Read the following list to find out if your own kitchen cookware falls into one of these categories.
Seven common cookware items that may be making you sick
Aluminum cookware: Pots and pans made of aluminum are inexpensive and therefore found in many kitchens, but there may be a price to be paid for using them. Exposure to aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s, autism and other diseases, and aluminum cookware that has not been anodized is capable of leaching the metal into certain types of foods – mainly foods that are either highly acidic (like tomato sauce) or highly basic (like baking soda). Although aluminum cookware is generally considered one of the minor sources of exposure to the metal, it’s still a good idea to avoid using any non-anodized aluminum in the kitchen.
Copper cookware: Popular among chefs for their visual appeal and superior heat-conducting properties, copper pots are also found in many kitchens. However, like aluminum, highly acidic ingredients can cause the leaching of copper into the foods cooked in them. Copper may be an essential mineral, but too much of it can cause health problems.
Plastic cooking utensils: Plastic spoons and spatulas are capable of melting quickly when they come in contact with very hot pots and pans, which can release toxins into the food. You’re better off using wooden spoons and stainless steel spatulas when cooking on a hot stove.
Plastic cutting boards: Plastic cutting boards are generally considered safer than those made of wood, but once a plastic cutting board becomes rough and gouged after too much use, it’s better to discard it and buy a new one, since dangerous bacteria can grow in the crevices. Personally, I favor wooden cutting boards; good ones are resistant to cuts and gouges, and when carefully cleaned and dried they are completely safe to use and have much greater aesthetic appeal.
Plastic food containers: Many plastic food containers contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to birth defects, brain damage and other serious health risks. Use glass containers whenever possible, or at least make sure any plastic food containers in your kitchen are labeled “BPA-free.”
Scratched stainless steel cookware: Although stainless steel is normally considered superior to many other types of cookware, once it becomes scratched it can leach dangerous metals such as iron, nickel and chromium into foods. Parents of children with iron or nickel allergies should be especially careful when using stainless steel cookware.
Teflon cookware: Teflon, the non-stick coating made by Dupont, is commonly used in the manufacture of frying pans, grills and other cookware. Although it makes cleanup easy, Teflon contains a number of highly toxic chemicals – some of which are known to be carcinogenic. The fumes from Teflon cookware are notorious for killing pet birds – and if something is capable of instantly killing your pets, imagine what it may be doing to your own body. Teflon cookware is dangerous, period. No one should be using it in their kitchens, ever. Properly seasoned cast iron skillets and pots are a much safer non-stick alternative.