Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?

Green Cookware: Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?

Cooking for the whole family is one way to express your love and concern for them.  You can ensure that you cook healthy and delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy. Ensuring that the ingredients you prepare are healthy and safe is second nature. But have you ever wondered if the cookware you are using is safe? 

There’s a lot of hype surrounding all kinds of cookware in the marketing world. Today, we’ll be dealing with ceramic cookware.

If you’ve ever researched safe cookware, you’ve probably heard about the many dangers of certain materials and chemicals that are often used in today’s pots and pans, including non-stick varieties. Of course, non-stick isn’t the only dangerous kind of cookware, but it’s the easiest to recognize.

Toxic chemicals, such as the notorious Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), are often found in many non-stick cookware varieties and are known to be unsafe.

So what happens when you and your family are exposed to small amounts of these chemicals over a long period of time? Well, let’s just say that the answers you read to that question may range wildly from causing detrimental health conditions like cancer or Alzheimer’s to the idea that every kind of cookware is probably safe as long as it’s being sold.

After all, if the cookware and chemical manufacturers tell us their products are safe, they must be telling us the truth, right?

I think we all know that plenty of dangerous substances and materials have been sold in the past that were anything but safe.

Unsafe cookware must be avoided at all costs for three reasons:

1.) The potential adverse health effects aren’t worth the “benefits” of more “versatile” cookware that contains dangerous chemicals or other reactive substances.

2.) Questionable cookware is easy to avoid as long as you’re ever-so-slightly informed, especially since safer cookware varieties are readily available.

3.) Research, lawsuits, and regulations have provided plenty of evidence that there’s been enough incriminating data over the years to give you a reason to doubt claims of safety regarding today’s widely sold cookware.

The good news is that there are safer kinds of cookware that can replace your non-stick pots and pans. There is absolutely no reason to continue to cook with toxic cookware. While there may be other kinds of cookware that I prefer, ceramic is definitely one solid alternative.

History of Ceramics

Ceramic cookware is one of the oldest kinds of cookware that has been used repeatedly through the centuries. The word “ceramics” originated from the Greek word keramikos meaning “of pottery”, and from keramos meaning “potter’s clay”.

History tells us that the earliest ceramics made by humans were pottery objects made from clay, bone, bone ash, and animal fat. The earliest uses of ceramics in history aren’t known, but what is believed to be the oldest ceramic figurines were discovered in Czechoslovakia.

Down through the millennia, ceramics were used for art, storage, and cooking. Ceramics have indeed played an integral role in human history.

Is Ceramic Cookware Safe?

Ceramic cookware is generally made of inorganic and non-metallic materials that are known to be non-toxic. That means that they don’t typically contain lead, cadmium, or other toxic metals. This is why many people opt to use ceramic cookware rather than non-stick pans, aluminum, copper, or other kinds of toxic cookware.

However, the questions surrounding the safety of ceramic cookware can’t be answered quite that easily. There are a few very important factors that you need to consider before purchasing any kind of ceramic cookware. As long as you consider the following considerations, ceramic cookware is a great, non-toxic option.

Important Considerations:

  • Only Purchase 100% Ceramic Cookware
  • Many Foreign Ceramics Contain Lead or Other Contaminants
  • Ceramic Cookware is Fragile
  • 100% Ceramic Cookware is Non-Reactive and Non-Toxic
  • Non-Stick Ceramic Coated Cookware Isn’t the Same as Ceramic Cookware
  • Never Use Ceramic That Isn’t Clearly Indicated as Safe For Food Use.

When it comes to purchasing quality ceramic cookware, a few things need to be observed. As we mentioned in the list above, it’s important that you only purchase your ceramic cookware if it’s 100% ceramic. It’s also crucial that the glaze doesn’t contain any toxic metals or other contaminants like lead. If you purchase ceramic products made in the US, this usually isn’t a problem.

Also, it’s worth mentioning that non-stick ceramic-coated metal cookware should not be considered a safe alternative to other potentially toxic cookware. Essentially, this kind of cookware is primarily metal, coated with a few layers of non-stick ceramic material that flakes off or is easily scratched over time, potentially allowing underlying materials and metals to leach into your food.

Why Should You Use Ceramic Cookware?

Using ceramic cookware for meal preparation ensures safe and healthy cuisine for you and your loved ones. By using safe cookware alternatives, ceramic in this case, you can have full assurance that the food you put on the table is safe and healthy. What we cook isn’t the only factor in food safety. We must also question the safety of what we cook with.

When it comes to performance, ceramic cooks quite well. It has good heat retention properties, and many varieties are dishwasher safe as well. Besides that, it’s also environmentally safe.

Ceramic cookware is also quite versatile. It can survive heat that would melt stainless steel, but it can also be used to store food inside the fridge and freezer. Even microwaving is an option when it comes to ceramic cookware. Furthermore, this kind of cookware looks beautiful when serving meals.

You shouldn’t settle for anything but high quality when it comes to ceramic. That said, the higher the quality, the more expensive you’ll find products. Consequently, sub-par foreign ceramics that may contain lead are readily available online and elsewhere, so it’s crucial that you don’t cut corners.

If you can’t afford high-quality ceramic cookware, there are other safe options that are less expensive.

Disadvantages Of Using Ceramic Cookware

Sure, ceramic cookware is safe, easy to clean, evenly cooks food, and is toxin-free. However, there are some disadvantages of ceramic cookware. First, the surface of ceramic cookware can be damaged by scrubbing. Secondly, it can be quite heavy compared to other kinds of cookware. Third, it easily cracks, so extra care should be taken when handling it.

As noted a bit ago, high-quality ceramic may be very expensive compared to other safe cookware alternatives like cast iron or stainless steel. While somewhat durable, you will find that the longevity of ceramic cookware is also naturally not quite as robust as cast iron. It’s rather easy to break a ceramic pan accidentally, but it’s pretty impossible to break a cast iron skillet. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to our family’s health and safety, we always want the best. We want to cook healthy dishes, buy fresh ingredients, maintain the cleanliness of our kitchens, and avoid introducing any potential toxins in our food supply. We tend to overlook the kind of cookware we use when striving to maintain a healthy kitchen.

With so much conflicting information and clever marketing techniques, it really can be difficult to wade through the options. But, when it comes to ceramic cookware, it’s important to remember that quality is paramount. As long as you purchase high-quality ceramic cookware, you can have assurance your pots and pans are no longer providing you with your daily dose of toxins.

The key to purchasing any healthy cookware alternative is that there’s more than one option. Personally, ceramic isn’t my favorite cookware choice. But I also don’t mind the plain, bulky look of cast iron. Quality ceramics are also expensive, so that’s a consideration, too. Therefore, there are many great choices when it comes to safe cookware.

Your choice should be made on which of those kinds of cookware will meet the vast majority of your cooking and personal preferences.

Ceramic Cookware FAQs

Is ceramic cookware toxic?

No, quality ceramic cookware is free of chemicals like PFOA, PTFE, and PFOS that can be toxic. It’s a safer non-stick option.

Does ceramic have harmful coatings?

Quality ceramic cookware has an inert glaze coating that is lead-free and non-toxic when intact. Research the brand you’re purchasing from to see what materials were included in the glaze.

Is ceramic better than Teflon for non-stick?

Yes, quality ceramic is naturally non-stick and more durable than Teflon coatings that can chip and flake.

Can ceramic withstand high heat?

Ceramics can generally handle high heat. That said, when proper cooking techniques are utilized, the “high” setting on the stove isn’t necessary.

Is ceramic cookware scratch-resistant?

Ceramic is scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof. Metal utensils can still damage the surface over time, and they’re less durable than stainless steel and cast iron.

Does ceramic leach chemicals when heated?

No, ceramic itself does not leach harmful chemicals at any temperature when unglazed or glazed properly.

Are ceramic non-stick properties long-lasting?

With proper care, ceramic retains its non-stick surface for several years. However, a well-seasoned and polished cast-iron pan may be a better option for durability.

Are ceramic cookware oven and dishwasher safe?

Check manufacturer instructions – quality ceramic is usually dishwasher safe.

Does ceramic break easily?

It’s chip and crack-resistant but can break if subjected to sudden temperature changes or direct high impact.

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