Are Your Pots and Pans Safe to Use?

Pots and Pans SafetyWhether you are a seasoned chef or an occasional cook, pots and pans are needed in the kitchen.

There are many different types of cookware to choose from, however not all pots and pans are created equal. Some materials used to make pots and pans shouldn’t come in contact with food.  If you are trying to create a greener and cleaner kitchen there are a few types of cookware that should be avoided.

Teflon

The nonstick coating on Teflon pans is coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. Teflon has been known to release toxic fumes when the pans are heated above a certain temperature. Those toxic gases have been fatal to birds and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Time to ditch the Teflon!

Aluminum

Aluminum cookware is generally inexpensive and not difficult to lift (not the case with many other pots and pans). Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to aluminum pots and pans.  Aluminum is toxic to humans in large concentrations. Aluminum can leach into the foods we are cooking-especially when we are cooking with acidic foods such as vinegar and tomatoes. The amount that leaches is generally a small amount, however we are exposed to aluminum is many other places in our environment-our water, food and some personal care products. There’s no reason to add more aluminum to our diets when there are safer alternatives

Aluminum can cause all sorts of ailments to our bodies ranging from headaches to memory loss. There is even circumstantial evidence linking aluminum with Alzheimer's disease, but no causal relationship has yet been proved.

Silicon

Silicon is usually found in bake ware.  You’ve probably seen the silicon fancy cupcake holders and cookie sheets that come in bright, attractive colors. Silicone is a synthetic rubber made of bonded silicon (a natural element abundant in sand and rock) and oxygen.  There hasn’t been a lot of research done on silicon since it’s relatively new to the market. Knowing that strong dyes are used to make the bake ware and that it’s made from a synthetic rubber are enough to make me turn towards the known safer alternatives out there.

Safer alternatives: cast Iron and stainless steel

Cast Iron and stainless steel pots and pans are the safest cookware on the market. Invest in a few good pieces and they’ll last you a lifetime.

It’s equally important to pay attention to your cooking utensils and tools. They also come in contact with your food and it’s important to make sure the materials used are safe.

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Jerry Pank/Flickr]