This post was most recently updated on April 6th, 2020
You’re wanting a good pots and pans set for your family without the possible leaching of harmful chemicals that could slowly cause harm to you or your loved ones. The following covers commonly asked questions about ceramic cookware safety regarding health.
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What are the Ceramic Cookware Dangers?
Are ceramic non stick pans safe for you and your family?
In terms of health and the environment, they are considered ‘non-toxic’ cookware.
Based on the research, ceramic pots and pans can be regarded as the safest nonstick type on the market because they are PFOA and PTFE free cookware.
Regarding lead and cadmium, all ceramic cookware sold in the US must meet strict standards. The California Proposition 65 standards are regarded the most stringent available to consumers and require companies to display a warning label on products that have toxic substances exceeding certain limits, particularly 0.1 ppm for lead and 0.049 ppm for cadmium. The US FDA also sets standards for lead and cadmium levels in cookware.
About PFOA and PTFE
You should definitely avoid PFOA – perfluorooctanoic acid — also known as C8, which is a synthetic compound that has been used in the traditional non-stick coating, Teflon. It persists in the environment and is harmful to animals and humans.
“PFOA was classified as ‘likely to be carcinogenic in humans’” by the USEPA Science Advisory Board”.1
The other synthetic compound, PTFE – polytetrafluoroethylene — is the main material in the Teflon non-stick coating. The fumes from PTFE can impact the environment, being lethal to birds, and harm human health.2
About Ceramic Non Stick
Ceramic nonstick pots and pans use a cooking surface comprised of a sol-gel coating. This coating is based on silica, commonly called silicon dioxide or otherwise known as sand.
According to the Product Knowledge Network3, the chemical nature of ceramic nonstick coating “possesses the strength of silica while achieving excellent smoothness and good release, without fluoropolymers.”
They also go on to say that ceramic systems are harder and will keep their form and toughness more so than PTFE coatings. The advantage here is that ceramic coatings will withstand much higher temperatures before releasing residues compared with the conventional coatings made with PTFE.
Ceramic is the best cookware material for nonstick coatings for more reasons. It’s not just about toxic chemicals leaching into your food. It’s also about the harm to factory workers exposed to toxins, the impacts on wildlife, and the contamination of our soil, water, and air from waste disposal.1, 2.
The tradeoff to the ‘healthy’ aspect of the ceramic nonstick type is that the ceramic nonstick coating can wear away with use over time faster than the PFTE type. Thus, it is important to follow care tips about use and storage of ceramic nonstick to extend its life.
While toxic chemicals leaching into our food is of concern, consider also the harm to factory workers exposed to toxins of PFOA and PFTE, the impacts on wildlife, and the contamination of our soil, water1, and air from waste disposal.2
- Gloria B. Post, Perry D. Cohn, Keith R. Cooper, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an emerging drinking water contaminant: A critical review of recent literature, Environmental Research, Volume 116, 2012, Pages 93-117,
- Toxicology Data Network. Teflon. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@[email protected]+833
- Product Knowledge Network (PKN), Sol “Ceramic” Coating. www.ProductKnowledge.com
See also my reviews on the sharpest knives to add to your kitchen knife set.