Hidden Dangers in Cookware
Toxicity and Releasing of Impurities
Most people are aware of air pollution, water pollution and the dangers of household chemicals. Studies are now showing that certain cookware can also be polluting our bodies. Below are just some examples of how "traditional" cookware can be hazardous to you and you and your family's health.
Cast Iron Cookware
Most porous of all metals. Grease can turn rancid in pores. Some people believe that they can get iron from a cast iron pot. The reality is that iron comes in a ferrous and a ferric form. Ferrous iron is what makes our blood red and comes from our foods. Our body cannot properly assimilate the iron (ferric) from a cast iron pan. Ferric iron in its raw pig iron form when ingested gets treated by the body as a heavy metal and ends up getting stuck in the liver and kidneys. It should be noted that iron is stored in the body, so it can accumulate over time, contributing to joint pain/arthritis, digestive troubles (stomach acids trying to break down heavy metals instead of food), depression, impotence, early menopause, and other issues have been attributed to iron toxicity. Symptoms of too much iron are nausea, vomiting, damage to the lining of the intestinal tract, shock, and liver failure.
"Iron is an essential nutrient for all the cells in our body. Iron's main job is to help transport oxygen through hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in muscles. In order to function well, your body needs just the right amount of iron, which depends on your age and sex. A lack of iron in red blood cells leads to a condition known as iron deficiency or anemia. On the other hand, too much iron can lead to a dangerous condition called iron toxicity. Children under age three are particularly susceptible to iron toxicity, and symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, and hemorrhaging. To be on the safe side, avoid cooking foods for young children in iron pots.
Cooks should also be aware that that iron pots and deep-frying don't mix. Iron can oxidize fats, causing the cooking oil to become rancid.
Be careful with cast iron if you are pre-disposed to Hemochromatosis (a.k.a., iron overload disease) is a disorder that causes the body to metabolize iron improperly, allowing too much to enter the blood stream. As a result, excess amounts of iron in the blood can be absorbed or stored by the body, causing serious tissue and organ damage if not removed." -GoAskAlice.com
Cast iron cookware is very durable but iron is constantly leaching into the food, changing the enzymes in it. Iron can reach toxic levels in the body with regular use and becomes a pro-oxidant which causes stress, oxidation and eventually disease.
Iron kills vitamin C.
Non Stick / Teflon Coated
Disposable yet convenient, it can scratch, chip and flake. "Exposure to Teflon resins at temperatures above 393ºF may produce a condition termed polymer fume fever characterized by flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, body aches, nausea and occasional vomiting." Federal Aviation Agency Occupational Health & Safety Bulletin. A chemical, C-8, used to make non-stick coated pans has been linked to birth defects in humans to cancer in laboratory animals. The chemical is also present in the blood for up to 4 years and can show up in breast milk.
EWG finds heated Teflon pans can turn toxic faster than DuPont claims.
#1 Killer of household birds:
Canaries in the Kitchen: Teflon Toxicosis
GLASS / ENAMEL COATED
Poor heat distribution. Foods stick and burn, and can chip off into food. Contains lead or cadmium (the toxic part of batteries), heavy metals to temper the glass to take higher heat without exploding. Lead can cause reproductive harm and learning disabilities. If we took the lead out of the paint on our walls, the pipes in house, and our gas is now unleaded, shouldn't our cookware also be free of lead?
Cadmium according to Wikipedia: Cadmium has no constructive purpose in the human body. Cadmium is extremely toxic even in low concentrations, and will bioaccumulate in organisms and ecosystems.
May cause flu like symptoms including chills, fever, and muscle ache sometimes referred to as "the cadmium blues." Symptoms of inflammation may start hours after the exposure and include cough, dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, headache, dizziness, weakness, fever, chills, and chest pain.
The bones become soft (osteomalacia), lose bone mineral density (osteoporosis) and become weaker. This causes the pain in the joints and the back, and also increases the risk of fractures.
The kidneys lose their function to remove acids from the blood in proximal renal tubular dysfunction. The kidney damage inflicted by cadmium poisoning is irreversible. The proximal renal tubular dysfunction creates low phosphate levels in the blood (hypophosphatemia), causing muscle weakness and sometimes coma. The dysfunction also causes gout, a form of arthritis due to the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints because of high acidity of the blood (hyperuricemia). Another side effect is increased levels of chloride in the blood (hyperchloremia). The kidneys can also shrink up to 30%.
Other patients lose their sense of smell (anosmia).
A final note on glass cookware and bake ware, a friend told me how her glassware exploded from the oven and shot broken pieces of hot glass across the room. Fortunately none of her kids were in the room at the time.
Some ceramic foodwares have been found to leach significant quantities of lead from potential food contact surfaces. The metal is extractable by foods and can cause a wide variety of adverse health effects including the traditional effects of chronic lead poisoning under continued food use.
Ceramic, enamel, and glass cookware are manufactured with lead. Lead gives these wares shock resistance and color uniformity. The level of lead in each product is set by the manufacturer. Never cook with anything labeled "for decoration only".
Stainless Steel Cookware
Stainless steel cookware is made from a metal alloy consisting of mostly iron and chromium along with differing percentages of molybdenum, nickel, titanium, copper and vanadium. But even stainless steel allows other metals to leach into the foods. The principal elements in stainless that have negative effects on our health are iron, chromium and nickel.
There are many grades of stainless steel. Regular stainless steel cookware is made from different alloys including scrap metal. "Green" products made from "recycled" stainless steels can be radio-active and go into common household products undetected.
"Would you want anything radioactive in your kitchen? There is no such thing as an absolutely safe level of radioactive exposure."
See the Channel 7 News Report on The Mysterious Radioactive Cheese Grater
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and EPA keep passing this "hot" potato back and forth.
"Do you want to add another source of possible cancer or premature death to the risk already being faced by your children?" Dr. Michal Harbut, Toxicologist
Nuclear spoons: hot metal may find its way to your dinner table - Dept. of Energy's proposal to recycle radioactive metal into household products
DOE has come up with an ingenious plan to dispose of its troublesome tons of nickel, copper, steel, and aluminum. It wants to let scrap companies collect the metal, try to take the radioactivity out, and sell the metal to foundries, which would in turn sell it to manufacturers who could use it for everyday household products: pots, pans, forks, spoons, even your eyeglasses.
Aside from the risk of radioactivity, "The kind of steel used in most stainless steel cookware is not the best metal in which to prepare foods. Most stainless steel cookware sold in stores is of such a nature as to allow chrome and nickel to bleed out into foods as water and food chemicals react with the walls of the vessels as they are heated. The chrome and nickel salts are retained when ingested. They cannot be eliminated. They build up and in time can create troublesome conditions". - Dr. Shelton's Hygienic Review Division of Science, Engineering and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University at Erie, The Behrend College, 16563 Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Basic stainless steel is rated 18/8 or 18/10, the percent of chrome and nickel added to the alloy. Like a pair of denim pants, they can be $30 or more than $500 for pair designer jeans, but the basic material, denim, or stainless steel, is the same. So it goes with stainless steel cookware, the percent of chrome and nickel is what makes it common stainless steel pots and pans or other stainless steel utensils in the kitchen.
For cleanliness and safety reasons, food should be cooked on only Saladmaster's hypo-allergenic high-grade surgical stainless steel, extremely corrosion resistant to salts and acids. The addition of titanium makes 316Ti surgical stainless steel supremely heat tolerant.
Is the choice of many because it conducts heat so well. Copper cookware releases copper into the food to be eaten and usually also has nickel in the coating, which is another toxic heavy metal and can be very allergenic. Don't cook vegetables in copper or iron pots. Copper can kill vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acid.
Aluminum cookware is one of the most common cookware to use, but can be very toxic as this heavy metal is absorbed into all food cooked in it. The aluminum released into foods during cooking ends up in your body. Excess aluminum has been associated with estrogen-driven cancers and Alzheimer's Disease.
Very soft metal. Extreme chemical reaction between food and pan. "All Vegetables cooked in Aluminum produce hydroxide poison which neutralizes digestive juices, producing stomach and gastrointestinal trouble, such as stomach ulcers and colitis." Dr. A. McGuigan's Report on Findings for the Federal Trade Comm. In Docet Case No. 540 Washington, D.C. Note: The sale of aluminum cookware is prohibited in Germany, France, Belgium, Gr. Britain Switzerland, Hungary and Brazil.
Q: HOW CAN I TELL IF MY COOKWARE IS TOXIC?
A: Try the BAKING SODA TEST:
If you'd like to test the level of chemicals or metals leaching from your cookware you can do a simple cookware toxicity pollution test as follows:
Take a sample of each of the different types of cookware you are using and add 1 cup of water
Adjust the water with 1 tbsp of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate is used to simulate a similar PH level often realized in cooking conditions).
Bring water to a boil for 5-10 min (your food is usually exposed to the pan for 10 min or more.)
Add 1 tbsp sodium bicarbonate to a glass of warm water, stir, & taste (your control should taste extremely salty like the baking soda you brush your teeth with)
Taste water in each of the other pans (taste will range from very bitter to metallic to burnt rubber tires, to a mouthful of dirty nickels, to … #@!#$?