How Safe Is Your Cookware?

You may spend lots of time looking for the most flavorful, nutritious foods to feed your family, but have you given any thought to the type of cookware you're preparing them?

Get acquainted with what professional chefs use and learn the benefits as well as the risks that come with these tools.


Pros: Lightweight, cheap, good heat distribution.

Cons: Can cause a tiny amount of aluminum to leach into food. While concern has been raised about aluminum's link with Alzheimer's, research has found no definite association. Small amounts of aluminum are unlikely to cause harm. Anodized aluminum cookware may be a good choice for people who remain concerned; it has a hard, nonstick surface that allows even less aluminum to get into food.


Pros: Good heat distribution, visually appealing.

Cons: May leach copper into food if coating becomes worn or scratched. Small amounts of copper are beneficial, but large amounts can be toxic.

Stainless Steel

Pros: Strong, durable, and inexpensive. Contains chromium and iron, small amounts of which finds its way into food and help boost users' daily intake of these important minerals.

Cons: Can contain nickel, to which some people are allergic.


Pros: Easy to clean, attractive.

Cons: Ceramic, enamel, and glass cookware may contain small amounts of dangerous components such as lead or cadmium, particularly if they're manufactured in foreign countries that don't regulate such substances. There is a risk of them leaching into food.


Pros: Colorful, inexpensive, nonstick, stain resistant.

Cons: None.

The risk of using different types of cookware can vary depending on what is being cooked. For instance, highly acidic foods such as tomatoes, as well as leafy green vegetables, will absorb more aluminum when heated in an aluminum pan than with other foods. Anodization reduces this risk.

To be as safe as possible, avoid cooking or storing food for long periods in aluminum cookware. Similarly, avoid storing highly acidic foods in stainless steel containers. Don't use heavily scratched or worn copper pots and pans for cooking. And never put bowls or containers in the microwave unless they are specifically marked as microwave safe. Not only can you damage them, but you may cause the chemicals with which they were made to be released into your food.




Health Canada. "The Safe Use of Cookware." Web.