My husband & I decided to buy some new cookware, specifically fry pans because our pans were sticking even with oils. We headed off to the nearest big box store and browsed the selections. One set of cookware called itself "green", which naturally caught my attention... disclaimer: THIS IS NOT SMART OR ADVISED; just because a product says it's "all natural" or "green" does not necessarily mean that it is. In this case, it was not green by my standards but it did bring our attention to the nightmare known as non-stick cookware and for that we are grateful. You see, this set of cookware said it was free of all sorts of chemicals. Chemicals we had never heard of. Chemicals that we learned were present in our previous cookware.
I spend a lot of time reading labels in the grocery store so you can imagine my surprise to learn that I was spending several hundred dollars each month on healthy food for my family and then I was cooking the dang TOXINS into our food! Totally defeats the purpose, right? Well, I did my research and we found a 10 pc. set of GreenPan cookware at Target for $89.99 (amazing price compared to Amazon!), that is safe for our family and we learned a lot about what to avoid in the process.
Cookware Toxins to Avoid:
PTFE: Polytetrafluoroethylene is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene; a chemical found in traditional nonstick coatings such as Teflon. It begins to degrade and release into your food & air at temperatures over 500º, which is why the instructions on traditional nonstick pans generally advise to use them only on low and medium heat. However, most recipes call for medium HIGH heat and honestly, who boils water on medium? PTFE causes flu like symptoms in humans and is lethal to birds when overheated. Have you heard of coal miners sending a canary into mines to check for safety? If the canary dies it's not safe. Well... there you have it.
PFOA: PerFluoroOctanoic Acid, a chemical used to manufacture non-stick cookware, especially. It has been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and high cholesterol. In the form of an ammonium salt, it is used as a surfactant in the emulsion polymerization of PTFE, and has been detected in some PTFE products.While PFOA is now regulated in cookware allowable by only very small parts and is typically not enough to cause health issues the EPA has noted that large amounts of PFOA are being found in our air, soil and water. Because of this, it is most eco-friendly to support companies and buy products that do not use this chemical during manufacturing.
Aluminum: Aluminum cookware is known for it's natural non-stick ability. However, studies have shown that when heated in contact with an acid (tomato sauce) it produces dangerous aluminum salts which can leech into your food. Aluminum salts are known for impaired visual motor coordination and Alzheimer’s disease; however there is no definite link proven. More than half of all cookware sold today is made of aluminum. This includes aluminum foils, keep this in mind. NEVER store food in aluminum. Ever. The longer the food sits in the container or pot the more leeching occurs.
Cadmium: Some older enamel cookware contained the potentially toxic substance cadmium, which was sometimes contained in the red, yellow and orange pigments used to color the interior of enamel cookware. Cadmium was used mostly by foreign manufacturers. But manufacturers have discontinued its use, and consumers today are not in danger of cadmium poisoning from enamelware marketed today. Basically, just say no to antique dishes.
Lead: So, your kid's toy gets recalled just incase they put it in their mouth but your cookware? Nope. You know those nifty little glass measuring cups that are microwave and oven safe? Well, unless you are using the Pyrex brand then the painted on measurements are more than likely lead based and probably say not safe for high temperatures. This is also the case for enamel casserole dishes and "Fiesta ware", the brightly colored dish sets which are actually quite expensive. *note: the new versions of the Fiesta are lead-safe but the antique & early editions are not. If Granny passed it on to you, you may want to only decorate with it. Similar to the Cadmium mentioned above.
Iron: While iron is not a chemical, it can be toxic in high levels. Cast iron, commonly used for cooking, is the most porous of all metals. This means that it is soaking up the food you are cooking and grease can turn rancid in the pores, which can't be washed with soap without ruining the pan. Some people believe that cooking with cast iron is a benefit because you can get iron from the cast iron pot. While this is true there are two forms of iron ferrous and ferric. Your body cannot assimilate the ferric form which is what you get from cast iron cookware.The only way for the body to release ferric iron is through blood loss, unless you are menstruating female then chances are you probably should NOT regularly cook with cast iron.
Now, GreenPan that I mentioned above is free of all of those potential toxins. In addition, they use solar energy to manufacture their cookware, reducing their energy consumption by 50% of other cookware producers and they never use PFOA. GreenPan has been approved by the Swiss product administration which is much stricter than the US consumer agency & FDA. Find out where to buy GreenPan near you. http://www.green-pan.us/us/where-to-buy
What type of cookware are you using?
*I have not been compensated in any way by GreenPan for this blog article.This is not a product review, only a suggestion based on our families personal experience, knowledge and use. :)