstick feature and can be used safely in a dishwasher. The only problem of such products is that they may be costly but then your health is more important and it is durable enough to last a long time.
Stainless steel is cheaper than ceramic and a safe option to use for cooking. It is lightweight and scratch resistant. It can also be seasoned to have a natural nonstick feature and will not contain toxic metals like nickel or chromium.
While glass cookware is 100% safe and will not leak any toxic substances into food, it can only be used for baking or microwaving. Glass is an eco-friendly product and will not hold onto smells and flavors of stale food.