We Found The Best Non-Toxic Cookware [2023 Complete Guide]
After an exhaustive two-week investigation, our team took a deep dive into the world of cookware, unearthing the unsettling truths hidden within.
Today we’ll be looking at:
- What makes cookware toxic.
- What PFAS are and why they’re in cookware.
- Why you should be aware of “PFOA-Free” cookware.
- The potential health impacts of toxic cookware.
- The best types of cookware and the best non-toxic cookware.
We relentlessly pursued answers, directly contacting 10+ of the most popular cookware brands, leaving no stone unturned as we probed for the materials (and potential toxins) that go into the making of their products.
In this eye-opening article, we’ll peel back the layers of misinformation and reveal everything you need to know about the lurking dangers in your pots and pans. But it’s not all doom and gloom—we’ve also identified the rare, shining stars of the cookware industry that truly offer non-toxic options.
Are you ready to lift the lid on the cookware conspiracy? Join us as we navigate the murky waters of untested chemicals, empower green shoppers, and uncover the best brands of truly non-toxic cookware. Say goodbye to toxins on your dinner plate—your culinary future just got a whole lot brighter.
Our Quick Recommendations
- For frying pans, stock pots, and saucepans, our #1 recommendation is Made In’s stainless steel collection. Their products are of the highest quality and built to last. Click here to shop them on Amazon.
- For baking and ovenware, we commend borosilicate glass as the safest choice. Our #1 recommendation for this category is Simax, which is durable and made in Europe. They make various casserole dishes with or without lids, and you’ll find a dish for every baking occasion (even pie). Click here to shop the full collection.
- A dutch oven is another non-toxic must-have, and our #1 recommendation is from Lodge. It comes in various shapes and over 24+ colors, and the price is also affordable. We suggest getting the 6-quart in your favorite color.
What Makes Cookware Toxic?
There are literally tens of thousands of toxic chemicals that could be on or in the pots, pans, skillets, woks, or other cookware you commonly use. Less than 1% have been safety tested.
Most cookware toxins belong to a huge class of 1940s-era lab-made chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). As a chemical family, they contain one or more atoms of the element fluorine, joined to long chains of carbon atoms.
The fluorine-carbon linkage is one of the strongest and most stable of all chemical bonds. This feature gives PFAS the nickname forever chemicals. As you can guess, PFAS persist in the environment and living organisms indefinitely without breaking down and build up over time (bioaccumulate).
Two of the most hazardous PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). They were used as processing aids to make other PFAS, including the most (in)famous one: polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon.
Banned from production and use in the United States in 2015, PFOA and PFOS have been replaced by a mixture of PFAS called GenX. Thought to be less hazardous than its progenitors, GenX is turning out to be more toxic.
Why Are There PFAS In Cookware?
Despite their harmful effects that have been known for decades, PFAS continue to be used for their water- and stain-resistant properties in numerous consumer goods:
- Food packaging
- Non-stick cookware
- Cleaning products
- Clothes and underwear
- Outdoor wear and equipment
- Personal care products
- Carpets and furniture.
What Does PFOA-Free Cookware Mean?
A PFOA-Free label may mean that the non-stick coating applied to the cookware does not contain PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). However, you should not assume that the cookware is free of other PFAS.
For context, all PFOA production and industrial use was supposedly banned in the United States due to safety concerns by 2015. PFOA had been used to make Teflon, the name understood as synonymous with non-stick. The chemical name for Teflon is polytetrafluoroethylene, (PTFE).
The Ecology Center published the results from a 2020 study on nonstick cookware. They found that 79% of nonstick pans contained PTFE. Many of these pans were labeled as PFOA-free.
In a 2021 follow-up study, they analyzed four more nonstick pans. Two pans labeled PFOA-Free contained PTFE. The two others, labeled PFAS-Free and PTFE-Free, really were.
As anti-PFAS laws take effect in several states beginning in 2023, expect to find confusing PFAS labels on many more products. Bookmark Better Goods for PFAS label updates. We’ll tell you what they mean — and don’t mean!
Can Non-Stick Cookware Still Contain Banned PFOA?
Old non-stick cookware (pre-2015 for U.S.-made cookware), scratched, or made in foreign countries where PFOA is still produced and used are most problematic when it comes to the risk of PFOA migrating into food.
The only way to ensure your cookware is absolutely PFOA-free is to conduct a laboratory analysis of the cookware. Since testing is expensive, opting for non-toxic cookware without a PFAS coating is the safest way to go.
How Safe is The PFOA Replacement Used To Make Teflon?
Hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO, also known as a GenX chemical) was lab-developed in 2009 as a “safe” replacement for PFOA in Teflon manufacturing.
In 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted toxicity studies on HFPO-DA (dimer acid of HFPO) and a related compound called GenX. EPA found them to be more toxic than PFOA, the banned carcinogen used as a processing aid in Teflon manufacture.
In light of this finding, Better Goods recommends avoiding the “new” Teflon as well as the old in non-stick cookware.
Is Toxic Cookware Bad For Our Health?
There is no doubt that toxic cookware is bad for health. PFAS are the major culprits. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), declared PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B).
PFAS are associated with other serious health conditions as well. Many are related to the endocrine-disrupting (ED) nature of PFAS. By definition, it only takes a very small quantity of an ED to exert a powerful effect on hormonal controls in many major biological systems, including reproductive and neurological systems. Thus, a small quantity of a forever chemical migrated into food from cookware is of major concern.
There is another problem with PFAS exposure. Almost all of the research conducted on PFAS considers effects of a single forever chemical on the body. It is unknown whether and how they exert a synergistic effect when several are present. This research is still new but growing. Early indications suggest toxicity from several PFAS is much worse taken together than simply being additive.
This is reason enough for us at Better Goods to avoid the entire PFAS chemical family. Better to be safe than sorry.
What Are The Health Impacts of PFAS Exposure?
Have you seen the film Dark Waters? Take a look at its gripping trailer.
Dark Waters chronicles the toxic saga of one PFAS, PFOA, released in wastewater from a DuPont factory in West Virginia. Birth defects and cancer are just two adverse health effects in people heavily exposed to PFOA.
Here’s a list of other negative health outcomes associated with PFAS exposure based on both human and animal studies:
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Reproductive dysfunction in women
- Elevated cholesterol
- Weakened response to vaccines
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Birth defects
- Reduced fertility in men and women
- High blood pressure in middle-aged women and in pregnant women
- Heightened risk of testicular or kidney cancer
Are There Any PFAS Regulations in the United States?
During decades of documented associations between PFAS exposure and serious health conditions coupled with thousands of lawsuits, there were no national standards for permissible levels of PFAS in food, water, or consumer products despite vocal advocacy by environmental and health groups for stringent standards or outright bans.
In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a non-enforceable lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) in drinking water. At the time, the EPA had not established national primary drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS.
In March 2023, EPA proposed a first-ever national primary drinking water regulation for six PFAS in drinking water: 4 ppt. Note that this level is significantly less than 2016’s 70 ppt. Only highly sophisticated labs have instruments that can even detect a chemical present in such a small quantity.
- Mixture of PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and HFPO-DA (GenX)
To aid states, EPA proposed non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) and enforceable standards called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). If finalized as expected by the end of 2023, the proposal requires public water utilities to:
- Monitor drinking water for these PFAS contaminants
- Notify consumers if MCLs are exceeded
- Take steps to treat public drinking water until MCL compliance is achieved.
The proposed regulation came on the heels of a June 2022 decision when the EPA announced updated lifetime advisories for:
- PFOA (0.004 ppt)
- PFOS (0.02 ppt)
- PFBS (2,000 ppt)
- GenX (10 ppt)
That the standards are so low — for lifetime exposure of ubiquitous chemicals — indicates how toxic PFAS are.
Even given these more stringent standards, major environmental and health groups say they are not enough to protect public health. They call for PFAS regulation of the entire class of chemicals since studies indicate they all are associated with serious health effects and significant environmental damage.
Are PFAS Regulated In Consumer Goods?
Unlike in drinking water, PFAS in consumer goods like cookware are not regulated in the United States. Some PFAS are authorized for use in food contact applications, including cookware and food packaging, by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In recent years, FDA has revoked authorization for these uses of certain PFAS when their toxicity became undisputable.
In 2022, the EPA designated PFOA and PFOS as hazardous chemicals under the SuperFund law. The classification shifts the onus of cleanup costs on the company responsible for the pollution. This is an important first step toward future regulation of similar chemicals in consumer products, although no specific PFAS have been targeted yet.
Despite governmental inaction on PFAS regulation in consumer products in the U.S., private companies are taking the initiative and banning them. In 2022, 3M, a major manufacturer of PFAS, announced its plan to end production by 2025, probably stemming from the fallout of being sued by the state of California for the cleanup costs of its PFAS pollution. In 2023, retailer REI announced a ban of PFAS in outerwear and cookware starting in Fall 2024. Other companies will likely follow.
The European Union has proposed a PFAS ban in most consumer goods, including cookware, beginning in 2026. Hailed as the largest chemical ban ever in Europe of over 10,000 related compounds, the Union recognizes that some products will become obsolete, suggesting major economic upheavals are on the way when PFAS finally leave the marketplace for most (but not all) goods.
What Are The Best Types of Non-Toxic Cookware?
All of the best types of non-toxic cookware do not leach chemicals into food like PFAS may do, even at high heat (approximately 400-500°F). Depending on the type of stove you have, a skillet could get as high as 500°F. Oven temperatures comparable to that are possible.
Here are the six best types of non-toxic cookware that have no PFAS and are safe even at high temperatures.
Formed from sand, glass cookware is chemically non-reactive, so there’s nothing that could potentially migrate into food. Impurities are always possible but rare.
As an inert material, glass cookware won’t react with acidic foods. It’s also non-porous, so it won’t absorb food stains or odors. Easy to clean, too, and microwavable.
But all glass cookware isn’t made the same. In the U.S., Pyrex used to be made of borosilicate glass, known to withstand thermal shocks. This means putting a hot saucepan into the refrigerator won’t cause it to crack.
Today, soda lime glass, not able to withstand temperature changes as well, is used in Pyrex made in the U.S. Another product made by the same company, CorningWare, is a glass-ceramic composite called pyroceram. Chemically, it is made from a magnesium aluminosilicate glass with titania (titanium).
Although magnesium aluminum silicate is considered safe and frequently used in cosmetics and skincare products, the fact that aluminum, a neurotoxin, is present is reason not to use pyroceram cookware. Similarly, titanium, banned as a food additive in Europe, is not something we’d like to see in cookware given that safer alternatives exist.
Fortunately, European-made Pyrex is still formed from borosilicate glass. A few European companies make cookware from this higher-quality glass. See our list of the best brands below for our top choice in glass cookware.
Readers may be surprised that Corning’s VisionWare glass cookware does not appear on our list. An independent study found that a few VisionWare products tested contained lead. So, it’s not something we’d want around food.
When formed from earth minerals and clay uncontaminated by heavy metals like lead or cadmium, ceramic cookware is non-toxic. But pure ceramic cookware is difficult to find in the U.S.
Even though some ceramic aficionados claim they are, pure ceramic pots and pans are not naturally non-stick. A coating or glaze could make it non-stick, but that could also make it toxic.
Most ceramic-based cookware options include a coating of PTFE (Teflon) or titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano TiO2) applied to a metal pan or pot. As described above, Teflon is best avoided for health reasons. Readers should be aware that PTFE may go by many trade names including QuanTanium, Granitestone, DuPont Autograph, and Greblon.
So far, animal studies show that titanium nanoparticles cause the following adverse health consequences:
- Sperm damage
- Damage to the liver, testicles, heart, brain, and kidneys
- Gut microbiome alterations.
It is unclear whether titanium nanoparticles cause the same negative health effects in people. Research is ongoing. The 2020 ban on titanium dioxide as a food additive in France only raises suspicions about nano TiO2 safety.
Another non-stick coating on ceramic cookware to watch out for is Thermolon, which appears to be made of plastic and silicon. Unfortunately, no known studies assess Thermolon’s safety, so we recommend avoiding it.
We reached out to a few companies that make ceramic-coated cookware that often appears on non-toxic cookware lists just like this one. Indeed, we discovered that most of them use nano TiO2. For this reason, we do not include them in our guide to the best non-toxic cookware.
Traditional ceramic glazes often contain lead, a potent neurotoxin. Contemporary ceramic glazes may contain nano TiO2. So, if you happen upon a vintage pure ceramic pan with or without a decorative design, or a new one with a shiny glaze, don’t use it.
3. Cast Iron
The fact that cast iron has been used for centuries is a testament to its non-toxic nature. Made almost completely of iron, it is heavy, durable, and safe. When properly seasoned, cast iron is practically non-stick.
Cast iron may leach iron when exposed to highly acidic foods. This is not necessarily a bad thing since iron is an essential nutrient. Leaching is more likely and pronounced in new cast iron cookware than time-tested ware. A properly well-seasoned cast iron pan also hinders leaching but could be stripped of its non-stick property by acidic foods.
Decorative coatings and glazes on vintage cast iron cookware likely contain lead, a neurotoxin. Avoid using it for food.
4. Enameled Cast Iron
Powdered glass particles fused at high temperatures onto the surface of cast iron cookware creates enameled cast iron. The protective covering prevents rust formation and the need to season it. Practically non-stick, enameled cast iron is like a hybrid between glass and cast iron, both remarkably non-toxic.
As long as it’s not cracked, the enamel coating prevents metal from leaching into food, making this type of non-toxic cookware a favorite among chefs who cook with acidic ingredients.
Be aware that the enameled cast iron of some top names in cookware, like Le Creuset, may contain high levels of lead (neurotoxin) or cadmium (carcinogen). We recommend you thoroughly investigate any enameled, coated, or glazed cookware before purchasing it to be sure it’s truly non-toxic.
5. Stainless Steel
As a metal alloy (mixture), stainless steel is composed mainly of iron with chromium added to prevent corrosion (rust). Small amounts of other metals, including nickel, titanium, aluminum, copper, or molybdenum, may be added to improve durability and strength.
Stainless steel cookware from reputable brands is non-toxic. In a 2017 study, small amounts of nickel and cadmium leached into highly acidic foods like tomato sauce when cooked or stored in stainless steel cookware for extended periods. But metal leaching from stainless steel isn’t an issue for most purposes.
People with a nickel allergy concerned about it leaching into their food could purchase 18/0 grade stainless steel that contains no nickel.
Most stainless steel cookware is sold without a non-stick coating. Avoid any that have coatings because they aren’t needed. They could contain toxic ingredients, too.
Fortunately, creating a non-stick surface on stainless steel cookware is easy. Preheat an empty pan, add oil until hot, followed by room-temperature food.
Some stainless steel cookware is made with one or more layers of aluminum or copper inside layers of stainless steel. As long as these metals are not in direct contact with food, toxicity should not be a problem.
6. Carbon Steel
As a cross between stainless steel and cast iron, carbon steel possesses the best qualities of both, including being non-toxic.
Composed of iron and carbon, carbon steel cookware is lightweight compared to cast iron. Like its heavier counterpart, carbon steel must be pre-seasoned with oils and fats to become non-stick. Also, like cast iron, highly acidic foods and liquids (like tomatoes or wine) remove the oily layer, so you’ll need to season it again.
Carbon steel cookware contains less chromium than stainless steel. This means it doesn’t resist corrosion as well. After each use, dry it thoroughly to discourage rust formation.
What Are The Best Brands of Non-Toxic Cookware?
Here are Better Goods’ top picks for leading brands in all six major types of non-toxic cookware. Some of them we love so much that we couldn’t help raving about our culinary successes using them. (We didn’t think you’d mind.)
Most of all, using them provides peace of mind that our healthy meals haven’t turned toxic because of the cookware we used to prepare them. We trust you’ll feel the same way.
Best Glass Non-Toxic Cookware
|Made In||Czech Republic|
|Products||Pots, Roasters, Casserole dishes|
|Price Range||$25 – $60|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
Simax easily takes this category, hands down, as the best brand for non-toxic glass cookware. First off, it’s so clear, indicating no potentially toxic dyes could migrate into food. Despite glass being chemically inert, we always err on the side of caution and avoid colored glass.
Czechoslovakian-made of recycled glass (also a bonus) for over 200 years, Simax is pure borosilicate glass able to withstand temperatures up to 572°F and down to -40°F. That’s heat—and cold—proof glass!
We love that the 2-qt. The saucepan handles stay cool during cooking (but get hot in the oven). If you have young children just “learning” how to cook, the transparency of Simax glass cookware makes it all so exciting. (Make sure they keep the mitts on at all times, though, to avoid burns.)
Simax crafts casserole dishes with lids, roasters, loaf pans, and much more.
Pyrex (Made in France)
|Products||Pots, Roasters, Casserole dishes|
We don’t mean to be snooty, but as described above, U.S.-made Pyrex is now made of soda lime glass, while French-made Pyrex is made of superior borosilicate glass. We love the American Pyrex inherited from our grandparents, but the new stuff doesn’t compare.
Although we’ve been careful and haven’t experienced a stovetop explosion with soda glass Pyrex, be prepared for one if you purchase U.S.-made Pyrex.
Better yet, buy some French-made Pyrex and be safe. Unfortunately, you may have difficulty finding it for sale in the USA. Here’s a glass steamer we found getting rave reviews on Amazon. Bon appetit!
Best Cast Iron Non-Toxic Cookware
No non-toxic kitchen is complete without a cast iron skillet. Fortunately, there are many reputable companies to choose from. We’ve had good experiences with the following two companies, so they make our list.
|Products||Skillets Grill Pans Dutch Oven Sauce Pot|
|Price Range||$100 – $3,100 (complete set)|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
Finex is in a class by itself as far as cast iron goes. They pre-season their cookware with organic flaxseed oil. You’ll want to continue the pre-seasoning process to make your naturally non-stick cookware fool-proof even for the stickiest concoction you dream up.
Made in the USA, the unique octagonal skillet design makes pouring a cinch. The coiled handle makes cooking with the Finex skillet fun. Try it and you’ll see what we mean.
|Materials||Cast iron, carbon steel|
|Products||Skillets Dutch Ovens Griddles, Grill Pans & Grill Presses|
|Price Range||$22 – $120|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
Lodge is another American company with exceptional quality cast iron cookware since 1896. Today, Lodge offers enameled cast iron and carbon steel cookware, too. The cast iron and carbon steel products are made in the USA but the enameled cast iron is made in China.
If you’re new to cooking with cast iron cookware, Lodge has an informative website on how to get started. Purchasing a Lodge bundle of a pre-seasoned griddle, two skillets, and a Dutch oven with lid will meet most of your kitchen needs.
Best Enameled Cast Iron Non-Toxic Cookware
Though not a top choice due to questionable toxicity, as we’ve noted above with Le Creuset, enameled cast iron could be a great addition to your non-toxic kitchen for things like fried eggs that don’t always slide off cast iron even if it’s well-seasoned.
Enamel could chip easily, so extra care is needed. At least with an enamel (glass) coating rather than Teflon, you won’t have to worry about PFAS.
|Materials||Cast iron (enameled)|
|Products||Skillets, Dutch ovens|
|Price Range||$105 – $319|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
Milo enameled cast iron cookware is in a class by itself. Constructed of 40% recycled cast iron content, you’re helping build a circular economy with a Milo purchase. Kana donates part of its profits to 1% for the Planet, a group that supports nonprofits involved in environmental protection.
Milo pans are coated with Belgian porcelain enamel. We’ve reached out twice to inquire about its safety but have not received a reply. There is no way to contact them by phone, so receiving support may be difficult if a problem arises.
Best Stainless Steel Non-Toxic Cookware
The wonderful thing about stainless steel is its versatility. You can make it act like it has a non-stick surface that rivals even Teflon with proper heat, oil, and timing. So, don’t be fooled by brands who market enameled stainless steel or stainless cookware with a proprietary coating. You don’t need it, and whether you can find out what’s really in the coating is questionable.
Just infinitely recyclable, classic stainless steel will do just fine — and last longer than most types of cookware.
|Products||Saucepans, Stock Pots, Sauté Pans, Fry Pans, Slow Cookers|
|Price Range||$99 – $629|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
Our personal favorite in stainless steel is 360 Cookware. Made in the USA with a lifetime guarantee, 360 pots, and pans get their characteristic shine from a purely mechanical process (no harsh chemicals). Even after regular use over the years, our 360 covered frying pan is as gleaming as it was when we first opened the box — even the pan’s interior.
Constructed of multi-core, 110-gauge steel, 360 cookware is thicker (and heavier) than most other brands of stainless steel cookware. In fact, 360 gives durability a whole new meaning!
|Products||Fry Pans & Skillets, Chef Pans, Saucepans & Sauciers, Saute Pans, Soups & Stockpots, Dutch Ovens, Griddle & Grill, Pans, Roasters|
|Price Range||$100 – $1,300 (full set)|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
This American company makes our list because of the numerous options it offers in cookware, backed by a lifetime guarantee. However, this isn’t to say that all of their products are equally non-toxic. They sell PTFE-coated pans, for example.
Their stainless steel offerings cover all the bases for kitchenware, cookware, bakeware, and more. All-Clad sells cookware with copper and aluminum layers in 3- and 5-ply styles.
Their newest offering is a ceramic-fused stainless steel line. We requested more details on the ceramic fusion process but were disappointed by their email response: “The exact composition of our ceramics are not available…”
Not satisfied with the response, we called All-Clad for more information. Sadly, the phone exchange was worse than the email reply. We were told the material is proprietary, so they couldn’t provide details. But then, when we continued this line of inquiry, the customer service rep told us to call France, where it was made.
Lacking relevant specifications on this cookware line, we cannot recommend it.
Best Carbon Steel Non-Toxic Cookware
If you like cast iron but find it too heavy, then lightweight and non-toxic carbon steel is what you need. Here are our favorites.
|Products||Fry Pans & Skillets Sauté Pans Saucepans & Pots Crepe & Tortilla pans Roasting Pans & Griddles|
|Price Range||$25 – $215|
|Where To Buy||Amazon|
We love the fact that de Buyer pre-seasons its Mineral B carbon steel pans with natural beeswax to protect against rust. Of course, you should continue to season them at home to make them truly non-stick.
Handmade in France, these thick pans work well at any — and we mean any — temperature. The best part is: no worries about toxic leaching at high heat because these pans aren’t coated with toxic chemicals.
Note that de Buyer also sells copper cookware which we do not recommend. Copper leaches into acidic foods. Too much copper ingestion can be toxic.
Likewise, stay away from the PTFE-coated cookware sold by de Buyer. This company mixes cookware pieces made from various materials to form sets you purchase together. We suggest you search for carbon steel pieces only when making an online purchase.
|Products||Frying and Saute Pans Saucepans and Sauciers Woks Dutch Ovens and Braisers Stock Pots Grill Pans and Griddles|
|Price Range||$49 – $349|
Made in the USA, Made In’s carbon steel pans are deceptively appealing. They look, feel, and perform like dreaded PTFE cookware — but they’re not! You can purchase unseasoned or seasoned cookware from Made In. It’s amazing how fast even the stickiest foods will slide right off the seasoned carbon steel pans and pots.
Made In offers a recycling program. For $20 (to cover shipping & handling), you can send your retired cookware back to this company in the box that your new cookware arrived in. They will donate it to a Habitat for Humanity Restore.
Made In has a huge selection of products that will meet your every need—and desire—in the kitchen. Note that Made In also sells copper, enameled cast iron, and a “non-stick” cookware line, but it is unclear if the coatings are truly non-toxic. We could not get a definitive answer from this company about its materials.
Best Ceramic Non-Toxic Cookware
Unfortunately, none of the ceramic cookware brands we analyzed can be highly recommended.
|Materials||Ceramic (inside and out with a proprietary glaze)|
|Products||Skillets, Sauté Pans, Woks, Saucepans, Stock Pots, Dutch Oven|
|Price Range||$150 – $450|
Xtrema is one of the few cookware companies that posts test results on their website. But as discussed above, ceramic coatings and glazes may contain potentially harmful titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano TiO2) and heavy metals. From their website, Xtrema has not tested for nano TiO2.
Further, there’s the issue of test sensitivity. In other words, even if Xtrema tests for nano TiO2, can the test they employ detect minute quantities? This is a question for Xtrema when they test for this chemical.
We reached out via email to Xtrema about their proprietary glaze. They sent us a reply, which led to a robust email exchange. Here are the highlights:
BG: Does your glaze contain nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles, and/or silica dioxide (SiO2) embedded in a silicone polymer matrix?
X: Glaze…creation follows a straightforward chemical process, where minerals are turned into glass, each material having its own contribution to the composition of the final product…
BG: Should I assume when you say “minerals turned into glass” that you are confirming the presence of TiO2 and/or SiO2 nanoparticles in your glaze?
X: We do not use nanoparticles in the making of our products.
BG: Regarding the glaze, what is the size of the mineral particles you are fusing at high temperatures? Is titanium one of the minerals you’re using?
X: We do not disclose the specific materials or ratios of those materials…
Because Xtrema has not specifically disclosed all of the materials in their glaze, we cannot give Xtrema a wholehearted endorsement. We encourage you to make your own inquiry. Use our questions if you like. Hopefully, when Xtrema starts to receive identical questions on nano TiO2, they will do third-party testing for it and publish the results.
If that happens, we’ll gladly include Xtrema on our list of the best non-toxic ceramic cookware.
|Materials||Ceramic coating with aluminum core|
|Made In||Thailand, China, and Mexico|
|Products||Always Pan & Perfect Pot|
|Price Range||$150 – $400|
For readers who like ceramic, we include Our Place on our list because it appears to be the most transparent brand selling a type of ceramic cookware. On their website FAQ page, they state: “The Always Pan uses a sol-gel non-stick coating that is made primarily from silicon dioxide which is known in the cookware industry as ‘ceramic non-stick.’”
We contacted Our Place via email for more information about their cookware. Here are highlights from our exchange:
BG: Does your cookware contain nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) particles, and/or silica dioxide (SiO2)?
OP: Our Cookware has a ceramic nonstick interior coating which is made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles.
BG: Can you send me lab reports or certificates to support your claim?
OP: We do not release our testing reporting as they do contain proprietary information.
BG: Do you use titanium dioxide or silicon dioxide nanoparticles in the ceramic coating?
OP: Our Cookware’s interior nonstick coatings are sol-gel ceramic, which is different from a silicone glaze.
BG: I didn’t ask about silicone. I asked about titanium nanoparticles. You have not addressed them in your cookware coating. Are they present or not? Sol-gel is famous for nanoparticles. I wonder if yours is, too.
OP: The details of the coating we used are proprietary information.
BG: I’m concerned about possible adverse health from ingesting titanium nanoparticles if I use your cookware. Are there titanium nanoparticles in the coating?
OP: We definitely don’t want you using anything you’re not comfortable with. While we are extremely confident you would not be consuming nanoparticles while using our cookware in accordance with our care and use instructions…
BG: Are you saying there ARE titanium nanoparticles in your cookware, but if I kept a low temperature and didn’t scratch it, hand washing only, the titanium nanoparticles would not get loose and enter my food?
Our Place did not respond to our last question. Since this company offered no third-party lab test results, we cannot recommend Our Place cookware as non-toxic. Feel free to use our questions if you want to purchase this cookware but want to know more. Hopefully, the more nano TiO2 inquiries they receive will compel them to conduct independent, third-party testing and prove Our Place cookware is free of titanium dioxide nanoparticles.
We’re not thrilled about the aluminum core of Our Place cookware since aluminum is a neurotoxin. This is why it is vital that you guard the integrity of the ceramic coating so nothing will leach into your food. Use only bamboo or wood utensils on it, taking extreme care not to damage it. Do not heat it at high temperatures for extended periods. If you scratch it, do not use it again.
Also, remember that all coatings (even Teflon) will eventually wear off. So when your Always Pan starts to look worn — depending on use, it could be in a year or less — it’s time to discard it.
Key Takeaways On Non-Toxic Cookware
Eating healthy involves more than just consuming organic food. It also requires that your cookware used to prepare that food is non-toxic.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid pots and pans with “non-stick” coatings. If they don’t contain one or more compounds in the large PFAS family, they are likely coated with substances of questionable safety. Likewise, trademarked coatings do not guarantee safety.
The best non-toxic types of cookware are:
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
There are a few variations of the top four that we mention in the section above on types of non-toxic cookware. We also scoured the market for brands manufacturing authentically non-toxic cookware, and list our top picks here. One or more may be just what you’re looking for.
In fact, to preserve the high quality of your non-toxic cookware for decades, it’s a good idea to purchase your top two or three brands. One brand may perform best for certain foods while another brand fits the bill for others. Using them on a rotating basis prevents overuse, too.
With genuinely non-toxic cookware selected from our list, you’ll enjoy healthy meals all the time, reassured that your cookware didn’t leach toxic chemicals into them.