GreenPan Review: Uncovering the Truth Behind the Green Claims

7 min reading time

Too many unanswered questions about the safety of their cookware coating(s) is not a good sign.

In our recent Non-Toxic Cookware Guide, we decided not to include GreenPan, a popular non-stick ceramic cookware brand marketed as safe and non-toxic. Here’s why.

Read Our Guide On Truly Non-Toxic Cookware

While we may not recommend GreenPan, we have a full in-depth analysis on non-toxic cookware so you can find alternatives that are truly safe for your kitchen.

Click here to read our full guide on non-toxic cookware.

Unanswered Questions and Unclear Response From GreenPan

In March 2023, we reached out to GreenPan via email. We asked them about their coating(s), referred to as GlazeGuard or Thermolon on the Internet. In fact, it’s not clear whether GlazeGuard and Thermolon are two names for the same thing. This is the first issue we have with GreenPan.

Their reply arrived within 24 hours from Karen Lennox, Director of Consumer Services. Her response seemed to be a general, pre-written answer to any inquiry about their cookware coating(s). Here is our exchange:

BG: What are the ingredients in GlazeGuard? Is it applied on top of Thermolon? Are there any titanium dioxide nanoparticles in GlazeGuard or Thermolon?

GP: Our…Glazeguard cookware is completely free of…PTFE and other PFAS. Our products contain no toxic heavy metals and will not release…VOCs even when heated…Glazeguard starts from Earth-type raw materials…Beneath Glazeguard, the base material of the cookware comprises 99% iron…Glazeguard… [is] fused with the iron base material when fired at high temperatures between 1,380 and 1,560 ℉.

GreenPan’s response generated more questions. First of all, why wasn’t the term Thermolon in their reply? So, we followed up by asking:

BG: Is GlazeGuard the same thing as Thermolon? Are there any titanium nanoparticles in it/them?

At this time, Better Goods has not received a reply from GreenPan.  

Is Thermolon In GreenPan Cookware Safe?

Possibly because of the negative press GreenPan has received about Thermolon, the company has replaced the name with GlazeGuard. It appears so since their reply to us described a pan coating. But we’re not sure and are awaiting confirmation from GreenPan. 

If GlazeGuard differs from Thermolon, all prospective shoppers and GreenPan owners deserve an explanation. More importantly, they’re due a safety assessment or independent lab analysis of what GlazeGuard and/or Thermolon contains. Only then will they be able to judge whether GreenPan cookware is truly non-toxic.

Earlier Reports on Thermolon Safety

In 2021, the Ecology Center conducted a laboratory analysis of the GreenPan coating. Their published results were encouraging:

Brand Model Product ClaimsTest Result
GreenPanDover Ceramic Non-Stick 8” FryPanFree of PFAS, PFOA, lead, cadmiumSilicon dioxide ceramic

It appears from this analysis that GreenPan does not use Teflon, the brand name for PTFE, (polytetrafluoroethylene), in its cookware. It’s also true that potentially harmful titanium dioxide nanoparticles were not found in GreenPan, although we don’t know if the test included titanium. If there is no titanium, why didn’t GreenPan tell us when we asked? 

At the time of the Ecology Center’s test, Greenpan called its coating Thermolon. The company also posted toxicological lab test reports on its website. Unfortunately, the company no longer publishes test results. This is another suspicious change.

In a third-party lab report generated in 2017 and retrieved from the GreenPan website in 2018, no fluorine-containing substances were detected, substantiating GreenPan’s claims that there are no PFAS in Thermolon. However, since titanium was not tested for, it is unclear whether Thermolon contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles.

Why Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles in Cookware are Bad for You

Animal studies in rodents and other mammals using titanium dioxide nanoparticles have shown toxic effects. These include damaged sperm and numerous body organs and alterations to the immuno-protective gut microbiome. Whether humans would experience the same adverse health outcomes from titanium dioxide nanoparticle exposure is unclear. 

What is clear, according to a 2018 study, is that titanium dioxide nanoparticles—as well as nanoparticles from silicon dioxide (sand) also common in cookware including GreenPan’s—are released from ceramic cookware when the interior surface is scratched. 

This fact should concern everyone using this cookware since nanoparticle of titanium dioxide are classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen.

Until we get a definitive scientific answer regarding the safety of titanium nanoparticles in the coatings of cookware, Better Goods will not recommend cookware made with titanium nanoparticles, nor brands suspected of containing them. 

Besides GreenPan, avoid brands that sell “non-stick” cookware made with enamel or porcelain coatings — unless you have verified, independent testing that no titanium is present.

Until these companies satisfactorily answer our questions about all of the chemicals in their cookware, we will not recommend them. We hope you also inquire about the products you’re considering using. Only full, independently-sourced transparency can guarantee safety.

The GreenPan Lawsuit: Another Warning Sign

In 2019, several people filed a class action suit against The Cookware Company that makes GreenPan, alleging false advertising. Previously in 2013, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, also asked GreenPan to cease marketing its cookware as  “healthy, eco-friendly,” and that it contained “no potentially dangerous chemicals.”

NAD stated these claims were misleading, agreeing with DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon, which originally petitioned NAD to review GreenPan’s claims.

According to the 2019 lawsuit, GreenPan claims its cookware is completely toxin-free. Yet, as the lawsuit points out, the Thermolon non-stick coating on GreenPan ceramic cookware is not toxin-free. 

The Thermolon patent states it contains:

  • Silane
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Tetraethoxysilane
  • Methyltrimethoxysilane
  • Potassium titanate. 

These substances are associated with adverse health outcomes and are considered toxins.

Of greatest concern to Better Goods is the last chemical on the list indicating the presence of titanium ions in the GreenPan coating. This could be a source of titanium nanoparticles.

Because of this, we cannot classify GreenPan as toxic-free cookware, whether its coating is called Thermolon or GlazeGuard. We need more information. We hope GreenPan will provide it. If they do, we’ll post an update here.

Key Takeaways on GreenPan Safety

Read Our Guide On Truly Non-Toxic Cookware

While we may not recommend GreenPan, we have a full in-depth analysis on non-toxic cookware so you can find alternatives that are truly safe for your kitchen.

Click here to read our full guide on non-toxic cookware.

#1. High heat or scratched and chipped surfaces can result in the migration of cookware materials or coatings into your food. 

If these substances are toxic, they could cause health problems. Among the worst outcomes are reproductive or neurological damage, abnormalities in immune system functioning, or cancer. 

#2. PFAS and heavy metals like lead or cadmium in cookware coatings are the worst offenders, but unfortunately, they are not the only chemicals of concern. 

Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, classified as possibly carcinogenic, in cookware coatings lead to health problems in animal studies. Ongoing research in humans could produce the same results.

#3. GreenPan cookware, often recommended as non-toxic, has not been completely transparent about the chemicals in its cookware coating(s). In fact, they have not explicitly told us that GlazeGuard, a term viewed on their parent company’s website in 2023 to describe an enamel coating on some of their “non-stick” cookware, is different from Thermolon. It appears that GreenPan cookware doesn’t contain PFAS or lead, but the coating(s) used are of concern.

#4. In 2019, the allegedly toxic-free status of Thermolon was the subject of a lawsuit against the company that makes GreenPan. In that lawsuit, it became evident that the patented Thermolon is made with several toxic chemicals, including a titanium-containing substance. 

Until Better Goods receives information from GreenPan regarding the safety of all substances in its coating(s), in the form of third-party lab reports, we will not recommend them in our Non-Toxic Cookware Guide.

Download our free swap guide.
A cheatsheet of 50+ clean alternatives for your whole house. 
Thank you for subscribing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *