Cookware Choice - Health and Safety Ever a Big Consideration?

Many HungryOnion posts are about choosing different cookware materials and construct for heating evenness, heating response, heat retention, and top temperature tolerance…etc. By cookware, I am talking about frying pans, saute pans, sauce pans, stock pots…etc.

Have health or safety ever be a top consideration for your cookware choice? For example, I know there was a small resurrection of Vision and Vitroflam glass cookware because a belief that glass is the healthiest cookware.

People, please be open-minded about people expressing what you may not agree. For example, if someone believes XYZ is not safe, then let them speak their mind.

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Hi Chem,

I was a professor of safety at USC and taught about safety systems. IMO, kitchen safety needs to be planned from the very beginning, so that each aspect lowers the risk more.

The aspect I feel I’ve addressed most successfully is knife safety through grabability.

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Safety for me is a consideration, but not a major one. This is probably because, with the exception of lead- or cadmium-based ceramic glazes, I don’t believe any cookware is making cooked food unhealthy.

My safety considerations about cookware mostly concern unintentional consequences, e.g., burnt PTFE or exploding Pyrex.

But I am also concerned on a “meta” scale over industrial processes that pollute, such as PTFE (and other chemicals) and semiconductor component production


I belive we have a lot of people, who boycott non stick cookware for health reasons, and I understand them.

Being the hypocrite I am and full of double standards, I will most likely hang on to my non stick cookware for as long as they are still being produced for when I make certain delicate & starchy things, where even a well seasoned carbon steel and cast iron pan still - in my view - can’t beat a non stick pan for cooking result and use of less fat while cooking.

But as said I do perfectly understand the arguments from the boycotters of non stick cookware - and in fact I believe EU will soon prohibit the sales of non stick cookware in the EU region (within 3-5 years is my guesstimate). When this happens - prefably BEFORE - I’ll buy a dozen Demeyere Alu Pro and Ballarini non stick frying pans and sauter pans.

As a fan and owner of 5 Non stick pans and 5 carbon steel pans, I still am curious about how healthy it is to cook in well seasoned carbon steel pans, where small patches of the seasoning consisting of burnt in carbonised oil will enter into the food you cook in the carbon steel pan.

I sometimes doubt how healthy an alternative seasoned carbon steel and cast iron pans are to non stick pans…

However I’ve never been able to find studies about this

But more and more studies prove, that cooking in non stick pans is not healthy since these ‘forever chemichals’ seem to aggregate withion our bodies.

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Right. Safety is important, but has safety been a decisional factor for you for purchase?

Yeah. I feel most cookware out there are plenty safe. Not that safety is not important, but rather most cookware so safe that it does not come into play very often.

This is true.

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I have rehomed virtually all of my Pyrex cookware due to my concern about exploding Pyrex. Thankfully, I prefer baking in metal pans.

Other than that, I don’t have safety concerns about cookware. I use: cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, aluminum and clay.

I’ve also given up virtually all my wood cookware: stirring spoons, salad bowl, etc. This has nothing to do with safety. It’s because wood retains odors; the materials I’ve replaced it with, silicone and bamboo, don’t retain odors.

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Hi Chem,

The induction units, for sure. I especially liked the automatic turnoffs when my units turboed out of control–and I wasn’t watching.

Ovens and microwaves–not so much. I knew the risks.

Bought new Corning Ware–didn’t worry, but only used in microwave–not on stove top.

Bought nonstick, but used at lower temperatures for mostly eggs.

All my knife maintenance items had a safety component in my thinking: honing, pull through, stropping, and diamond stones.

Hot pads. Tools for moving food around.

Health has been a major factor in purchasing everything that comes in to contact with my food. I’ve been gradually switching out plastic and nonstick items with 18/8 steel, glass, iron, and wood. I have pretty severe anxiety so spending a little extra to reduce heavy metal leaching goes a long way toward improving my mental health. It doesn’t hurt that all the pieces I’ve picked will last several lifetimes.

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I should also add it has pushed me toward this unfortunate rabbit hole of needing everything in my kitchen to be made in the USA, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Demeyerelandia, etc. So balancing the cost with my mental health has been interesting.

Hi Auggie,

I don’t think that’s possible any more.

My Demeyere poacher was made in Indonesia, my All Clad lids and insert are from China, Lots of Zwilling cookware is OEM China. Lodge ECI is all from China.

Sometimes just parts–often the whole item–OEM China.

Just to be clear. Only 18/8, not 18/0 or 18/10?

Just generalizing. All three of those steels seem great.

Egg poachers are kind of an odd piece to purchase in general. I know with All-Clad a lot of their more niche products come from China. I would never expect anyone to order from a specific company without researching where they make a specific product; assuming this idea is already important to the person purchasing.

Hi Auggie,

I don’t think All Clad OEMs whole cookware products from China–at least for their main lines. They do OEM SS hand tools–and they say so.

Given the way supply chains work these days, sometimes retailers may not even know themselves.

Not really a consideration. For me, nonstick cookware is the only type of cookware deemed unsafe, but I use mine so little - say twice a month - that I don’t feel it being an issue for my health.

Other than that I don’t think any other cookware material is inherently unsafe. I even use unlined copper pots regularly making jam.


My only safety consideration is about the weight of the pan - is it too heavy for me to comfortably cook with. Which means, for example, I have no Le Creuset products.

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I feel you. Light weight cookware are not only easy for cooking, but more important to me is easy for washing. Enameled cast iron cookware not only heavy, but one need to be extra careful compared to regular bare cast iron cookware.

I mostly cook in SS, cast iron, and ceramic. While I do have a couple of non-stick pans, they’re rarely used, and only for delicates where high temps don’t exist… so it has never been a consideration for me. I feel SS, CI (avoiding acidics), ceramics, and non-stick at low temps all to be safe.