Friday, June 09, 2006

How Healthy Are Your Pots & Pans?

We've all heard about the dangers of non-stick cookware. According to the Environmental Working Group, Teflon emits toxic fumes when heated to high temperatures. But if we need to swap out our pots and pans, what do we replace them with?

If possible, it’s best to cook in non-reactive materials such as ceramic, glass and lead-free earthenware. The enzymes in food are very chemically active and tend to react with the metallic ions in metal cookware, leaching small amounts of these metals into your food. If you do choose to use metal pots and pans, use high-density cast iron or heavy-gauge stainless steel.

There is currently a great deal of controversy surrounding aluminum’s link to Alzheimer’s disease so I would caution you against using aluminum cookware until there’s more conclusive evidence that it poses no risk. When it comes to anodized aluminum, manufacturers claim that this process seals in the aluminum, preventing it from leaching into food. Another safe bet is good quality enamel-coated cast iron and stoneware by manufacturers such as Le Creuset. Be weary of cheaper imitations, which tend to chip easily, since you don’t want these fragments finding their way into your food.


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