Ceramic Coated Cooking Pans May be Killing You With Color

ceramic coated frying panSo-called eco-friendly, ceramic utensils may contain toxic metals like arsenic, an Israeli journalist investigates. It’s in the colors, so also be wary of color-coated knives!

We buy them at health food stores because the ceramic coated pans are supposedly safer than teflon, and good for the planet. A new investigative report by an Israeli consumer protection TV show called Kolbotek finds that ceramic cookware may damaging to your health, and could contain lead and cadmium, which cause a number of serious medical problems such as brain damage (especially in small children), and certain types of cancer. The problem is with the lack of regulation on the materials used to color the pots and pans, and these colors made with cadmium and lead, can leak into your food.

ceramic coated pots and pansColor coated knives were also found to contain toxic metals

Various brands of ceramic cookware were tested by Kolbotek in an environmental testing laboratory Enviro Services Company (ESC), located next to Israel’s notorious hazardous wastes disposal site Ramat Hovav.

The tests found that certain ceramic cookware brands (not mentioned here due to reasons of sensitivity) contained amounts of toxic metals far above “accepted levels” (levels that do not constitute a danger to human health unless absorbed in large quantities).

Even some so called “green guard” brands using a coating called Neoflam were found to contain low levels of these metals, which might warrant then not to be used.

Kobotek also interviewed some prominent toxicologists to obtain their opinions on the dangers from using these products. One of these toxicologists is Professor Yoni Amitai a former Senior Physician at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, and Director of  the Department of Mother, Child and Adolescent Health at the Ministry of Health. Amitai  said that utensils containing high amounts of metals like lead and cadmium should not be used, especially for families with children.

While the nonstick coatings make these utensils very nice to use, the lab tests found that heating the utensils to very high temperatures, such as done when frying foods of a high fire, releases toxins from metals and other substances at a much faster rate.

The coated knives were found to release toxic substances when scratched or chipped.

kolbotekA link to the entire Kolbotek program, aired on Israel’s Channel 2 TV of Monday, December 26, is posted here. Although the show is in Hebrew, those who haven’t seen the program should do so now.

The program did not say that all ceramic, non stick coated cookware is dangerous, but that some brands that contain high amounts of the mentioned metals should be avoided.

The general consensus from the program is for people to avoid using these ceramic coated utensils, even those considered as “safe”.

This is not the first time that consumers have been warned to avoid using utensils with nonstick coatings. Warnings against use of those with “teflon” non stick coatings have been issues for years, and also in the USA warnings against nonstick utensils have been issued; an example of such is noted here.

Maybe the best idea it to stick to good quality stainless steel utensils; or even better, to use that old cast iron skillet and cooking pot or dutch oven, and use lots of “elbow grease” to clean them afterwards.

Consumer protection programs have made us more aware of products that may be dangerous to human health. Some of these products already mentioned on Green Prophet include a food substance known as meat glue (transglutaminase), an article giving  warnings of possible toxic contraceptives; and a brand of silicone breast implants, PIP, that have been recalled by the French government for fears of leaks that could cause cancer.

In short: buyer beware if you want to protect your health.

UPDATE article (Jan 2): Public Launches Class Action Suit Against Neoflam

::Kolbotek video

More articles on dangerous products you should watch out for:
 PIP Breast Implant Warnings Hit the Middle East
Is Conscious contraception site selling a bag of dirty tricks?
The Meat You Eat May Not be What You Think
Meat Glue (transglutaminase): the meat industry’s dirty secret

Above image via waferboard

30 thoughts on “Ceramic Coated Cooking Pans May be Killing You With Color

  1. Lourdes

    Hi, yup this piece of writing is really fastidious
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    Reply
  2. Mario

    Warnings without any listed dangerous brands/models is without a sense.
    People, don’t eat bad food! – is it valuable information for you?

    Reply
  3. MARTINE

    GO RAW VEGAN N DO NOT THINK ABOUT IT AGAIN OR ANOUT ANY HEALTH CONCERN, I WILL COME N LIVE W YOUR FAMILY A MONTH N TEACH YOU !! PEACE N NO METALS

    Reply
  4. Tanzier

    Neoflam hosts their FDA certification online, showing no levels of these chemicals/metals were detected. I can’t see a link to any conflicting results.

    The next most popular google results are the news that this news show is getting their balls sued off them for this libelous claim. Since anyone can buy, chip off and test a frypan to see who is correct, that tells you who will win that lawsuit.

    I also don’t understand why anyone is talking about specially coloured coatings requiring lead etc. I’ve shopped the whole range of Neoflam cookware. All the cooking surfaces are black. The coloured part is is bottom of the frypan. If the underside of your frypan is contaminating your food, you’re not competent enough to cook safely anyway. Your greatest danger if probably self immolation from your stove if you can’t keep your food in a frypan.

    Reply
  5. Tara Nelson

    How you post a piece of journalism about a serious threat to public safety and then not list the brands of the pans that are dangerous because of “sensitivity”? That is irresponsible journalism! If you’re more concerned about corporate profits than human lives, what is the point of even publishing this piece at all?

    Reply
  6. Don

    From neoflam israel website (translation to english)

    The published data are unaccountable cadmium alloy commando kolbotek with ceramic coating tools. in contrast, the Israeli device, as well as the relevant regulatory ceramic tools in the United States and Europe, bodktmicoi lead vkdmiom into the liquid. It is important to emphasize that the mere presence of metals schnabrotiot is not a tool; There is a health risk when metals are being released into the food. Therefore, the relevant test is the שלמתכות exhaustion test for determining whether there is a danger to public health. The findings do not indicate that there is a danger שהוצגובתחקיר public health from using these tools. However, the very presence of lead metal with ceramic coating tool vkdmim up the necessary checking these שלמתכות exhaustion. standard following the investigation, the Ministry of health contact the Institute to consider extending device drivers apply to tools crmimlli metal ceramic coated. The Institute prepares response by Israel Standards Institute standard these days for under ceramic amcipoi.

    Reply
  7. George

    I cannot believe that even ceramic coating is not healthy. There are so many frauds in cookwares that they want to claim the cookwares as safe, when they are not. It is for those greedy beasts who want to make money and they are not interested in people’s health.

    Reply
  8. karl

    Are the common pans sold in the US safe? Orgreenic, Aeternum, Cuisinart etc. Some of these have colored internal surfaces, others do not. I am also concerned about the “nano” technology being even more dangerous than teflon. Anyone know about that?

    Reply
  9. Impy

    I have a ‘Greenpan’ skillet: Is the white ceramic coating toxic? I thought the whole purpose was that – (unlike teflon) – the ceramic coating does NOT leach into food during cooking.

    Reply
  10. Martin

    Hi,

    we maybe all remember the story with ” Mattel” ( kids toys). I am sure they didn’t order lead in their paint on Kids toys. Still they had recall a hugh amount of toys.
    Asia might be cheap to manufacture but moral standard are very low.
    Ceramic is not toxic , but yes paint can be, especially under heat. A Gas flame goes up to more than 500 degrees Celsius. Thats why good cookware from Europe is not coated on the outside base. And who says stainless steel is not toxic. Aren’t they made of Steel Chromium, Nickel and Molybdenum. Good chefs work don’t work with metal spoons to avoid metal taste in their white sauce. Its also easy to burn food which is also carcinogenic.

    Reply
  11. Debbie

    I watched the show too, and a few days later my Neoflam pan and my Soltam gold coloured pan were in the recycling bin! I got an Arcosteel one for small cooking jobs and will stick to my stainless steel sautages or my wok for the big jobs! I’d rather use a bit more oil than poison myself.

    With all due respect (I agree that the TV show is often sensationalist), the testing company at Ramat Hovav is reputable, and the FDA should not always be treated as words from heaven: after all, they approved aspartame, didn’t they?

    Reply
  12. John

    Hi Karin,

    Because I have a few of these pots and pans, and I like them, I went around to see whats out there.
    Both the Israeli Neoflam website and Australian Neoflam website they are presenting the FDA approval, EU certification and Canadian certification.

    I am sorry, but I find it hard to believe that these 3 bodies will approve these for use if there was Cadmium or Lead in them.

    Also in the Israeli website there is a link to a newspaper article ,where in the article the tester took the pots and pans to an independent lab to be tested, and the results where that they where clean from Cadmium and Lead.

    So bottom line It sounds like the Kolbotek show made huge waves, got lots of views etc, but I do not think that the information is correct.

    Again it is coming down to who do you believe, the government lab? or the TV show lab?
    I think the TV show lab had interest in making a mess to get some views, but what interest does the FDA have ? :)

    If you believe the FDA, EU and Canadian certification, than I would think this article should be removed.

    Reply
  13. John

    Hi Karin,

    As to before Neoflam Australia has put up all the certifications online.
    I doubt they would have them if any thing was wrong.

    It sound like a huge propaganda, and I can tell you that I did watch the TV show.

    The fact is they need to create a mess to get people to watch their show, I think that this time they crossed the line.

    checkout the neoflam australia website with all their certifications and tell me what you think, it is hard for me to believe that they will get passed all the testing with any of this lead or cadmium in their coating.

    really who do you belive? a TV show? or the FDA?

    let me know, John

    Reply
    • Karin Kloosterman

      The question is why would other companies like Arcosteel get a clean bill, and others like Neoflam not?

      I am taking into consideration that the show crossed the line as Israeli standards in journalism are lacking or yet to be defined. There could be corporate sabotage going on here as another plausible argument: two of the three emails from the Australian website I got were signed by people with very Israeli typical Israeli modern Hebrew names. Maybe someone in the Kolbotek show was out to get them or ruin the Neoflam business? Kolbotek is not 60 Minutes and it is known locally to sensationalistic.

      Again, if I hear from Neoflam, I’d be happy to publish their response.

      Reply
  14. Tinamarie Bernard

    Excellent discussion. I gave up using non-stick years ago, and yeah, it takes elbow grease to clean…but then again, it’s not that hard. Another thing we don’t use – a microwave. But the problem isn’t just what we use at home. Think about commercial use and restaurant use and what your friends and families cook with, etc. This has potentially far reaching consequences….ackh!

    Reply
  15. Karin Kloosterman

    I emailed Neoflam for a comment: their Australia office answered telling me to write to their Korea office. So far no word in response. They are probably staying quiet to avoid any unwanted press.

    Reply
  16. Karin Kloosterman

    As is the case in ceramics, which I praticed for many years, to achieve spectacular color, one usually needs to use lead and other dangerous materials. We would need lab results to see what what tested and to ask chemists involved. I think the Kolbotek argument is fair: to be safe, one isn’t supposed to scrub these pots or pans or put them in the dishwasher. But during the life cycle of a pan, who can make sure this never happens? I have a teflon colored pan which I have thrown in the garbage. Honestly, I am not going to take any chances with my family’s health. I am going back to stainless steel, until I can get information that beyond a doubt shows that these cookware products do not contain dangerous chemicals. My hunch is that if you stick with the dull colored products you are probably safe.

    Reply
  17. Carmel

    Karin -

    According to the show, they tested both the inside and outside colored part. For Neoflam, but had dangerous levels of these metals. According to the Neoflam Australia website, “Heavy metals such as Cadmium, Lead and Mercury is not found in the coating. Other harmful chemicals are not released even if the pan is heated to a high temperature.” Are they lying? Please post what you find. I loved my neoflam.

    Reply
  18. Maurice Picow Post author

    People who shop in Costco and Wallmart don’t care about these things. They’re more interested in buying a 5 lb bag of Doritos or bacon rinds for 2 bucks!

    Reply
  19. Karin Kloosterman

    So the problem I understood is with the color? Correct? If a ceramic pan is not painted with a bright color would it be okay? Clearly if these dishes are cleaned on a hot cycle in the dishwasher this material, lead and cadmium could wash all over the dishes. I have contacted the company Neoflam for a response. It appears they have offices in Australia – they responded to me saying to contact the HQ in Korea. Still waiting.

    Reply
  20. Maurice Picow Post author

    This topic was also aired Wednesday morning, Dec. 28th, on Israel’s Channel 10; and Professor Amitai was a guest on the program. The general conclusion is that people should refrain from using this kind of cookware and use good quality stainless steel cookware (not the cheap Chinese stuff) until the safety issue of cooking with ceramic cookware is finalized.

    Reply
  21. Maurice Picow Post author

    Now that I think of it, only these two brands Arcosteel and Kenwood were “clean”. All the other brands mentioned had various amounts of toxic metals in them; with some having very high amounts of toxins in them.

    Reply
  22. Karin Kloosterman

    A Green Prophet reader should watch the video and let us know about the brands to watch out for. Obviously Maurice is cautious about spreading false information. It would be good to know if any of these brands are international or if it is just a few scammers trying to sell their products without safety standards. The FDA tests these things in the US. Surely if there were dangers there they would be reported. Can anyone weigh in on this?

    Reply

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