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May 4, 2013 04:38 PM

Chipped vintage enamel

So what's the real scoop on chipped enamel, as far as safety goes? Chowhounds seem to say it's safe, but I read that the problem is that the enamel can continue to chip, and if it's old, may contain lead or cadmium, or can cut the throat (even though the chips are small).

Anyone know if there's validity to that warning?

I have my eye on a piece of vintage french enamelware, but it's got a chip, and I'm wondering whether it's ok to buy (and cook with).

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  1. Hi, chowaholic:

    I think you're OK. Small chip, not getting any bigger, you're good. Your gut is good at passing even sharp small objects, and the amount of cadmium in a shard of enamel ain't much.

    If you like the pan, enjoy. If you found a new, unchipped one, you know you'd chip it anyway...


    1. I won't get it considering all the other options. It isn't the worst, but why? The chipped enameled cast iron can continue to chip. What is the worst a new enameled pot will get? Chipped. Well, that would be there this pot is. If it is really old, then it can contain lead and cadmium but that is rare, so I won't worry too much at this point.

      If it chipped outside, then I would get it. If it is chipped inside int the cooking interior, then I won't get it.

      1. I have a large,old colander that looks to be from about the 1940s. Green enamel with some chips. I bought it at a second-hand store some 20 years ago. My foodie brother-in-law casts coveting glances at it.

        I don't worry too much about it. After all, I don't cook in it. I treat it gently to avoid further damage.

        1. I have been buying old enamel cooking pots at a local antique/salvage store specifically to use as planters on my deck. I make holes in the bottom with a screwdriver and hammer for drainage. When your pots chip badly just recycle them. My question tho ....when I make the holes and the enamel splits off . Are the pieces, dust dangerous? I'm outside in the fresh air and it's not that much but I still think about it.