6 Dangers of Conventional Cookware + 4 Best Types of Nontoxic Cookware

April 20, 2018
Nontoxic cookware - Dr. Axe

If you’re a regular reader of my website, then you probably already know a little about what healthy foods to eat and what toxic foods to avoid, but have you ever given your cookware any thought? Are you currently using nontoxic cookware? I have to warn you — the products you’re using to cook healthy food on a daily basis just may be toxic!

We live in the age of convenience and the age of fast. We don’t even want to be bothered taking the time to melt some butter or coconut oil on our pans so food doesn’t stick so we opt for nonstick cookware. Some of the most popular and widely used brands of cookware are nonstick and known to contain a chemical that has been linked to major health concerns including cancer. (1, 2)

I’m sure you’ll agree that using unhealthy cookware to cook healthy food simply doesn’t make any sense. Are you being poisoned by your cookware? Let’s take a look at the toxic cookware you should be avoiding and the safest cookware you should start using instead today!

Why Cookware Is Important (Hint: Don’t Be Cheap!)

You may be thinking that your pots and pans do the job they need to do or they were pricey so they have to be good, but are you actually using healthy cookware?

For example, do you know that using nonstick pots and pans to heat your food could be putting your health in danger? It’s true. Nonstick cookware pretty much always contains a manmade chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8. According to the American Cancer Society, “PFOA has the potential to be a health concern because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood.” Animal studies have also presented a link between PFOA exposure and cancer development. (3)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In laboratory animals given large amounts, PFOA can affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver.” So in addition to cancer concerns, we’re talking about some other highly serious health repercussions including liver damage, infertility, and delays in growth and development. (4)

Nonstick cookware and its PFOA content is just one main example of why I want to urge you to reconsider the cookware you’re using. Many people think it will be a burden to get rid of their cookware and replace it all. But I ask you to consider the burden associated with cancers and other serious health problems being linked to toxic cookware products.

Let’s take a closer look at the cookware I recommend avoiding as much as possible (ideally, entirely!).


How nontoxic cookware makes you sick - Dr. Axe

Toxic Cookware? These 6 Health Dangers Are Real

Unfortunately, if you go into a department store these days, it’s going to be very easy to pick up a pot or pan that may potentially be dangerous to your health. These are some of the most dangerous cookware options that I recommend avoiding completely: (56)

  • Nonstick cookware is by far one of the most concerning forms of cookware. In just two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, nonstick cookware containing perfluorochemicals can exceed temperatures that cause a break down in its coating and hence the release of toxic particles and gases linked to bird deaths and human illnesses, according to tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
  • Aluminum cookware is known for being highly reactive and leaching into food. I would avoid cookware with any type of aluminum as a cooking surface including nonstick anodized aluminum and ceramic nonstick aluminum.
  • Speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets have also been shown to leach aluminum. (6)
  • Silicone cookware is a synthetic rubber made of bonded silicon and oxygen. It is approved by the FDA and many people view it as safe, but personally, I avoid silicone cookware because there hasn’t been enough scientific research to confirm for sure whether or not silicone can leach out of cookware and possibly contaminate food.

Toxic cookware made from materials like these may lead to all kinds of seriously concerning health problems including:

1. Child Developmental Delays

According to a UCLA study led by Chunyuan Fei, prenatal exposure to perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) has been linked to developmental delays in offspring. The study found that mothers with higher levels of PFOAs in their blood have toddlers and babies who are less likely to reach developmental milestones early. (7)

2. High Cholesterol

Research has shown that the chemicals used to make nonstick cookware may lead to some major health concerns. For example, high cholesterol has now been linked to cookware chemicals. A study of 12,000 children living in Ohio and West Virginia were tested for blood levels of the PFOA and PFOS (the two chemicals commonly found in non stick cookware). The researchers observed that the children with the highest levels of these two toxic chemicals also were more likely to have abnormally high levels of both total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol. (8)

3. Neurotoxicity

Aluminum is often used in cookware because it is able to conduct heat quickly. What’s the problem? Aluminum can leach very easily, especially when it is exposed to heat and/or acidic foods.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,

Eating large amounts of processed food containing aluminum additives or frequently cooking acidic foods in aluminum pots may expose a person to higher levels of aluminum than a person who generally consumes unprocessed foods and uses pots made of other materials (e.g., stainless steel or glass). (9)

Aluminum’s controversial relationship with Alzheimer’s disease has resulted in many scientific studies evaluating a possible relationship between aluminum accumulation in the body and neurotoxicity. (10) To be on the safe side, I would avoid aluminum cookware including nonstick anodized aluminum and ceramic nonstick aluminum. And as I already mentioned, speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets have also been shown to leach aluminum.

4. Thyroid Issues, Liver Inflammation and Weakened Immune System

There are some other major reasons to avoid nonstick cookware containing perfluorochemicals that can be leached into the food you eat. (11) According to the EWG, “Perfluorochemicals are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, and weaker immune defense against disease.” (12)

5. Allergies and Flu-Like Symptoms

According to Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist at EWG, nonstick pans can produces toxic fumes that can create allergies and flu-like symptoms for users. (13)

6. Cancer

If this list wasn’t bad enough already, cancer has to be included as well. Scientific research is demonstrating a possible link between PFOA and cancer.

The American Cancer Society points out:

Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands (breasts), and pancreas in these animals. In general, well-conducted studies in animals do a good job of predicting which exposures cause cancer in people. (14)

4 Best Types of Nontoxic Cookware 

After reading all the facts above it may not seem so challenging to heat up a little butter or coconut oil on your pan, huh? In fact, it’s that easy to protect yourself and your family from these serious health dangers of  nonstick pots and pans. You can simply choose a better nontoxic option and take a few seconds to make them nonstick yourself!

Looking for the best cooking pots and pans? Opt for any of the following types of kitchen cookware, add a healthy fat source and start cooking. These tried-and-true kitchen cookware choices have stood the test of time. Sure, you may have to pay a bit more attention so food doesn’t stick, but in the long run it’s well worth it. You’ll get peace of mind knowing you’re protecting your loved ones from one more of the many dangerous toxins in our environments today. Get ready to toss that toxic cookware stat!

These four categories of nontoxic cookware are the only ones that I currently use:

1. Cast Iron

If you go back 100 years ago, you would find most people using nontoxic cookware in the form of cast iron pots and pans on a daily basis. Cast iron cookware is an old-fashioned favorite made from cast iron and many health experts agree it’s one of the safest cooking options available. It’s common to see it topping nontoxic cookware lists all the time.

Cast iron retains heat extremely well so you can use a lower heat setting, which is an easy way to prevent food from sticking to a pot or pan. Cast iron cookware can also stand much higher temperature than non stick cookware so you can use it on the stovetop or in the oven. (15)

Cast iron cookware free of PFOA and PTFE should not contain any other chemicals. But there is one substance that can end up in your food with this type of cookware: iron! It’s very common to struggle with an iron deficiency and cooking with cast iron is actually a natural way to increase iron levels.

The only people that wouldn’t want to be cooking with cast iron too often are individuals with iron stores that are too high.

To season cast iron, you simply apply a very light coating of a high smoke point oil such as avocado oil to the surface of the cookware when it is clean and ideally a little warm. Each time you use your cast iron cookware, make sure to season it after cleaning to maintain an optimal cooking surface.

2. Stainless Steel

Is stainless steel cookware safe? Along with cast iron, it’s often considered to be one of the safest of nontoxic cookware options. Real, high-quality stainless steel cookware is the perfect solution for many of your needs in the kitchen because it’s made to resist dangerous leaching and reactivity. This cookware material can resist corrosion — hence its name “stainless” steel. It also won’t flake off and end up in your food the way nonstick products can.

There are so many grades of stainless steel so first off, make sure you are buying cookware made with a food-grade version of stainless at the very least. Stainless steel is a mix of metal including carbon, chromium, nickel and/or manganese. Food-grade stainless steels include 304, 316 and 430. There’s also the specification of 18/8, 18/10 or 18/0 stainless steel. The first number specifies the percentage of chromium and the second number is the amount of nickel. The nickel actually makes the stainless still more resistant to rust or corrosions, but some people are concerned about the leaching of nickel from stainless steel so pay attention to those numbers if you are concerned about the nickel content of your stainless steel cookware. (16)

The combination of metals in stainless steel pots and pans is said to make it generally more stable and less likely to leach nickel or any other metal into food. However, if stainless steel cookware is cleaned in a harsh manner with abrasive cleaning materials, then this can result in damage to the lining. Once damaged, it’s no longer as healthy of a cooking device because the leaching of metals then becomes possible. I would make sure not to clean stainless steel too harshly and throw out any stainless steel cookware with damaged cooking surfaces. (17)

Nontoxic cookware - Dr. Axe

3. Glass 

Glass cookware is not just nontoxic and friendly to the environment, it’s also really durable. It’s another option to reduce the use of cookware containing polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or highly fluorinated chemicals. These dangerous compounds are added to clothing, furniture, carpeting, cookware and more to make them nonstick, waterproof and/or stain-resistant, so watch out for them in your cookware and elsewhere around your home. (18)

For safer cooking, the EWG recommends oven-safe glass along with cast iron and stainless steel cookware. (19) For storing foods, glass containers are also a much healthier option than plastic ones and using glass is a smart way to avoid BPA toxic effects.

4. Copper

Copper falls in somewhat of an in-between category when it comes to the best nontoxic cookware. While it can be safer than other options, the risk of using 100 percent copper cookware is that it could lead to an overconsumption of copper. However, many diets are low in copper and it’s possible to have a copper deficiency especially if you suffer from a digestive disorder that generally impairs nutrient absorption. Copper toxicity from copper cookware is unlikely, but if you want to completely avoid getting any extra copper in your diet, then you wouldn’t want to choose 100 percent copper cookware. (20)

It’s common to find copper cookware that is actually copper on the outside (great for conducting heat) but has a non-reactive stainless steel lining on the inside, so you get the best of both materials. Older copper cookware can have a tin or nickel coating and should not be used for cooking.

What About “Green Cookware”?

There are a number of brands that you’ll see when doing best nontoxic cookware searches (such as “nontoxic cookware 2016” or “safest cookware 2017”). Some of these newer “green” lines have apparently come up with healthier ways to make cookware nonstick. Some of these brands include names like GreenLife and Green Pan cookware, which both use a ceramic nonstick layer derived from sand called Thermolon. There’s also Ozeri Green Earth, which uses a nonstick coating called Greblon that does not contain PFOA or PTFE.

Xtrema cookware is another name that comes up and this is a line of ceramic cookware. Xtrema’s products were found to be “non-leaching” by an independent lab. Ceramcor makes the Xtrema line of cookware which is said to be made from “a unique ceramic clay formula that is 100% natural.” Xtrema cookware products are also said to be free of lead, cadmium and toxic heavy metals, PFOA and PTFE-free, non-scratch, nontoxic, and non-metal.  (21, 22)

In my opinion, the concept of nonstick ceramic cookware falls in the “gray zone” right now. Some are known to contain nanoparticles, which are tiny, invisible particles with the ability to penetrate the skin and cross the blood-brain barrier. Like GMOs, engineered nanoparticles are in products on store shelves today and we’re often not even realizing it. As a scientific article published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives points out, “Nanotechnology-enabled products are quietly proliferating on U.S. store shelves, despite nagging questions about the safety of synthetic nanoparticles and the products that contain them.” (23)

As nanoparticles continue to show up in all kinds of products including cookware, food and cosmetics, Phil Landrigan, MD, professor and chair of community and preventative medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, points out that companies are including nanoparticles in their formulations even though emerging data suggests that nanoparticles could produce toxic effects due to their ability to enter the body’s cells. (24)

The problem is that we don’t have long-term studies showing how nano-ceramic could impact human health and it wouldn’t be the first time something was available to consumers before we really knew if it was safe.  So for me, I stick with more traditional cookware like cast iron to play it safe.

If you are wondering if a cookware brand contains nanoparticles, don’t hesitate to reach out to the company that make the cookware and ask them. You have a right to know what’s in the cookware you are buying or already own! If you don’t feel comfortable with the presence of a certain material in your cookware, it’s important to do your homework and go directly the maker of a particular cookware. Looking into third party evaluations of cookware is always a wise idea as well.

Final Thoughts

  • The results of toxic cookware studies thus far should make us question what these dangerous chemicals can do to our bodies, especially when exposure is on a daily basis.
  • I would avoid any cookware with a nonstick coating containing artificial toxic chemicals like PFOA and PFOS as well as cookware with any type of aluminum cooking surface.
  • Both nonstick and aluminum cookware are known for toxic leaching when used for cooking.
  • Speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets don’t have “aluminum” in their name, but have been shown to leach aluminum.
  • Some cookware contains nanoparticles and to date, there are no long term studies to prove their safety.
  • It’s much healthier to create a nonstick cooking surface using grass-fed butter or coconut oil with nontoxic cookware rather using toxic nonstick cookware.
  • The best nontoxic cookware is going to cook your food as it should, but without posing major risks to your health and the health of your family.
  • The only nontoxic cookware options I use are made of cast iron, stainless steel, glass or copper.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about the cookware you already own or are thinking about buying new nontoxic cookware, I highly recommend contacting the manufacturer of the cookware directly. Also, look for third party evaluations of cookware brands.

Read Next: Are Your Copper Mugs Toxic?

Josh Axe

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  1. Lola on

    Thank you for your information on toxicity in cook wares and foods.
    Most, if not all mentioned, are possible causes of many health problems, people have been, and continue to be injured by lack of regulations in the manufacturing of products that contain dangerous substances that are dangerous to human consumption.
    HAve you done ,research on plastic cookware in Microwave ovens, and effects of leaching in foods?

    • Diane Stephenson on

      Microwaves in themselves are dangerous to your health. My doctor told me years ago, and I have since read articles that confirm this, that microwaves change the molecular structure of food. You can find an experiment online that tests microwaved water and tap water used to water plants. The plants watered with the microwaved water die because there is no life in the water. I also read an article years ago about a young student who did research on using plastic wrap over food in the microwave. She proved it caused cancer – and probably numerous other problems. I don’t know if there are any types of plastic that would not leach out chemicals in a microwave as they do it even without being microwaved. I have a microwave but for years now have only used it to heat up a neck roll. I will not replace it when it stops working. (Not sure how I’m going to heat up that neck roll then!) I would rather be safe than sorry, healthy rather than sick. Hope this helps.

      • Mary on

        I did look up that article, and I ran across Snopes and another article that claimed the article about microwaved water harming plants was false. I personally feel there is truth to the statement. I never liked microwaves and I finally got my way and removed ours from the kitchen. Family members can heat foods in a fry pan, kettle or in the oven. People are spoiled,…they always want things done in an instant.

      • Ronald Stevens on

        I don’t use my microwave anymore either. I dread to think what happens to baby formula when heated in the microwave and in a plastic feeding bottle. There seems to be so many children these days suffering with some sort of cancer.

      • Cynthia on

        I have a friend who tried the experiment with microwaved vs non microwaved water and plants and found no difference in her research. She presented it at our science fair.

      • Cynthia on

        I have a friend who tried the experiment with microwaved vs non microwaved water and plants and found no difference in her research. She presented it at our science fair.

      • Cath on

        My brother watered his wife’s houseplants whilst she was working abroad with water that had been microwaved and cooked, and none of them died. It’s simply not true

      • Amy on

        Have you consider electric pad, I use it and like it…. except I cannot walk around like using a neck roll but then there’s no need to reheat!

      • MB on

        There’s always a hot water bottle— except heaven forbid, don’t heat the water in the microwave…

      • Hamed on

        I actually did the watering the plants and it didn’t affect the plant health so I think some of those info is roomers.

  2. Charlyn Derrick on

    My father has had numerous hospital stays over the last 3-4 years of very serious conditions. They have ranged from inexplicable GI bleeds, UTI with excessive bleeding, falls resulting in injury. He has also had memory loss, muscle weaknesses, and pain in joints, onset of diabetes, cognitive impairment. We have been told that the bleeding is idiopathic, and never found source of bleeds. Everything else has been labeled with aging. I confronted his cardiologist with the prospect of adverse effects of statin use to explain his many maladies, citing rhabdomyolsis as a distinct dis-ease and I wanted him to discontinue using Pravachol STAT. No problem to discontinue but no admittance to any connection. Two weeks later my father is showing signs of improvement in several areas. He has always been a strong healthy man and at 93 I believe he will live to be 100 since making this change! It is criminal for doctors to ignore the multitude of problems this bad drug manifests.

    • Cindy Tyson on

      I agree with you 100%. My doctor put me on a statin years ago and I had side effects that made my Fibromyalgia worse. I stopped taking it and refuse to take any statin. I researched the statins and found that not only do they remove the cholesterol we get from food it also removes the cholesterol out bodies make that is vital to our brain and other organs. I also learned that a statin drug actually only helps about one person out of every 100,000. The majority of the remaining 99,999 suffer mild to severe side effects. Those are not odds I’m willing to bet on. Many people have become paralyzed from statin use and when statins were discontinued it took them years to fully recover. I hope you father continues to improve.

    • John on

      FROM THE ARTICLE! “Is ceramic cookware safe? Yes, truly well-made ceramic nontoxic cookware makes the list of safe cookware along with several others. Get ready to toss that toxic cookware stat!”

      However, the article also states that ceramic coated cookware with an aluminum base should be avoided!

    • John on

      FROM THE ARTICLE! “Xtrema cookware is another name that comes up and this is a line of ceramic cookware. Xtrema’s products were found to be “non-leaching” by an independent lab. Ceramcor makes the Xtrema line of cookware which is said to be made from “a unique ceramic clay formula that is 100% natural.” Xtrema cookware products are also said to be free of lead, cadmium and toxic heavy metals, PFOA and PTFE-free, non-scratch, nontoxic, and non-metal.”

    • Jean S. on

      Clay cookware can contain lead (especially traditional clay cookware from Mexico – the County of San Diego’s Childhood Lead Poisoning program even had an exchange program where if people brought in their clay pots, they could get a non-clay one because of the extent of the problem.

  3. John on

    This article is a rerun and should be updated to include good or bad for titanium based cookware. I have tried my own research but the answers are contradictory.

  4. Sarah on

    Would the new ‘Copper Chef’ line of cookware fall into the category of nonstick as well? I’m assuming so since it’s nonstick but the copper part is what has me unsure.

    • Mitch on

      I have heard the Copper pans are actually Aluminum with a thin nonstick coating… Whatever chemical makes up that layer, I’m not going to find out.

      You can research with the term “copper chef is actually aluminum”

    • Chaundra Tangi on

      Good question… I was wondering the same, and I’m wondering why Dr Axe isn’t responding to any of these questions????

  5. Christen on

    My dilemma has been finding a skillet or large plug in device to cook pancakes in large amounts. Any tips for these. Cast iron and my stainless just doesn’t work well for pancakes. Thanks.

    • C on

      You must heat the cast iron till water sprinkled on it dances. Then a little coconut oil on the griddle. It is now ready for pancake batter. Cook till bubbly on the top side and golden browned on bottom, flip with a metal pancake turnerand cook till golden brown.

    • Christine on

      For pancakes, even Swedish pancakes (crepes) AND eggs, I use a well-seasoned cast iron rectangular griddle (Lodge brand, made in the USA) that covers & resides across 2 of my 4 gas burners. I add butter, coconut oil, or sometimes bacon grease (yep, bacon). And because I use it daily, including for reheating (using a lid over the top of a pile of 1-3 servings), I don’t put it away… (I’m 5’2″ & lack upper body strength). For clean up, I leave it there & wipe it with a paper towel. If needed & while hot, I scrape it with a stainless pancake turner. If needed, sprinkle a tiny bit of hot water on stuck food while scraping it. And then absorb the water with paper towels; wipe clean and re-oil it. When I need a 3rd burner, I swing one end of the griddle off of one burner & rest that end on the counter; need a 4th burner, I set the entire griddle aside. I use that griddle far more than I had anticipated. I also use stainless steel copper bottom(exterior) revere ware pots 1975-78 era; scored additional (1940s era) pieces at a church rummage sale. I also have cast iron I RARELY use: 3 sizes of fry pans, a flat round griddle (for crepes), a large lid, & a bacon press. That large rectangular griddle is a gem.

    • krysten on

      Cast iron is the Best for pancakes! Are yours burning or what? If they are, you should try reducing the heat. Cast iron holds heat like nothing else, but just takes awhile to heat up, it has to build. I have moved a lot with my cast iron pans and have found no matter the type and age of the stove I have to use medium low for pancakes.

    • Kris Badje on

      I have a cast iron griddle that works great for pancakes. Just have builded up the seasoning and it is non stick with a little butter put on first! I love it!

  6. JJ Alvarez on

    Great and helpful info. Please advice on the best pan for cooking scrabled and fried eggs so it will not stick and spoil a nice breakfast. Thanks!

  7. Jeannie on

    As always your articles are informative and enlightening. Thank you I found this helpful someone has asked about a good pan for eggs and pancakes. I’d find that answer helpful too. Because nonstick is a great option

  8. Nona on

    I use to only use glass for baking & some stove top cooking. I always tried to get brands such as Pyrex because the glass is stronger. I found that it is stronger because it contains aluminum. I’m having a hard time finding quality stainless steel bakeware.
    My questions are; does this aluminum leach out? Is it in all glass cookware? What about drinking glasses?
    Just trying to keep my body non toxic.

    • Sharon Christiansen on

      Try Food52.com is a good source of high quality stainless steel cookware. Most your better department stores carry quality s/s, try their online sites.

  9. Nona on

    I use to only use glass for baking & some stove top cooking. I always tried to get brands such as Pyrex because the glass is stronger. I found that it is stronger because it contains aluminum. I’m having a hard time finding quality stainless steel bakeware.
    My questions are; does this aluminum leach out? Is it in all glass cookware? What about drinking glasses?
    Just trying to keep my body non toxic.

  10. Brian Sims on

    All of Lodge’s cast iron pans come pre-seasoned. I’ve heard the seasoning used is toxic. Who produces non pre-seasoned cast iron?

    • krysten on

      If you’re looking for a new pan that is unseasoned, have one from a kickstart company called Stargazer, and you have the option of getting one unseasoned. But if you like, you can always get any cast iron pan (and I would recomend made in USA), used or not, and scrub off the old seasoning and season yourself. I use electrolysis to get the old off, and reseason with what I want. That way I know what’s on it.

    • krysten on

      Griswold is what I think CYN was trying to say. They don’t make them anymore, but you can find them any time on ebay, etsy, or garage sales. If you want new, Lodge is made in USA, but they are a bit rougher. If you want new and smooth on the inside, I got mine from Stargazer.

  11. Joanna Kipling on

    We use the Green Pan and love the non-stick surface and it is so extremely easy to clean! However, the nano particles really concern us. Has any research been done on these nano particles in our pans that we use on a daily basis? Stainless steel sticks terribly even when we use ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive or sesame oil. I have never had any luck whatsoever in usingcast iron pans either. No matter what we did to “season” them made any difference. Everything sticks to them and we need convenience and do not want to waste more time in the kitchen scrubbing and scrubbing pans. We appreciate the article Dr. Axe. We are now looking for dishes that are made out of glass, including the bowls and mugs. We did find 16 oz. mason jars with a handle that we like, but we are still looking for mugs that are larger for our coffee in the morning. The stoneware we are presently using may have lead in them since they are made in China. Can we ever win??

    • Cheryl on

      I’ve read that seasoning your cast iron pans with flaxseed oil is the best for creating a non-stick surface. I’d still use butter or oil when cooking, though. With cast iron, you just have to re-season it every once in a while.

  12. wanda on

    I just purchased some copper pans, I like them are they safe to use. I have the red copper and the gotham steel. Gotham has titanium and ceramic. Are they ok?

  13. Char on

    I spent a few thousand dollars on cookware made of surgical steel. I was told it was the only cookware allowed in many countries. I won’t mention the name Incase that’s a problem.

  14. Melanie Bruno on

    I cook somewhat with Pyrex baking dishes but mostly with Corning Ware; does Corning Ware classify as ceramic? Sixty and seventy years ago, while I was growing up, my mother cooked only with aluminum pots and pans; she had high blood pressure, many strokes and ended up with Lewy Dementia. Needless to say it was a very pathetic condition to be in and I think about it all the time. I decided to never use aluminum cookware and I hope that what I do use is alright.
    Thank you for all you do.

  15. Sylvia on

    Would it be safe to line an aluminium baking pan, say a loaf pan, with baking paper and bake in that? Would that offer protection?

  16. Chaundra Tangi on

    We have a new Jenn-Aire 36” Stove with what they call a “ChromeAShield” center griddle… do you know anything about this one?

  17. Velvet Johnson on

    Doctor Axe…. I love, love, love you!! I came and saw you in Lakewood Colorado. You are an amazing, gifted human being and doctor. However, I’m struggling with your copper cookware suggestion. Ann Louise Gittleman, as well as many other others, speak of copper toxicity and the prevalence that it plays nowadays (so toxic for many). I’m not a completely educated person just yet, so I may be missing something, but I was sad to see that ceramic cookware was not listed. I have never disagreed with you before, but this is one moment that I felt I had too. Many blessings either way….

  18. Emily on

    I’ve looked all over for a great copper brand of cookware but everything either Co rains aluminium or is ambiguous…any recommendations for one that does Not contain Al or Ni?
    Thanks :)

  19. Kathy on

    Concerned about my old Farberware…still great shape and going strong, but I have definitely done many scrubbing sessions in the years. What are the dangers there?

    • MJC on

      Kathy, I have a favorite Farberware stainless steel skillet that I’ve used for 40 years or more. Having read about nickel issues with stainless steel, I did some reading. A source I trust (can’t remember to cite it here) said older stainless may be better than new as long as there are no deep scratches or gouges. So I’m still loving my vintage Farberware.

      • Howard Segal on

        Nothing will leach from stainless steel under normal cooking circumstances. It’s a very stable set of alloys. Usually 8-10% Nickel (Ni)
        18% Chrome (Cr)
        Balance Iron (Fe)

  20. Jean on

    I have an induction cook top. That limits me to some choices. The only choice is stainless steel. What about the nonstick ceramic. I just finished doing a search online for induction cooking pans. My search was (safe) They do name the ceramic as being safe and won’t leach into your cooking. What is a person supposed to believe then? I have been following Dr. Axe beginning to 4 + years ago when I started my “information journey for health” watching the Ty Bollinger series. It has been amazing. I have incorporated the main points for health. Now I want to change my cook ware. Help!!!!!!

  21. Zanada on

    Are those little saucepan ceramic skillets made by Corelle still safe to use? The generation that “ate the up” is now downsizing and these are appearing on the Salvation Army stores markets for super cheap. I am so tempted to buy on now that it is very affordble when it shows up.

  22. Kim on

    I am So Sorry that I paid $49 for a subscription to your website when you offer your information for free. What a scam!! Shame on you!!

  23. Linda Curry on

    thanks for doing this research for us. So many options today. I often wonder about aluminum even in the stainless steel. I was told aluminum was in all pans in order to distribute heat properly. It just depends on how many layers are between the alum and your food that matters. It’s not always clear when buying stainless steel.

  24. Linda on

    thanks for doing this research for us. So many options today. I often wonder about aluminum even in the stainless steel. I was told aluminum was in all pans in order to distribute heat properly. It just depends on how many layers are between the alum and your food that matters. It’s not always clear when buying stainless steel.

  25. Lauren on

    My mom just bought me Red Copper Pans for Christmas. I have autoimmune issues and have always thought my pots and pans were an issue. So I’ve recently gotten Williams Sonoma pans as I cook almost everything on my stove and in my oven. I understand the Red Copper are non-stick but I don’t believe they are the traditional “non-stick” and I can’t find any information of what their make-up is. I have no problem chucking these pans, but they have the ability to be in the oven too, so thought they might act more like cast iron. What are your thoughts on these? And any specific brands of pans you would recommend?

  26. Danita Maloy on

    I have used amber-colored glass Vision cookware since the middle ’70’s, probably when last it was produced. I had to learn how to cook at lower temperatures to not have foods stick, especially sauces in sauce pans and anything fried in a skillet. There were a few times when something burned badly and probably someone else would have tossed a pan rather than deal with it, but I’m happy I didn’t because overnight soaking in dishwasher detergent saved the day. I assumed Vision cookware disappeared from retail shelfs because of the sticking factor, but I don’t really know whats in them. Possibly lead? Aluminum? Are they safe to use? My health is still pretty good, but I can change if something else would actually be better.

  27. SMB on

    Does the problem occur with food coming in contact with the pan and the material leaches into the food as it’s heated? Or does just being in the same heating element together cause the problem? If I use a nonstick cookie sheet that is starting to come off, but cover it with parchment paper before I put my food items on the pan, is that still a problem?

  28. Deidre on

    Thanks for your article, it would be great if you could tell us where we can buy glass pots. Have searched high and low for them and cant find them anywhere. THanks Deidre

    • krysten on

      Look for use pyrex vision cookware. Ebay has them, found some in thrift stores, maybe Craiglist, even Etsy. Just make sure to inspect for deep scratches. Also, they take awhile to heat up, but they hold heat for a long time. So make sure to give them time to cool, and never put hot glass cookware on a wet surface.

  29. John on

    What about good quality titanium cookware? I recently bought a few frypans & am extremely impressed with their ability to cook without sticking at high temperatures.

  30. Marie on

    What about Saladmaster? From what I’ve read, that’s top-of-the-line because it actually enhances food and expands the pan is completely safe. What do you know about it?

  31. Cheryl on

    I purchased Dr Mercola’s ceramic cookware. He and Dr Axe know each other. I wish Dr Axe would post a brand of cookware he DOES recommend. What brand does Dr Axe use?

  32. Jim Morris on

    Dr. Axe, Your comments on cookware exemplifies the saying, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” I could do a test for you on your “4 best” cookware and show you how bad they really are. I’m sorry if I come across strong, but knowledge is power and there’s a critical piece of info you’re missing. I’d love to demonstrate this to you if you’re willing and able. Thanks!

  33. Nancy on

    What about the ceramic coated cast iron pans…I only have a few but they’re my favorites! Do I toss them?
    And what about the copper chef pans?

  34. Amy Graham on

    Remove cast iron as a safe cookware. Cooking in it causes inorganic iron to leach into food. Inorganic iron is not usable by the human body and can be toxic.

    If used as a planter to grow wheat grass, the wheat grass would contain a usable iron.

    • krysten on

      I would really like to look into what you’re saying here. Do you have a source for the research that was done? I’m interested in how iron can be “inorganic”.

  35. cynthia waltho on

    How about silicon bakeware?
    And is the iron leached from cast-iron pans the
    kind that we want to absorb. I have heard that
    we want to take in plant-based iron not metal
    iron. Any thoughts on that?

  36. Christine Ellwein on

    I would like to know if my Farberware 3-quart pan is healthy to cook in. The numbers 304, 316, 430, 18/8, 18/10, and 18/0 are getting no response. I bought the pan at Walmart and it says “durable stainless steel” and “impact bonded even heat distribution” on the bottom.

  37. Lori on

    An update would be appreciated to include specifically the new types of ceramic titanium coated pans. I think they are popular and inquiring minds want to know if they are safe. Some brands are Red Copper and the Gotham Steel. I think they are both aluminum pans with the coating of ceramic titanium, so my initial thought is to avoid them. I have health conscious elderly neighbors who are using them because they are easy to handle weight wise, and they are asking me if there is anything new informational as to their safety.

  38. Lare Mitchell on

    What a wonderful article. Thank you very much. I love that you share your knowledge without making us pay for it. Many blessings.

  39. Rosemarie Averhoff on

    I would not use anything plastic when it comes to food. I use glass to store leftovers if there are any. Plastic is not good for you and I would not use it in a microwave ever.
    Thank you Dr. Axed for this helpful information. Now I have something I can give to my husband to see because I have been telling him this. I throw out pot after pot that he scratched at the bottom and have turned to more expensive stainless steel cookware mostly because I read your warnings. I have never used plastic to store food in. I am old fashioned I guess you can say and recycle my glass jars that I collect from pickles and sauerkraut etc.
    I love your articles. Thank you.

    • Jeanne on

      Yes i agree with you. I alcso.came across Happy All with titanium technology coating and its really good!.. but i still want to know any other feedback on this pans.

  40. J. Cecil on

    Dr. Axe, thanks for always sharing all the great info. We are big fans of cooking with cast iron. We can fry eggs etc. without any sticking and clean up is quick and easy. You could do an entire article just on cast iron! P.S. If you are not familiar with chain mail for when scrubbing is needed, I highly recommend it.

  41. Jennifer on

    What about impact-bonded aluminum bases in pots and pans such as Caphalon Select and Classic cookwear? Are they safe to use?

  42. Amy on

    I’ve recently wanted to switch out my baking sheets for mom toxic and have not been able to find an alternative. Any ideas? Thanks.

  43. Unis on

    I would recommend 316Ti cookware as my best. This is the only metal that is body friendly when used for surgical procedure and bone implants.Food doesn’t shrink, no reactions with acids and enzymes from our food. The food is pure, and when I did my own comparison test on all cookware 316Ti is the only option for me

    • Howard Segal on

      This is 316 stainless with some form of Titanium coating. Pure titanium is no problem. If this is nanotech there is no info on effect and probably not the exact content of the coating.

  44. Sandra on

    Hello, thanks for this amazing informations, I really want to change my pans, I start to check on internet and got very confusion. Could you please help me out with some links, I saw some on Groupon but wasn’t sure if that was good.

  45. serene Ireland on

    What do you think of the newer pots and pans out now of ceramic and copper infused or the ones with ceramic and titanium?

  46. serene Ireland on

    What do you think of the newer pots and pans out now of ceramic and copper infused or the ones with ceramic and titanium?

  47. Kelly Sweeney on

    Great article except my search for stainless steel/aluminum cookware and bakeware has led me on a wild goose chase. I can not find #304,316, or 430 square baking pan and cookie sheets. Has anyone else found them?

  48. Brigi on

    Can I ask whats your opinion on cast iron grill pans?
    I wonder, do the grill marks burn the meat/fish so its actually not that healthy as it seems like?

  49. monique leimel on

    I’m surprised you named so many “healthier” alternatives to toxic cookware, and left out THE MOST IMPORTANT, SAFEST ONE, recognized and recommended by gastroenterologists the world over. SALAD MASTER (aka happy cooking) has been around since the 30’s and its absolutely changed my and my family’s life as well as everyone who tastes my cooking. this is not a product that can be purchased in a store. its acquired through a distributor only, but it sure is worth the time and $ invested.

  50. Vickie Nicholson on

    I have been looking online for this information for a while now and have read similar reports. Yours is more thorough and easy to understand. Thank you. I use cast iron but I have some other pots with nonstick linings I would like to replace. I was wondering what you think of Copper Chef. It is supposed to be PFOA and PTFE free with a ceramic (Cerami-Tech) nonstick coating. I understand you may be hesitant to comment on a particular brand. I’m mainly just asking about how you feel about what it’s made of.

  51. Dino on

    ALL cooking vessals are bad for ones health, food wasnt meant to be cooked in nature. The best we can do is use the least harmful available. Raw food diets are not attractive cooked food is, barring fruit of course which is almost entirely eaten raw. It takes brave people to have raw food diets.

  52. Alessandra Abreu Dias on

    How about ceramic? Not those non-stick “ceramic” coating but the the whole pot or pan made of ceramic (clay)?
    We use this one down here in Brazil and I think it’s very safe for our health. The one I use is Ceraflame check it out: http://www.ceraflame.com.br

  53. Denise on

    Dr. Axe,
    I am going for Chelation therapy to extract the heavy Metal Tungsten. I was told Stainless steel contains tungsten. Should I avoid all stainless steel products???

  54. vimal on

    beware of copper cookware, even if lined with stainless steel, as its fumes can penetrate the steel and onto food

  55. Chantal managuelod on

    Hi dr josh, i noticed you didn’t include titanium? Any thoughts on if it’s safe to use it as well?

  56. Donna Catalano on

    Thank you for your information on toxicity in cook wares and foods. Are there any brands you recommend, as its difficult to decipher good from bad. Also, with the different price points.

  57. CKAT on


  58. Leslie Estes on

    As a Nutritionist of over 30 years I really appreciate your site (and some of your products like your pea protein powder which is superior to the others).

    This is an informative article but I’d like to add that unless you have vintage cast iron you are likely getting GMO’s. With a couple exceptions that I’ve found, they are preseasoned using GMO soy oil. I got rid of all my Lodge cast iron because of this and I’m still researching the best alternative. Most “healthy” sites are claiming it’s a “miniscule amount” so no-biggie. Well, GMO’s are by their very nature ‘miniscule” lol! And they ARE a big deal. As you said, if you care enough not to buy or grow organic food then why would you want to contaminate it when you cook? There is NO safe or acceptable level of GMO’s.

    Something else to add about ceramic cookware, is that all ceramic glazing contains sodium borate (borax). I read of a woman who consumed several cups of tea daily out of a ceramic mug who tested high in boron, while the rest of her family did not. (Could this also be a compound in the tea?)

    Regarding glass, borosilicate glass also contains boron. I don’t know yet if ceramic glazing or borosilicate glass leaches boron. Meanwhile, I’m thinking soda lime glass would be preferable but it doesn’t have as high of a heat tolerance.

    Regarding Xtrema, I contacted them and they are very misleading when they claim to be heavy-metal-free. They do in fact contain heavy metals! The FDA allows the “free” claim IF the levels fall within “acceptable” levels of leaching. (Really? Yet the CDC says there is NO safe level of lead!) I’ve found the same results with some of the other “non-toxic” clay cookware.

    Please consider updating your article because everywhere I search people are reciting and promoting Xtrema’s misleading claims. However I’m glad to see you are one of the few NOT to recommend them in spite of it. (Tamara Rubin, who tests for lead and other heavy metals with an XRF meter, is the only other source I’ve found that does not recommend them after she found lead.)

    Thanks again for all your great articles – you’ve become my go-to on many searches.


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