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May 24, 2012 05:15 PM

Nonreactive cookware

I'm trying a recipe for bone broth that recommends adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of vinegar into the soup. The purpose is to facilitate the release of minerals into to the broth from the bones during cooking. To avoid metal also leeching into my soup, I've been using a ceramic pot to make my broth, but unfortunately it only holds 31/2 quarts. I was searching for a ceramic stockpot, when I discovered that titanium is also nonreactive. Does anyone know if titanium is also nonreactive even when cooking with vinegar?

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  1. There is nothing more inert in chemical reactions than PTFE (Teflon). Chemists use it instead of glassware when they need maximum purity. I don't know about titanium, but that seems like an expensive solution whether it has the properties you seek or not.

    29 Replies
    1. re: GH1618

      I just happen to already have a titanium stockpot. Also, are you talking about this kind of Teflon?

      Teflon is the trademarked name for the chemical Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This chemical, which makes things “non-stick” in its use in cookware, should be classified as a “likely carcinogen” (a cancer-causing substance) according to some advisers to the EPA. You would think that that should be enough to get the EPA to ban its use in products meant to heat up and cook food, but alas no…they have just decided that the companies using Teflon should make it less likely to break down. Yep, in effect, everybody can keep using Teflon as long as they figure out a way to keep it from leeching into everything that it is used in…cookware, clothes, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, your mouth, etc. And companies have until 2015 to do so.

      Within two to five minutes on a stove, cookware coated with Teflon can exceed temperatures at which the teflon coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to thousands of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year. Sounds safe, right? From the Environmental Working Group:

      “In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736 degrees F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721 degrees F in just five minutes under the same test conditions (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446 degrees F. At 680 degrees F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000 F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.“

      Well that certainly sounds safe, no?

      1. re: cheuimay

        We disagree on the safety of PTFE. There is no reason to heat it to such temperatures. If you need temperatures that high, another material is more suitable. Probably all metals will leach in a high-temperature acid bath.

        1. re: GH1618

          I agree with you about the PTFE hysteria, it should have been put to rest a long time ago. Le Creuset makes stock pots in several sizes that are enamel on steel. You won't get any leeching from it.

          I use my 10 qt stainless steel pressure cooker to make stock. Saves on energy and time and in this unusual 90+ F weather we are having, it does not heat up my kitchen.

          1. re: Candy

            For most people, they need to prioritize their fear and their efforts. Significantly more people harm themselves with the foods they eat as oppose to the cookware they use. I don't know any study can clearly claim that people dying from using Teflon/PTFE cookware, but I know millions of people harm themselves every single day because they eat foods which are too salty, too much fat, too much red meat, too much calories...etc.

            Clean up what you eat first before worrying about the Teflon cookware. Our society has been using Teflon for decades and it is probably the most popular cookware in residential kitchens (providing a huge testing population). We have yet to clearly see a clear lethal harm from Teflon cookware.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I will assume you are preaching to the choir and NOT ME!

        2. re: cheuimay

          How is this stock pot 'titanium'? I have found in other discussions that there are two kinds of 'titanium' cookware. There pots made from the metal. These tend to be light and thin, capitalizing on the high strength to weight property of the metal, and most sold to backpackers.

          And there are conventional pots with some sort of titanium ceramic coating. Those manufacturers make a big deal about the titanium, as though it gives a high tech aura to the product. But I don't know if it is better than any other ceramic nonstick coating. Note also that some companies make a big deal about using ceramics or diamonds, but in the fine print admit that they also use PTFE.

          What brand is this pot?

          For your purposes, what's wrong with stainless steel?

          1. re: paulj

            The one I have is a SCANPAN. I purchased it a long time ago. I think it has an aluminum core with titanium exterior. I stopped using it because I wanted to switch to non reactive cookware and bought a set of ceramic ones, which unfortunately don't conduct heat evenly. Actually, for making soup, the ceramic ones are great, but the largest pot in my set is only 3 1/2 quart, so I was looking for a larger stock pot when I read that titanium is also nonreactive, but I just want verification that it is nonreactive even with vinegar in it, since vinegar breaks down metal.

            1. re: cheuimay

              Scanpan's description (from an Amazon page) is " The patented nonstick surface is created by firing a ceramic-titanium particles into the pan and a specially formulated nonstick compound is embedded in the ceramic-titanium surface."

              They also make a big deal about their PTFE being PFOA free.

              So what you have is an aluminum pan, with a PTFE coating that includes some hard titanium ceramic particles. This ceramic may improve wear, but does not alter the reactivity (or non-reactivity) of the nonstick coating.

              1. re: paulj

                The problem is, I purchased my Scanpan set about 14 years ago. I don't remember reading that it was nonstick. It wasn't advertised as nonstick. I thought I was buying a titanium set. I didn't even know that it was fused with aluminum until I started this research on whether titanium was reactive. It certainly didn't cook like it was nonstick. I did read that it should be used on no higher than medium heat. I'm going to give my set a good scrubbing and then season it to see if it's non stick. Wish I could see a new pan and see what kind of surface it has. It doesn't look like any Teflon that I've ever seen.

                1. re: cheuimay

                  <It wasn't advertised as nonstick>

                  But it is.

                  <It certainly didn't cook like it was nonstick.>

                  It may not, but it still have the same ingredient.

                  <I did read that it should be used on no higher than medium heat>

                  Have you thought of why there is a temperature limit? If the cookware was really made of titanium or aluminum, then either of these metals can go way pass medium heat. The reason there is a temperature limit is because of the PTFE (aka Teflon). Scanpan the company admits it is made of PTFE:

                  "...PTFE, which is the building block for any nonstick coating, including SCANPAN Classic, may give off fumes when heated in excess of 660 degrees F...."


                  "...The SCANPAN formula works with the patented ceramic titanium surface construction to provide long lasting nonstick performance. This PTFE is safe to use for food preparation and is FDA approved. ..."


                  Let me be clear. Scanpan uses the same ingredient as typical Teflon nonstick pans. The reason why Scanpan can market itself as "NOT" Teflon is that Teflon is a Dupont brandname. If another company makes the PTFE, then it is not "Teflon". Get it? Like Kleenex is a trademark name for Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. So strictly speaking, you are not using a Kleenex unless it is made by Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. You are not playing a Frisbee unless it is made by Wham-O toy company. Of course, you are not really using a Teflon pan unless the PTFE coating is made by Dupont.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I see. Unfortunately I don't have any of the literature on it from the time of purchase, but if it said that it was non stick due to a coating, I doubt that I would have purchased it. The cookware supply house that I got it from, advertised it as titanium. The stamp on the bottom says Made in Denmark, titanium, by Pyrolux 1997 nothing on PTFE PTOA or nonstick. I never used the stock pot much and now that I took it out and looked at it, I see some pitting at the bottom and looking at the rest of the set, there's chipping everywhere, so now I don't even care if titanium is non reactive, I'm going to throw the whole set out. I'm not going to make soup with vinegar in a pot with an aluminum core that has pits.

              2. re: cheuimay

                Scanpan Classic "ceramic titanium surface technology" cookware contains PTFE, i.e. Teflon:

                This is as nonreactive and safe a surface as you can find. If you like it except for the size, get a larger one.

                1. re: cheuimay

                  <The one I have is a SCANPAN. I purchased it a long time ago. I think it has an aluminum core with titanium exterior.....>

                  What a bunch of craps (not directed to you). Scanpan is Teflon pan. This has been discussed at least 10 times on this board. Scanpan main active ingredient is PTFE which is the same as Teflon. So yes, you have been using an expensive Teflon pan for a long time.

              3. re: cheuimay

                <DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446 degrees F. At 680 degrees F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses.>

                Yet, considering the fact that nonstick Teflon cookware are the most used cookware in the US, you will be hard pressed to find actual people who literally died from cooking with a Teflon pan.

                For most people, their exposure of PTFE is not from cookware. Most of our exposure of PTFE is from elsewhere. Eliminating PTFE from your cookware is like buying organic blueberries, but keeping everything else the same -- it makes very little difference at the end.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  In that last paragraph do you mean PFOA, rather than PTFE?

                  1. re: paulj

                    You may be correct. It may be PFCs in general. I cannot find the article I wanted to. This one is close.


                2. re: cheuimay

                  anecdotal evidence that supports cheulmay's contention re: teflon being dangerous;

                  every person who i know who keeps parrots as pets or cares for parrots in their home has had to ditch their teflon-coated cookware because the FUMES are TOXIC to parrots.
                  to me, this is like bringing a canary/parrot into the mine...

                  i've been replacing all my teflon and non-stick cookware. thankfully i found a ceramic coated skillet, made in the USA that is non-stick enough to cook sunnyside up eggs. .

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Just be careful to read the fine print on your ceramic. Scanpan claims to use a ceramic, but it also uses PTFE.

                    1. re: paulj

                      Many understand that people worry about Telfon and yet like the characteristic of Teflon, so they sell you PTFE (Teflon) pan while misleading you about it not being Teflon.

                      Products such as Scanpan and SwissDiamond...etc.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Perhaps sales clerks do, but Scanpan is clear about it on their website. They also advise limiting temperature to 500° F. and warn about the susceptibility of exotic birds to gases which can be released from their cookware at high temperatures. I expect that people who are concerned about this aspect of cookware would be doing their own research, not merely relying on a sales clerk. Is this a fair way to look at it?

                        Swiss Diamond also mentions that their cookware contains PTFE.

                        1. re: GH1618

                          <Scanpan is clear about it on their website>

                          They are reliable to do so. However, for a long time, they were advertized as "No Teflon". Swiss Diamond was worse. The whole advertisement was based on "No Teflon".

                          They have cleaned up their websites now, but if you were to look at their earlier websites, then you can understand how misleading they were. They made a big deal of not using Teflon.

                          Here are two pissed off dudes:

                          "Swiss Diamond claims that their non-stick cookware is pressure cast aluminum that is reinforced with diamonds offering a safe alternative to Teflon. ...The FAQ section on their website boast when asked if they use Teflon "No! Swiss Diamond is not using DuPont Teflon non-stick coatings. Teflon is a trademark of DuPont and describes a big range of products...Our unique coating composition is manufactured by us, and without any components from DuPont. Teflon and PTFE are not the same"


                          "For the manufacturer to insist the Swiss Diamond pans contain no Teflon whatsoever when it is made primarily from polytetrafluoroethylene, the chemical widely known as Teflon, is extremely deceptive. ."


                          Here is something sweet. Swiss Diamond was blasting the dangerous of using Teflon while promoting the safety of their unique PTFE pan. What do you call that?

                          "Ordinary non-stick surfaces can't handle those high cooking temperatures. They start to break down and degrade on some stovetops. Even the EPA is studying the potential dangers in the toxic breakdown of the most famous non-stick surface. Instead, Swiss Diamond forms a virtually indestructible surface that will not crack, peel or blister..."

                          <I expect that people who are concerned about this aspect of cookware would be doing their own research, not merely relying on a sales clerk. Is this a fair way to look at it? >

                          It wasn't just the sale clerks. Sale clerks are trained by these companies what to say, and these companies (certainly Swiss Diamond) were deceptive. You probably have the fortune of not reading their earlier promotion ads.

                          Oh yeah, please be very scared of the Teflon pans. Telfon is very toxic. Here, it is our special pan made with diamonds. It is safe with our special diamond and a tiny bit of PTFE. Yes, Teflon is very dangerous, but PTFE is safe.

                          Next thing I know is that aluminum foil is very dangerous and can cause Alzheimer's, please use our Reynolds wrap. No, really. Reynolds wrap is not the same as aluminum foil.


                          I do agree with you that people who fool themselves to buy stupid things are partially responsible for their own mistakes.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I see your point, but it is true that Teflon does not mean all PTFE. PTFE is a particular chemical used in nonstick coatings, and each manufacturer's coating process is a little different and contains other ingredients. If Scanpan was somewhat evasive on this point in the past, they don't seem to be now.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              <but it is true that Teflon does not mean all PTFE. >

                              True. I agree, but you do understand there is something immoral about trying to scare the hell out of you about the dangerous of Teflon at high temperatures and then sell you to use a PTFE pan, right? I edited the previous post, so I don't know if you get to read that example.

                              "Ordinary non-stick surfaces can't handle those high cooking temperatures. They start to break down and degrade on some stovetops. Even the EPA is studying the potential dangers in the toxic breakdown of the most famous non-stick surface. Instead, Swiss Diamond forms a virtually indestructible surface that will not crack, peel or blister..."

                              I have no problem of Teflon or PTFE pans. I think they are very safe. I don't even have problem if these companies do not clearly mention that they use PTFE. What I have problem is that some try to scare you about Teflon and then sell you a PTFE pan at the same time.

                              If anything, this original poster (cheuimay), demonstrated that there were plenty consumers who fell into these misleading ads.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I agree that SD's marketing hype seems a little shady. I was unclear what SD cookware was the first time I read about it. Scanpan seems more upfront about what they are selling.

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  <Scanpan seems more upfront about what they are selling.>

                                  Agree. I think I may have spilled over my anger of Swiss Diamond to Scanpan. I think Scanpan did not try to scare anyone about the dangerous of Teflon.

                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    They are upfront now, but not when they marketed their set to me as Titanium. Now seeing how peeled the insides of the pots are, I might have been cooking with aluminum all these years.

                                    1. re: cheuimay

                                      Aluminum is not all that bad. Most professional kitchens use pure aluminum cookware. In other words, whenever you ate you out, your foods were cooked in aluminum cookware.

                                      1. re: cheuimay

                                        Maybe you'd like a Corning Visions glass stockpot. Vintage is available in 3.5 and 4.5 l sizes. There is a 5 l available new.

                  2. Hi, cheuimay:

                    This sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Tell you what... Make a 3.5Q pot of soup with 1/2C vinegar in it in the most reactive commercially-available pan you can find, like a Magna-Lite. I'll front half the testing fee and we'll see what levels of metals leach into it. If there are unsafe levels found, I'll reimburse you your half. If no unsafe levels are found, you refund me mine. Want to find out?

                    The imagined terror of metals leached into food from cooking has gotten 'way out of hand.

                    I'm with you though about PTFE being heated much past 400F.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      When making soup, of course, the water content limits the temperature to the boiling point, 212° F. Above the maximum recommended temperature for Scanpan Classic of 500° F. One is approaching the flash point of cooking oil at about 600° F. A grease fire is the real danger in overheating.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Hi, GH1618:

                        I agree about the effect of water in the pan. I even agree that a grease fire is the biggest danger in a fat-filled PTFE pan.

                        But a 3-minute oversight with an *empty* PTFE lined pan over high heat can be hazardous. Many people know and understand this. Many do not.


                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          Agreed, there is a hazard of chemical emissions when leaving a dry pan on high heat. This is not recommended for any pan. I wonder if a clean, dry PTFE-coated pan would set off a smoke alarm if heated to 600° F. Or so.

                    2. I kind of agree with GH1618. If you are talking about low to medium cooking temperature, then Teflon cookware is very nonreactive, which is why food do not stick to it. However if you are going to cook at a high temperature, then the Teflon can degrade. Nevertheless, you were talking about making soup, so the liquid should prevent the temperature getting too hot. Teflon cookware is a fine choice.

                      If you don't like Teflon, then your second best bet is stainless steel. Ceramic pot is not any better because ceramic is also made out of chemicals. Look, everything is made out of chemicals. Your question is which of these materials are less reactive, right? I say Teflon and then stainless steel.

                      1. Silit Silargan cookware has a high-temperature ceramic coating fused to a thick stainless steel body. Here's a link to a 7-quart stock pot at Amazon. Heavy, solid, totally nonreactive, pouring rim, and dishwasher and oven safe.


                        9 Replies
                        1. re: tanuki soup

                          The pot looks absolutely beautiful, but I'm looking for something with no metal.

                          1. re: cheuimay

                            The Silit is completely covered in ceramic. It is beautiful, built like a tank, and expensive. It is my favorite type of nonreactive cookware. You may want to check it out.
                            I second tanuki's Silit Silargin suggestion.

                            1. re: honeybea

                              I went to Amazon to check out the pot and unfortunately, the cover is made of stainless steel. I'll go to their site to see if there is an all ceramic one. I'm using a 3 1/2 quart Xtrema all ceramic pot and love how it retains the heat. It will simmer a pot of soup for hours and lose less than one inch of water. I may just get one of their larger stockpots.

                              1. re: cheuimay

                                What information have you found about Xtrema? Anything that does not originate with C
                                Ceramcor? They even got a newsrelease on Chow in 2008.

                                The color of their pots reminds me of the handcrafted Columbian ones that I've seen as Williams and Sonoma. Their 'how it is made' photos would be consistent with a factory made version of the same thing.

                                As to safety they write the same way as Dr Mercola (who also has a ceramic line) - 100% safe, and "look how dangerous all the other materials are."

                                They also sell as nonstick skillet. They go on and on about how dangerous PFOA is, but then say it is lined with a 'high temperature thermoplastic' - which could be PTFE.

                                And what is the patent they keep citing?
                                digging a bit more: I think they are marketing the same products from Taiwan as Mercola
                                This pdf reminds me of Corning's Visions line of cookware.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  They actually supply Mercola. I got my set when Mercola was having a sale and realized that I could get other pieces from Xtrema. When I called up, I asked whether they supply Mercola and the person verified it. Again, I don't find them very nonstick at all, but I think I might be using too high a temp. Now having made soup in it an have it retain heat even at a low simmer with almost no water lost, I've gotten renewed respect for them. I just checked my skillets and found them to be still shiny even after repeated scrubbing. The pots seem duller, but nothing like the Scanpan with actual sections of the interior that looked like it's come off. The reason the Scanpan looks like half of the coating was scrubbed off is because, I kept thinking that it was all titanium and tried to scrub off what I thought was food sticking, but now I realize that I was actually scrubbing off the nonstick coating. No wonder it was so hard to get off. I don't know, all this discussion makes me wonder if all of the products out there are using PTFE. I do have to say that I've burnt food in my Xtrema and have scoured it off many times with a stainless steel scouring pad as recommended in their directions and never had any scratches. The food usually was very easy to get off.

                                  This pdf reminds me of Corning's Visions line of cookware.

                                  The owner use to work for Corning and wanted to distribute his own line of nonreactive cookware.

                                  I'm pretty sure they are selling something that is nonreactive, because I don't think Mercola would carry it if it used PTFE.

                                  1. re: cheuimay

                                    is the Flair nonstick product page
                                    "Non-stick, PFOA Free, non-toxic, thermoplastic cooking surface makes clean-up extremely fast." - why don't they specify the thermoplastic?

                                    1. re: paulj


                                      You and I know PTFE is a thermoplastic. So for all we know it is Teflon coated too. Afterall, it only states that it is PFOA free, not PTFE free. You would think it would mention PTFE free if it is free of PTFE. Even if it is not PTFE, then are we sure it is any safer than PTFE?

                                    2. re: cheuimay

                                      describes the development of their ceramic line - using developments from Taiwan and Mainland China.

                                      I've used Corningware in the past, and still have a few pieces. I think of it more as oven ware than stove top, though it will work there as well. On the stove it has a slow response, and if I recall correctly as prone to hot spots as any metal pan.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        <On the stove it has a slow response, and if I recall correctly as prone to hot spots as any metal pan.>

                                        Coringware probably prone to hots spot WAY more than any metal pan.