Complete Story


My Cookware is Toxic?

By Dr. Julianne Monica
ANJC Nutrition Education Council Chair

Well, the probability is good. It is most likely that a part or all of your cookware leaches metal and/or other toxic elements: Fluoride, aluminum, tin and nickel, primarily. We are so used to associating these things with cookware that we have forgotten how “poisonous” they really are.  And non-toxic elements can leech from cookware too like copper and chromium.

We might want the convenience of “dishwasher safe” cookware and not want to bother with the care of cast iron and the like. Maybe non–stick cookware is essential for your kitchen survival, and functional performance takes a secondary role? A little understanding of what your current options are and their value, performance and health impact may help with more informed choices.

We can create for ourselves less toxic metal exposure just by choosing better pots and pans. I have metal toxic patients whose exposure we could only associate with cookware. This is getting to be a more common issue.

While the medical establishment recognizes the acute toxicity that may occur from high levels of metals/toxins in your body, far more people suffer the adverse effects of low-level, chronic exposure. And cookware may be a main contributing cause. Nickel and other metals and poisons flood the environment and invade your system.  Managing how you cook your food each day can give you some control over your toxic load.

High toxic levels lead to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain and neurologic disorders. But clinically we find these toxicities problematic to many systems and overall functioning.

Many products are developed for the sake of convenience without concern for human health – Cookware has been no different. Teflon coated, non-stick cookware when heated has proven to be a primary source of a dangerous toxic fluoride derivative, specifically, perfluorinated chemicals (PFOAs). Teflon cookware is probably the worst cookware of all time.
I mention this because so many people still seem to use these pans.

A word about copper cookware:  It is toxic. Not a good option. When you heat uncoated copper – it leaches! Even copper cookware that is coated can contain and leach nickel. Too much copper in the diet will depress zinc levels which is linked to malfunctioning of the adrenals and the thyroid. And zinc is most essential for immune functioning. 

So, let’s reap the benefits without the ills!  I rated the cookware below based on: least leaching, heat responsiveness and price.


The healthful choices are:

Examples of good brands are:

  1. Matfer Bourgeat, a family owned, French business established in the 19th They sell CSS pans globally and with a commitment to sustainability. All of their manufacturing sites are ISO - environmentally certified and target minimal carbon footprints. And of course, I rated them for overall performance too – A solid choice for CSS.
  2. And my #1 pic for a CSS brand is, Lodge. They are well known for their cast iron products but their carbon pans are getting great reviews. The only con for some might be that this cookware, and most all CSS, is not stainless steel shiny and they do not come in a wide variety of matching sets. They have a great weighty feel but are not near as heavy as cast iron.  You buy for instance, a crepe pan, for its specific use.  And of course, there are pans in all sizes. They are all about their function!  This choice is based on manufacturer’s quality, superior price point and these pans are made in the good old U.S. of A.  (See: And there are many informative YouTube videos for their use and care.




Jensen CS, Menné T, Lisby S, Kristiansen J, Veien NK. Experimental systemic contact dermatitis from nickel: a dose–response study. Contact Dermatitis. 2003;49:124–132. [PubMed]

A-J Manufacturing. "304 vs. 316 Stainless".

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