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What type of cookware is safest?

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I'm on the hunt for a reliable set of cookware that won't leach a ton of nasties into my food or air. I have a well-seasoned iron skillet that I have found to be mostly safe, but I'd like a good ceramic set that I won't have to replace any time soon.
Has anyone tried Mercola's ceramic set? Any suggestions?

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  1. stainless steel is non-reactive, won't leach and is probably a better deal than the mercola, price-wise. http://shop.mercola.com/product/healt... in my opinion, the sales pitch on that mercola ceramic set is just that.

    you can often find good old copper-clad (bottom) farberware at goodwill or yard sales; estate sales are usually a good bet, too.

    1. All cookware approved for use in the US and Canada is safe. Advice about the dangers of cookware from someone who is trying to sell you something different is not to be trusted.

      1. <I have a well-seasoned iron skillet that I have found to be mostly safe>

        I like cast iron and carbon steel cookware a lot, and I think everyone here who know me, know this about me. However, what is safe anyway? On one hand, we can argue that cast iron cookware are safe because they leach iron which is safe for healthy individuals. On the other hand, we can also say they are unsafe because cast iron requires the seasoning process who produces a lot of oil fume.

        I don't have Mercola cermaic cookware, and I believe them to be relative safe, but hey who to really say they are safer than other cookware. Yes, they do not have PTFE as nonstick cookware, and they do not have nickel and chromium as stainless steel cookware, but they have plenty other stuffs. Ceramic is a very complex mixture, which means there are many more uncontrollable substances than an aluminum pan or a stainless steel saute pan.

        Now what I can tell you for certain is that Mercola cermaic cookware will have a slow heat response and uneven heating surface. Slow cooking cookware like the pots will perform ok (not great), but the pans will be difficult to work with.

        <this cookware is non-reactive and non-toxic and made from only natural materials and through safe processes.>

        http://cookware.mercola.com/

        I don't even know what natural materials here mean. If they mean materials extracted and refined from the nature, then every cookware (stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum..) are. If they mean they just dig up some mud and clay and make a ceramic pot, then it is heck a lot less safe because natural clay has plenty contaminants.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          "I don't even know what natural materials here meam."

          Right. "Natural" is nothing more than a buzzword intended to appeal to the ignorant and gullible.

          1. re: GH1618

            ""Natural" is nothing more than a buzzword intended to appeal to the ignorant and gullible."

            +1
            I was on a copper cook ware site recently where every thing was Green, Organic and local. LOL

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            We talked about Mercola earlier
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8508...

            1. re: paulj

              Excellent memory Paul. No wonder why the Mercola website looked very familiar to me. I have no doubt these are made from Taiwan or China. Nothing against either countries at all. Not only they are made there, they are definitely designed there as well, and Mercola simply slapped his name on these existing cookware. Why do I say this? Well, because if you look at the cookware lines, you can tell these are Chinese style cookware, especially the tea set and the soup set. They are distinctively Chinese art design:

              http://cookware.mercola.com/

              Just to be clear to the original poster, I am not against Mercolar cookware at all. I do not think the cookware are unsafe. It is just that I have no reason to believe they are safe-r than others.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                you have be careful with Mercola. he's a bit of a nut. although I didn't manufacture cookware in China, I did overseas garment manufacturing in China. The problem is the lack of regulation. I'd be careful with anything from the East (Thailand, Bangladesh, etc) except for items from Korea or Japan.

          3. Here's a link to some background on Dr. Joseph Mercola:

            http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/merco...

            1. As I have stated on other posts, there isn't much to fear with regards to cookware. Steels are alloyed and once alloyed it isn't going to be easy to extract any of those alloyed materials back out of the steel, at least not in your kitchen. Copper is always coated on the cooking side with either SS or tin, both of which are safe. Aluminum, although there may be some talk of links to various conditions, there has been no scientific link established and hard anodized should aleviate these concerns greatly. Which leaves us with non-stick, typically PTFE coated, probably the most controversial cookware, but again, if used properly (below 500°F), the issues of concern are really not that great and there is currently no direct corralation to health issues in humans. Ceramic or enameled surfaces, should be free of heavy metal contamination, however it is known that some sources continue to use glazes that contain these potentially hazerdous materials. I would be more weary of the point of origen than the construction.

              1. There was another similar thread recently;

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885073

                I think the suggestion for enameled cast Iron was pretty much at the top of my list for what is safe and practical.

                1 Reply
                1. re: TraderJoe

                  And if you don't need the weight or expense, enameled steel is a good nonreactive choice.

                2. Mercola's cookware has had issues with cracking and he is not upfront about it. He literally blocks dissenting comments on his website. I am banned from making comments on his site, I was polite and professional, but because I did not agree with him I am blocked. That has changed my view of his integrity.

                  CorningWare PyroCeram is very inert and non reactive. It is really good cookware. With a good iron/carbon steel skillet and pyroceram, you can get a lot of good cooking done.

                  1. You aren't making clear what you mean by "safe". I am guessing that you are concerned about POFA's and PTFE's. Much of the old hysteria about them and aluminum have been debunked. You would have to heat a pan to insane temps. to have any gas released.

                    I like Swiss Diamond for non-stick. Swiss Diamond uses POFA's to get the industrial diamonds to adhere to the pans. It is applied at such high heat that almost all of the POFA's and PTFE's are burned off, there will be some ghosts of the of the POFA's but you would have to use very high heat to release any of the ghosts, I use Chantal it is enameled inside and out and has a copper and carbon steel core. It is great with induction and is more efficient on gas or other electric cook tops and it can be washed in the dishwasher and it is stick resistant. I use LC, also enameled over cast iron inside and out. I don't use it a great deal any more. The weight is uncomfortable and often have to have my DH lift it for me. I have some great old cast iron and like them for some things. I do have a wide collection, old original Calphalon, some Corning etc.

                    I have counseled many customers with cook ware selections and I also recommend not buying a set (I would not do that with knives either). Buy the pots and pans that best suit the way you cook. They do not have to match. They need to suit your cooking.

                    1. We picked up a berghoff ceramic skillet a couple of years ago and it works great. It still looks and performs like brand new. I found that the t-fal Teflon skillets would need replacing every 18 months, I expect this one will last for years to come. They are quite inexpensive and work well for us. You can get more information here: http://www.earthchef.ca/faq.html

                      1. All cookware is dangerous when hot!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: paulj

                          All cookware become dangerous when worry too much.

                        2. Mercola's web site:

                          "Beware of this Home Cooking Pitfall.
                          No matter how healthy your food is, if you're like most Americans you are probably making this mistake that can lead to cancer in the pancreas, liver, testicles or mammary glands – as well as miscarriages, thyroid problems & a weakened immune system..."

                          "I Believe You Should Throw Out Your Aluminum and Stainless Steel Cookware as Well!"

                          "I've talked about it, written about it, done videos about it -- and tried every way I can think of -- to warn you of the terrible hazards to your health from most cookware out on the market today."

                          "I would not recommend aluminum pans for cooking if you want to enjoy your golden years."

                          "stainless steel may not be an inert metal either. All stainless steel has alloys containing nickel, chromium, molybdenum, carbon, and various other metals."

                          Also being sold is an assortment of dietary supplements, vitamins, weight loss supplements and fitness aids.

                          My view of the site is akin to door-to-door vacuum cleaners sales types or stereotypical used car salesmen.

                          On a more serious note, what's in the ceramic base, what's in the nano-coating and, given its made in China, how safe do you feel believing the material is not dotted with industrial waste, heavy metals and whatever else ended up in the ceramic? No need to delve too far, if water is used in the process, you can assume its laced with all sorts of "stuff".

                          My take is the stress of worrying about conventional cookware not being safe is far more of a health issue.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Ray2

                            That generalized advertisement is very bad.

                            No supporting scientific or medical date is provided. Pure scare tactics.

                            I would walk away from anyone pushing a sale this way. Health-scare, buy me because I say I am the most safe product in your kitchen. Really, If it were in a store here, I would speak to the management for carrying such a product. The good " Dr. Mercola " indeed.

                            A wise person once said that you should fully read a book become commenting on it, or the author.

                            I can recommend Tramontina, Rösle, Fissler, WMF, Stöckli, Silga-Teknika, and Spring of Switzerland, by experience.

                            I cannot recommend T-Fal, or Swiss Diamond for the same reason. Mercola ? Sorry, not for consideration.

                            1. re: Ray2

                              <My view of the site is akin to door-to-door vacuum cleaners sales types>

                              Probably worse than vacuum cleaner sales types.

                              <My take is the stress of worrying about conventional cookware not being safe is far more of a health issue.>

                              People are freaking out too much. People are living longer for every generation. Yet, people are more scared than ever -- as if people are dying left and right.

                            2. @Candy

                              I'd love to agree with your comment about Swiss Diamond. However, what may be their manufacturing process does not appear to result in pans that hold up. We've had 4 Swiss Diamond pans, purchased year's apart. Within months, 3 had serious parts of the coating bubble and fall off. Compared to our Viking no-stick the Swiss Diamonds have led a short gilded life of moderate temperature cooking and no oven use. Compared to our Scan's, the Swiss Diamonds have a very short life.

                              While my wife may be Swiss, we're not buying these pans anymore.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Ray2

                                Sorry you differ.I am very happy and my customers have had no complaint. As I said before, you can believe whatever you want. It totally up to you. I know what I know ad don't buy in to the hysteria.

                              2. I saw Mercola's cookware and thought "I trust NOTHING made in China and Dr. Mercola is really into selling stuff on his website."

                                I do, however, like pyroceram.

                                What about old fashioned (NOT the new stuff) Corningware?

                                Or, if you can't find any of that some of the old stuff at garage sales, what about the new Corningware stovetop? It's stove top safe pyroceram from France:

                                http://www.shopworldkitchen.com/corni...