Is Ceramic cookware safe? – What are the dangers?
Ceramic coated cookware is the ‘New Kid On The Block’ in the world of non-stick cookware and of course, begs the question – “Is it safe?” what are the dangers of ceramic cookware?”, “Is it any Good?”.
Of course, it is essential that we automatically view any new product on the market regarding cookware with some suspicion and therefore question, firstly, the safety of its use to our health and secondly is it as good as ‘they’ say it is.
We want to know how it compares with other products that have been in use and on the market for years simply because with improved technology in testing these products more thoroughly, we are being bombarded with ‘Cause and Effects’ of health issues, as was the case from aluminum cookware and latterly Teflon non-stick products.
A little history about other types of cookware
Before we delve into Ceramic Cookware – let’s look briefly at the history of some of the more commonly used cookware past and present.
Our older generations were brought up with Aluminum cookware, it had been around for a long time and was very popular because it was cheap to buy and conducted heat very well.
Then in the 1960’s safety concerns began to arise when it was discovered that large amounts of aluminum was found in the brains of Alzheimer patients thus laying suspicion that this material was possibly the causing factor – from this material leaching into the food through cooking and being absorbed into the body.
The result was that many alternative ‘safer’ cookware surfaced on the market such as Stainless Steel, Porcelain, Glass and Iron.
In the meantime, as early back as 1938 Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE) was invented in association with the DuPont company and the Teflon trademark registered in 1944. By 1951 Teflon was used for commercial bread and cookie baking but due to potential problems associated with the release of toxic gases from overheating, the company avoided the consumer market.
It was only in 1954 a French engineer developed Teflon further and in 1956 Tefal cookware was launched for consumer use.
But again the question arose. – how safe is the Teflon non-stick cookware?
Studies are now underway – but not yet proven that the chemical used in making Teflon Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals, and possibly linked to elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease, and reduced fertility in people.
But in defense of Teflon, this remains “suggestive” and not proven as PFOA can be found in all other materials. No research has actually shown that the use of Teflon-coated cookware will raise the level of PFOA in our blood level; in fact, Scientists are still researching how PFOA is getting into our environment as it has also been detected in our water supplies
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are continuing with intensives studies to find if there is, indeed, long-term health effects associated with PFOA. (read our article – the dangers of Teflon)
So don’t be hasty to throw out all your Teflon based non-stick cookware just yet as there is no conclusive results from studies currently being carried out.
Is ceramic cookware safe?
It is a new material now being used for non-stick cookware and generally considered ‘The Safest’ and more importantly most environmentally friendly as they do not employ chemicals of questionable safety.
The question for us to ask is ‘Why?’ and how well does it work. Is it up to what is promised so let us look at the latest facts on this new product.
As quoted from a diligent person
” I personally use ceramic since it cooks evenly and doesn’t leach chemicals. I also have cast iron and stainless steel and use them occasionally, but even safe cookware options can be problematic. I avoid traditional non-stick and aluminum pans completely”. You can read more on ceramic vs teflon here
The positives of Ceramic Cookware are:
- It is safer as it is free of PTFE Polytetrafluoroethylene and PFOA Perfluorooctanoic Acid
- It is environmentally friendly
- Ceramic coatings come in a wide variety of styles and colors
- Used correctly, there is absolutely no need to line the pan with oil or butter as food will not stick if cooked correctly.
- Are easy to clean as most leftover food is easily wiped away with a wet cloth.
The Ceramic cookware is effective for easy cooking and cleaning due to its coating of silicon dioxide and, the hydrophobic and olephobic encapulated therein – a compound common in ceramic cookware.
What is the meaning and function of this compound?
- Silicon dioxide is a chemical compound – an oxide of silicon or silica most commonly found in nature as quartz.
- Hydrophobic and Olephobic – The literal translation of hydrophobic is”Fear of water” and olephobic “Fear of oil But in commercial terms it means they effectively resist water and oil.
With the recent boom in the last 5 years of polymer touch-based displays and screens there became a need for a substrate to resist fingerprinting which would cloud the users view of the display and reduce the effectiveness of the information of the display.
This is where these two compounds became the solution and now used in much other application for its self-cleaning and non-stick properties.
In Ceramic Cookware it’s the combined three compounds, Silicon-oxide, Hydrophobic and Oleophobic that makes this cookware desirable as a robust and/or abrasion resistant self cleaning success. Further advantages of Ceramic Cookware are:
- There are also ceramic pans available with dimpled patterns for increased non-stick efficiency
- This compound holds heat so efficiently that when removed from the stove, the pan still radiates heat energy and adds flavour to the food
- Pots can heat up to over 27000 degrees – higher to melt most metals
- You can take hot pan and put into cold water and it won’t crack
- They are resistant to scratching and denting
- It is non-toxic.
- BUT – like and ‘glass object – don’t throw it around as it could easily break
There are arguments that ceramic has a shorter life span than other traditional non stick frying pans but this has not been proved nor found conclusively.
we also advice that you should not put your ceramic pots and pans in the dishwasher to hale then last longer
How To Use and Care Ceramic Cookware
Some have found that cooking without oil, butter or cooking spray is preferable and argue it to be the correct way to cook with both Teflon and Ceramic cookware as it can dramatically extend the life span of both.
If you do use oil (or butter) to cook, it is most important to wash off all traces of the cooked oil otherwise layers of the oil will build up thus diminish the non-stick properties of the pan or pot and cause premature aging.
When cleaning, care must be taken. Do not scrub viciously, rather soak the pan first with soapy water and then wipe away the residue with a soft sponge or cloth.
The best solution is cooking without and oil or fats at all.