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You've decided to eat clean and buy organic food, but it’s just as important to choose green, non-toxic cookware to ensure that you’re keeping your family safe.
This is of the utmost importance when it comes to nonstick cookware, which is generally made using poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These substances release perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogenic chemical when heated. In addition, many of them contain dangerous heavy metals that can flake off into your food during cooking.
Note! Be sure to scroll and read about current October sales on Xtrema Cookware.
Before You Choose Your Cookware
When you're choosing cookware, there are a few important keywords you can seek out to make sure you're not bringing toxic chemicals into your home (or serving them for dinner.)
When you're buying pots and pans, whenever possible, choose items made from safe, non-toxic materials like carbon steel, ceramic, lava rock, porcelain enamel, or tempered glass. Cast iron and stainless steel are generally okay, though they too can leach heavy metals – iron and nickel respectively – into your food, so it's generally a good idea to stick to other materials for long-simmering dishes or recipes that contain a lot of acid, such as tomato-based foods.
There are two materials, however, that you should avoid whenever possible: aluminum and Teflon. There's been quite a bit of research linking elevated aluminum levels to central nervous system problems, including one 2013 study in Immunologic Research that linked aluminum to Alzheimer's, ALS, and autism spectrum disorders.
As for the latter, it's the material used in most nonstick cookware, but studies have shown that the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating on the pans turns into toxic Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at high heat, making it dangerous both for the cook and for diners. In fact, award-winning filmmakers Morgan Spurlock and Stephanie Soechtig teamed up to take on the chemical with a new documentary featuring activist Erin Brockovich: "The Devil We Know".
8 Safe Cookware Brands We Trust
Whether you're frying an egg or making crêpes, sometimes you want a surface that doesn't need heaps of fat to release your food. And that's where non-toxic, nonstick cookware comes in handy.
Here are eight of our favorite non-toxic cookware brands to try.
1. Made In Cookware
About Made In Cookware
Inspired by 100 years of family history in kitchen supply, Made-In co-founders Chip and Jake set out to create the best performing five-ply cookware and make it available to consumers at half the price of competitors. This company produces stainless clad pans, as well as both carbon steel and non-stick pans. The former are seasonable, much like cast iron, meaning that they actually develop non-stick abilities the more you use them. They're lighter than cast-iron but hardier than non-stick, standing up to high heat and more abrasive cooking utensils. Basically, carbon steel is the perfect happy medium in the kitchen.
The brand's non-stick line, meanwhile, is nothing to turn up your nose at: it's made with high-grade, American-produced PTFE and is completely devoid of PFOA and PFAS.
These safe, durable pans are also made with the environment in mind: any unused metals are recycled for new uses, for example in the manufacture of tailpipes. Damaged and returned merchandise is sold to restaurants or donated to ensure it's never wasted.
2. Xtrema Cookware
The cookware from Xtrema is California Prop 65 tested and approved, and each shipment is further tested for the presence of heavy metals. Unlike many other brands that are merely coated in a ceramic layer, Xtrema is made of pure ceramic, which retains heat well, allowing you to cook on lower settings.
While Xtrema is not the ideal cookware to use over high heats and requires care when handling while hot due to its sensitivity to sudden drops in temperature, this cookware is quite durable and boasts a non-scratch surface perfect for cooking even foods that tend to stick to the pan, like delicate fish or eggs. Eco-friendly and safe to use in the microwave, dishwasher, oven, and stovetop, this cookware is a fantastic, non-toxic non-stick choice.
You can read more about Xtrema here.
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GreenPan is a higher-end Belgian brand that makes nonstick, non-toxic cookware coated with Thermolon – a ceramic material derived from sand. It contains no lead, cadmium, PFAS, or PFOA, and it is heat-resistant up to 450°C, meaning that it won’t blister or release toxic fumes when overheated. They are currently on their fifth generation of coating technology which enhances their Thermolon coating with diamonds for even better performance and durability.
The company has also taken strides to make its production methods as green as possible, emitting 60 percent less CO2 during the curing phase of the nonstick coating as compared to traditional coating. They also utilize upcycled stainless steel and aluminum whenever possible.
With over ten years of experience, GreenPan has sought to improve its nonstick coating again and again.
The company has multiple exclusive lines that feature their patented diamond infused ceramic non-stick surface, which is free of PFAs, PFOA, lead and cadmium. Each of the following feature distinct design features:
- The Jewel Set on Sur La Table is a simple yet vibrantly colored set of 8", 10", and 12" skillets. Perfect for those who do a lot of stove top cooking but aren't looking to buy an entire set of cookware.
- (On Sale) The Craft Collection, in partnership with Sur La Table, is specially designed for durability and efficiency on induction stovetops. Not to mention the pieces are designed to have up to 40% more cooking space then conventional designs.
- (On Sale) The Diamond + Evershine Collection on Surlatable happens to be made of upcycled stainless steel and won’t blister or peel when heated to temperatures of up to 850°F.
- (On Sale) The Valencia Pro Set is a popular choice and with superior induction technology that allows food to cook evenly while preventing warping at high heat.
Sale Alerts: Until 11/17 take another 25% off and save $87.50 on the 13-piece Valencia Pro Set set on Bloomindales (Free holiday shipping is also included). This deal is $41.58 cheaper than the 11-piece set available on Amazon!
Black Friday Early Deal: Sur La Table has launched an early Black Friday deal on select GreenPan's Diamond + Evershine items, up to 60% off. Be sure to take advantage Sur La Table's free shipping options on orders over $59. To see more of Sur La Table's Black Friday deals, see our guide to the Best Black Friday Cookware Deals for 2019.
A family owned Danish company, ScanPan has been manufacturing high-quality PFOA free nonstick cookware for over three decades. The latest nonstick cookware by Scanpan is made with Stratanium+, a nonstick surface made from a proprietary ceramic-titanium coating that is not only free of PFOA and PFOS, it can also handle metal untensils. ScanPan is also environmentally friendly, as they use 100% recycled pressure-cast aluminum in their cookware for better heat distribution and heat retention - reducing their carbon footprint.
Here two of our favorite ScanPan collections featuring their latest nontoxic and nonstick surfaces:
- (On Sale) The ScanPan CS+ collection on Sur La Table is not only stunning in appearance with its brushed stainless steel exterior, it boasts Stratanium+, the brand's commercial grade nonstick coating free of PFOA and PFOs. For home chefs looking to upgrade their kitchen, this cookware is ideal for browning, searing or deglazing.
- (On Sale) Get the polished stainless steel loook with the ScanPan HAPTIQ collection on Sur La Table. This cookware collection also boasts Scanpan's newest nontoxic nonstick ceramic based coating, Stratanium+.
Editor's Note: Previously we recommended the ScanPan Classic Collection. It happens to use an older generation of Scanpan's nonstick coating called Green Tek, but it's still a great set and at a lower price point.
5. Cuisinart Green Gourmet
Cuisinart's Green Gourmet line uses a ceramic-based non-stick surface called Ceramica, free of PTFE and PFOA. But that's not the only way that this cookware is helping you save the planet. It is designed to achieve better heat conductivity than other nonstick pans, helping you save energy as you cook, and recycled materials are used whenever possible, for example in the stainless steel handles of the cookware and in the packaging.
6. Ozeri Green Earth
Ozeri’s Green Earth pans are coated with a textured nonstick coating called Greblon, free of both PFOA and PTFE. This time-tested coating is ceramic based, scratch-resistant, and safe to cook with, and the honeycomb texture helps food release even more easily from the surface of the pan. Safe at temperatures up to 480 F, these pans are easy to use in the kitchen, no matter what sort of range you have – gas, electric, or induction.
In addition to its lime green line, Ozeri also produces a line of Stone Earth pans made with a chemical-free stone-derived nonstick coating.
GreenLife nonstick cookware is coated with Thermolon, which is more durable and safer to use at high heat than Teflon, not to mention safer to clean (occasionally!) with mild abrasives like baking soda. Free of lead, cadmium, PFOA, and PTFE, this cookware is much safer to cook with, both for the cook (it doesn't release toxic gases at high temperatures like Teflon does) and for the diner than traditional nonstick.
Ecolution lives up to its brand name with its Bliss line of non-toxic, nonstick cookware. This line features a durable, water-based ceramic coating that's PFOA and PTFE-free. It's also versatile: it can be used on induction ranges as well as gas and electric, and it's available in four colors – black, white, grey, and red – to suit your kitchen style. We also love the other eco-conscious nods made by this brand, including printing its packaging on 70 percent recycled material.
We frequently add or remove products based on our research. Let us know in the comments below of any brands you'd like us to look into or if you have new information on brands we feature.
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