How to Find Non-Toxic, Fluoride-Free Cookware
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In my private Facebook group on fluoride sensitivity, one of the most frequent questions that comes up is "what kind of cookware should I buy to ensure it is fluoride-free?"
Traditional non-stick cookware can contain toxic fluoride-based chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). If you are looking to upgrade your cookware collection, here are some options that do not contain fluoride.
Quality stainless steel pans are reliably fluoride-free if you avoid the kind with the non-stick coating. I picked up a few All-Clad pots and pans on sale over a decade ago after reading a glowing endorsement on the website of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Despite daily use, they look brand new.
Another positive attribute of stainless steel pans is they can also be used in the oven. Stainless steel baking sheets and trays are a safer alternative to aluminum cookie sheets. Given aluminum's affinity for fluoride, I do not recommend cookware that contains aluminum unless it is sealed within an exterior layer, such as with the All-Clad line.
Some people are concerned that stainless steel leaches contaminants other than fluoride, such as nickel, especially with longer cooking periods of acidic foods. If that is a concern for you, look for nickel-free pieces or keep reading for more non-toxic cookware options below.
Cast Iron and Enameled Cast Iron
Cast iron has a long history in cookware and is another choice that is reliably fluoride-free. Lodge is the most popular brand in the United States. Dubbed "America's original cookware," this family-owned business has been creating pots, pans, and other cast iron pieces since 1877. They are relatively inexpensive and can last for generations.
Enameled cast iron is another good option for fluoride-free cookware but some colors used in the outer enamel have been shown to contain lead and cadmium, particularly bold colors like red, orange, and yellow. Leading manufactures like Staub and Le Creuset in France ensure these contaminants are not on the interior of their pieces and therefore do not contact the food. But if this is still a concern for you, look for colors like Caribbean blue or dune that do not contain any lead, even on the exterior.
Clay Earthenware and Slow Cookers
Clay is a traditional cooking medium that has been widely used in the creation of non-toxic ovenware for hundreds of years. The lidded pieces seal in moisture and are excellent for roasting. I soak my clay baker in water for 30 minutes and then place it in the oven before it heats up. Romertopf makes a variety of high quality clay roasters at their workshop in Germany. For cooking with clay on the stove top, check out the clay flameware from Cook on Clay.
If slow-cookers are your thing, I highly recommend VitaClay multi-cookers. Conventional slow cookers have been shown to leach lead into the food because of the glaze used to seal the interior. VitaClay, however, is made of zisha clay, an organic raw material used in China for centuries to create fine teapots. Since zisha clay is naturally strong, it does not require a glaze which is why VitaClay slow cookers are consistently lead-free. They also cook in half the time of a traditional slow cooker and can be used to make things like rice, bone broth, and yogurt. *Use coupon code GALLICO10 for 10 percent off your VitaClay purchase.
Pyrex and Other Glass Cookware
Pyrex is a brand of non-toxic, fluoride-free glass bakeware that has been made in the United States since 1915. But by the end of the century, the manufacturer started using soda-lime glass to cut costs instead of the more thermal resistant borosilicate glass on which the Pyrex brand was founded. Since then, reports of injuries from exploding glass cookware have tarnished the Pyrex name.
Most people will not run into any problems using Pyrex cookware. The company also offers a lot of useful sets for food storage. But if you are haunted by visions of scalding shards of glass flying through your kitchen, avoid sudden extreme temperature changes (like putting a cold dish in a hot oven) or look for glass cookware that specifically states the pieces are made of borosilicate glass.
Simax and Arcuisine are two European companies that have solid reputations for quality borosilicate glass cookware. Corning, the birthplace of Pyrex, also makes a line of non-toxic borosilicate glass cookware called Visions that is safe for oven and stovetop use.
Porcelain, Stoneware, and Other Ceramic Cookware
Porcelain, stoneware, and other ceramics are all favorites in my kitchen. As with enameled cast iron, you need to do your research to ensure any glazes in the pieces you are using do not contain lead or cadmium.
French companies like Revol and Pillivuyt each have centuries of experience creating beautiful and non-toxic porcelain cookware. For stoneware, Pampered Chef is a popular choice. Ceramic bakers from Emile Henry are safe to use in the broiler even at temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Xtrema is a relatively new U.S. company that creates ceramic cookware safe for stovetop use. Their pieces are light, easy to clean, and completely free of lead, fluoride and contaminants found in other cookware products.
Perhaps the most economical option for non-toxic, fluoride-free cookware is GraniteWare. Founded in 1871, this U.S. company makes roasters, stock pots, cake pans, and more by fusing porcelain to a steel core at temperatures over 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Most pieces are still made in the United States.
Some cooks claim GraniteWare is too thin and chips easily which makes it unsafe to use if the chip is on the interior, but it is a solid choice for fluoride-free cookware on a budget. A 13-inch roasting dish costs under $20.