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.
Color 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.
A 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
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