Stop Doing This with Your Cookware
You’re conscientious about keeping your kitchen clean. You wipe down countertops, clean crumbs off the table, and don’t let the dirty dishes pile up. It’s not just for looks – you also want to avoid harmful bacteria coming in contact with your food.
But while you’re busy keeping your kitchen free of germs, you may not be thinking about bone-damaging toxins that can get into your food no matter how clean you keep your kitchen.
In fact, if you use the most popular kind of cookware, you are exposing yourself to a dangerous bone-damaging chemical.
The Non-stick Cookware Revolution
When “non-stick cookware” came out in the 1960s, it was all the rage. Created by the bonding of aluminum and polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, this slick cooking surface was touted as the best innovation to come along for home cooks.
PTFE was trademarked as Teflon in 1945, and was used in the creation of the French product Tefal (known as T-fal in the US). In 1960, the FDA approved its use in American cookware.
Today, non-stick pots and pans are standard kitchen equipment. Health-conscious people have been especially attracted to this kind of cookware, because very little oil or fat is needed to keep food from sticking. But the sad irony is that the non-stick coating is anything but healthy; it can damage your health and your bones.
Fluoride: the Hidden Toxin in Your Kitchen
When you look at the chemical formula for common non-stick coating, you’ll notice that fluoride is lurking among the chemical terminology: polytetrafluoroethylene C2F4, or polytetrafluoroethene F2CCF2.
“Savers” already know that fluoride is used in pesticides and fertilizers and that its harmful effect on bones has been well-documented. Throughout the 80s and 90s, researchers confirmed over and over that fluoride accumulates in the bones and causes harm. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed these studies in 1993, it concluded that fluoride ingestion specifically increases the risk of hip fracture.1
In The Missing Link, a detailed report on water included with the Save Our Bones Program, you’ll learn more about fluoride and the body of research that points to its detrimental effect on bones. The bottom line is, fluoride is a poison that has no place in food or water.
More Toxic Effects from Non-Stick Cookware: Pet Birds
Ask anyone who has birds in their home, and they’ve likely heard about the lethal outgassing of non-stick cookware. When heated, Teflon emits numerous toxic gases, some of which (like perfluoroisobutane) are actually used in chemical warfare. And studies have shown that the non-stick coating does not have to be heated to excessively high temperatures to start giving off these fumes – Teflon has been shown to begin degradation at temperatures below 400 degrees F.2
In the not-so-distant past, canaries were used in coal mines to test the air quality. People have known for a long time that if a bird can’t breathe, it indicates an unsafe environment for humans as well. Perhaps we should take the same wisdom and apply it to our kitchens!
It’s Not Just Teflon…
There are additional hazards lurking in various other kinds of cookware, too.
Ceramic Cookware and Lead Poisoning
Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University discovered an alarming fact: ceramic cookware imported from China has dangerous levels of lead in the glaze. When foods are cooked in these ceramic vessels, lead leaches into the food at frighteningly high levels. In fact, the researchers found high levels of lead just from swabbing a lead-detecting solution on the glaze itself.3 Ceramic cookware imported from Mexico is also suspect.
Another popular and relatively high-end type of cookware is made of copper. But this, too, has been shown to be problematic.
Copper is No Longer the “Cadillac” of Cookware
Professional chefs and gourmets have long touted the use of copper for cooking, because it conducts heat evenly. But when you use pots and pans made of copper (not the kind with a copper coating on the bottom), the copper comes in contact with your food. The metal can then leach out in high amounts, causing significant digestive upset and a host of other health problems.
There’s yet another kind of cookware material that “Savers” will be familiar with: aluminum.
Aluminum Cookware Harms Bones
When you cook in aluminum pots and pans, the aluminum contaminates your food. And the higher the temperature, the higher the aluminum levels, especially when you cook high-acid foods like tomatoes.
Aluminum weakens bones. When it accumulates in the body, it wreaks havoc on bone remodeling and building. Aluminum actually impairs your body’s ability to absorb calcium into your bones, resulting in high blood calcium levels.
What Type of Cookware is Safe?
I recommend using stainless steel pots and pans for a variety of reasons. Stainless steel is nonporous, and it won’t leach any metals into your food. There is no coating on stainless steel cookware, making it scratch-resistant and very durable, and free from chemicals. You can use about any kind of utensil from metal spatulas to wooden spoons and not cause damage.
Look for These Features When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware
Not all stainless steel is the same. Look for pots and pans that have aluminum or copper cores inside, or copper lining on the outside. In both of these designs, the aluminum or copper does not come in contact with your food, but it still helps conduct and distribute heat. Another tip for purchasing stainless steel – make sure the handle feels sturdy and solid. Handles should also be heatproof.
It’s Easy to Prepare Bone-Healthy Foods!
Using stainless steel pots and pans is an easy way to ensure you’re not harming your bones and your health. And believe it or not, simple, home-cooked meals, rich in bone-building Foundation Foods, are a cinch to prepare. In the Save Our Bones Program you’ll find the complete Foundation Foods list, and the Recipe Sampler, which is included with the Program, has delicious bone-healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Here’s to your home cooked bone healthy meals!
2Boucher, M., Ehmler, TJ and Bermudez, AJ. 2000. “Polytetrafluoroethylene gas intoxication in broiler chickens.” Avian Dis 44(2): 449-53.
3Gilmore, Thomas, et al. “A Comparison of the Prevalence of Lead-Contaminated Imported Chinese Ceramic Dinnerware Purchased Inside Versus Outside Philedelphia’s Chinatown.” Journal of Medical Toxicology. March 2013. Vol 9, issue 1, pp 16-20. Web. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13181-012-0225-3