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Dec 14, 2013 11:36 PM

Vintage cookware okay to use?

I happened upon a beautiful set of 3x stainless steel vintage Ekco pots and pans today for only &10! It's in good condition with only a little wear showing on the large fry pan. Is it okay to use this cookware? I assume since it's stainless and 3 ply that it is but I worry about anything in it that could be harmful? Any input would be helpful, thank you!

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  1. If copper pots and cast iron can be passed down for generations, why not stainless steel? There are plenty of people cooking with 50-60yr old tri-ply pans.

    Enjoy. :)

    1. they're not lead and the handles aren't asbestos right? did anybody ever coat them in cadmium or radium paint? (I'm being a jerk)

      they may very well be FAR better than what's on the new shelves these days.

      1. Unless the prior owner had Creuzfeld-Jakob disease and left behind heat-resistant prions, you are fine. Probably about the same chance as being killed by a meteorite.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Some of the stuff coming from China would be more suspect than the old stuff

          1. re: kaleokahu

            Hey Kaleo,

            Points to you for leading me to look up CJD and prions. I like learning something new. But then, I'm old and I'll forget it tomorrow. You'll have to remind me. ;)

            Side note - Saw a report today that our chances of winning a lottery are less than those of being hit by a meteor. I'm calling them on that one.

            How many people get hit by meteors every year? How many win lotteries? Seems the odds are with the lotto winners.

            1. re: DuffyH

              Hi, Duffy:

              I have this cool big knife that my histologist BIL gave me--a brain sectioning knife. Even in my Magic Kitchen, I can't bring myself to use it, exactly because of the chance of CJD. Totally 'clavable, but that's no help with prions.


              1. re: kaleokahu

                I heard through the grapevine so unconfirmed about a surgical suite that had to be torn out due to contamination. It was from fairly high up the chain but never was heard from any other source.

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  It's been years since I read Richard Rhodes' "Deadly Feasts". If memory serves, bleach kills prions.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Hi, greygarious:

                    What it takes is the denaturation of the protein to a state where the molecule is no longer able to induce the abnormal folding of normal proteins, and radiation, heat and formalin alone are not very effective. Bleach, caustic soda and strongly acidic detergents alone *may* do the trick, but with 100% fatality of CJD, I'm not sure...

                    WHO recommends one of three methods of sterilizing surgical insturuments against prions:

                    (1) Immerse in a pan containing 1N NaOH and heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 30 minutes; clean; rinse in water; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    (2) Immerse in 1N NaClO or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; transfer instruments to water; heat in a gravity-displacement autoclave at 121 °C for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    (3) Immerse in 1N NaOH or sodium hypochlorite (20,000 parts per million available chlorine) for 1 hour; remove and rinse in water, then transfer to an open pan and heat in a gravity-displacement (121 °C) or in a porous-load (134 °C) autoclave for 1 hour; clean; and then perform routine sterilization processes.

                    If my knife was merely a random surgical instrument, I'd be more cavalier about this. But this particular blade was used in a pathology lab for the specific and exclusive purpose of sectioning human brains...

                    Paging Dr. Ala! Paging Dr. Ala! Does Kaleo worry too much?


                    1. re: greygarious

                      There may have been too much uncertainty about trying to kill it off that way with a known contamination.

              2. I would just clean it. Assuming the previous owner only used the cookware to cook, then you are fine. If he/she used it to collect motor oil or whatever crazy thing, then I don't know.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  although, if the used kitchenware were to be a crockpot I would scour it carefully with diluted bleach and let it cook a cycle with that and wash again, as junkies have been known to use them to sterilize their rigs (needles) - I got that advice in the early 90's after finding one in an alley, so the info may be out of date re: how scrupulous one needs to be about blood-borne pathogens.

                  1. re: hill food

                    I was going to ask why crockpot. Ok, got it.

                2. Thank you everyone!! Just wanted to make sure ;)