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Last Updated on October 17, 2020
Your favorite pans might just be made with aluminum, PTFEs, Teflon and more which can leach in your food. Some of the old fashion pans like cast iron make the best pan and here are the best non-toxic cookware.
What Materials Do I Avoid When Choosing Cookware?
Do you want the best non stick cookware in your kitchen? You need to know what to avoid before purchasing your pots and pans. Non-stick versions are popular, but are they safe?
With rumors running wild on the internet warning of the dangers of using non-stick cookware, it’s understandable your apprehensive about buying your next pan. The last thing you want is to harm your family.
The issue with non-stick materials used to coat pots and pans is that they tend to leech out heavy metals and hormone-disrupting chemicals into the food you’re cooking. The non-stick debate is a hot topic in health circles at the moment, with camps divided on the outcome.
One side says that recent developments in coating technology and non-stick materials make modern pots and pans safe to use in the kitchen. However, there’s a counter-side to the argument, stating these materials are every bit as harmful as its predecessors.
It seems like we have a hung jury and no consensus on the issue. So, what are people going on about anyway? What’s all the drama with non-stick pans? Let’s look at the reasons why people are up in arms about this popular pan coating.
Are PTFE, PFOA, Teflon, and Non-Stick Coatings Harmful?
Modern non-stick pans come in a variety of coatings, depending on the manufacturer. PTFE, PFOA, and Teflon are the top three coatings used in non-stick cookware, preventing food from clinging to the surface of the pot or pan. Some kitchen supply companies even use Teflon in the manufacturing of cooking utensils.
What is Teflon?
Teflon, otherwise known as polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, is a synthetic compound, featuring fluorine and carbon molecules. Any surface with a Teflon coating provides a non-stick surface that’s capable of withstanding high temperatures.
There are plenty o industrial uses for Teflon, and it’s a popular choice in non-stick cookware. The non-stick coating makes the cookware easier to clean, increasing the lifespan of your pots and pans. Teflon cookware is getting a bad rap in the media due to the inclusion of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, in leading products.
What is PFOA?
If you want the best non toxic cookware in your kitchen, it’s a good idea to avoid any coatings featuring perfluorooctanoic acid. It was a popular feature in the manufacturing process of non-stick pots and pans until the early 2000s.
Research shows that repeated heating and cooling of Teflon-coated surfaces featuring PFOA cause the compound to leech into food cooked in coated pots and pans. If you eat food contaminated with PFOA one-time, it’s not going to do much to your body.
However, cooking 7-meals a week at home with your non-stick PFOA coated cookware accumulates these chemicals in your bloodstream. PFOA poisoning causes hormone imbalances, leading to thyroid problems and possibly infertility.
After reviewing the research on Teflon and PFOA, manufacturers around the globe decided to institute new manufacturing standards, banning the use of PFOA worldwide in 2013. So, if you have an old non-stick pan from a few years back, maybe it’s time to think about tossing it out.
Is Teflon Safe Today?
That’s a hotly debated topic in health circles, with science pointing towards the merits of wither case. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to take that chance.
How Do I Care for Teflon Cookware?
If you’re cooking with Teflon-coated pots and pans, it’s important to follow a few safety precautions. Here are a few tips for handling Teflon cookware.
Use scratch-free utensils – Avoid using steel, aluminum, or metal utensils on your cookware. These materials scratch the coating, causing it to start flaking into your food.
Never preheat an empty pan – Never sit an empty pan on a burner. The PTFE starts to gas-off, causing contaminati0on of the surface and your food when cooking.
Replace when worn – If you notice scratching or cracking on the Teflon surface, toss it out.
Cook in a ventilated area – Always cook with the kitchen windows open to avoid breathing in any VOCs from the cookware coating.
Handwash gently – Avoid using scourers and other aggressive cleaning tools that can scratch the coating.
The Bottom Line – I highly recommend avoiding any cookware with a Teflon, PTFE, or PFOA coating. Consider throwing out any pans you’ve been using for longer than 5-years. These pans could come from batches featuring these dangerous non-stick materials.
Aluminum is another popular choice for non-stick cookware, chances your grandmother used to serve your pancakes from an aluminum pan for breakfast. It’s a lightweight, durable material and easy to clean. So, what’s the issue with aluminum?
Aluminum occurs naturally in our environment, and we all get some level of exposure to this element. However, high-levels of aluminum in your blood lead to complications in the communication of the central nervous system connecting the body with the brain.
Research shows high levels of aluminum in your blood leads to dire health consequences. Therefore, cooking your meals on aluminum cookware might be convenient, but you could be damaging your health.
The Bottom Line – The science remains undecided regarding aluminum cookware’s safety. But once again, I’m not willing to chance it with my health. There are better non-stick cookware options.
Stay Safe with a Cast Iron Skillet
If you’re looking for the best non-toxic cookware, then you can’t beat a cast-iron skillet. It’s versatile and suitable for use at high temperatures in the broiler, the stovetop, or in the oven. Cast-iron spreads the heat evenly across the pan’s surface, making it the best choice for searing a ribeye or a salmon steak.
Here are my recommendations for the Best Non Toxic Cookware.
Best Budget All Around Pan
- 12 INCH CAST IRON SKILLET. This seasoned skillet is ready to use and is extremely versatile. It has a 12 inch diameter and is 2 inches deep. The ergonomic design allows this skillet to be taken from the campfire or stovetop to the table, making it essential for every kitchen.
- PRE-SEASONED COOKWARE. A good seasoning makes all the difference. Lodge provides pre-seasoned cookware with no synthetic chemicals; just soy based vegetable oil. The more you use your iron, the better the seasoning becomes.
- MADE IN THE USA. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware in South Pittsburg, Tennessee (pop. 3,300) since 1896. With over 120 years of experience, their cast iron is known for its high quality design, lifetime durability, and cooking versatility.
- MAKE EVERY MEAL A MEMORY. Lodge knows that cooking is about more than just the food; it’s about the memories. This dynamic skillet can be used for slow weekend mornings with bacon and eggs or summertime BBQ’s with roasted veggies.
- FAMILY-OWNED. Lodge is more than just a business; it’s a family. The Lodge family founded the company in 1896, and they still own it today. From environmental responsibility to community development, their heads and hearts are rooted in America.
Best Luxury All Around Pan
- 11-3/4-inch enameled cast-iron skillet with dual pour spouts
- Chip- and crack-resistant enamel won't react to foods
- Integral iron handle and opposite helper handle for secure transport
- Hand washing recommended; oven- and broiler-safe to any oven temperature
- Measures approximately 18-4/5 by 13-1/2 by 2 inches; limited lifetime warranty
Best Budget All Around Pot
- One Lodge 6 Quart Red Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Features a stainless steel knob and loop handles for great control
- Smooth glass surface won't react to ingredients
- Unparalleled heat retention and even heating
- Use to marinate, refrigerate, cook, and serve
Best Luxury Pot
- 45% larger handles that provide a sure grip, even with oven mitts
- The superior heat distribution and retention of le creuset enameled cast iron
- An advanced sand-colored interior enamel with even more resistance to wear
- A larger composite knob that withstands temperatures up to 500ºF
- Colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel that resists chipping and cracking
Best for Baking
- Measures: 15" x 10" x .5" / 38cm x 25cm x 1.25cm
- Bake cookies, pastries, biscuits and rolls, pizza, tater tots and fries or use to heat up a sandwich or leftovers.
- Raised edges all around holds in your sweet or savory creations.
- Level surface for baking and reheating!
- Made of high quality stainless steel.
- Professional quality
- Heavy gauge 18/8 stainless steel
- 9-inch round pan
- High-polish, mirror finish
- Dishwasher and oven-safe
- Heavy gauge 18/10 stainless steel
- High-polish, mirror finish
- Measures: 1.125"H x 10.375"W
- Made in China