Cookware coated with synthetic, non-stick coatings may be cheap and easy to use, but many amateur and professional cooks are growing increasingly concerned about the damaging effects these coatings may have on your health. PTFE coatings (more commonly known by their brand name, Teflon) have been linked to a variety of dangerous diseases and can cause widespread environmental contamination.
If you are looking for a non-toxic alternative to conventional non-stick cookware, ceramic coated pots and pans are an excellent choice. However, not all ceramic-coated cookware is created equal, and choosing the wrong cookware can create more problems than it solves. If you are looking for non-toxic cookware, keep the following important guidelines in mind:
Choose A Trusted Brand
The coatings applied to high quality, ceramic coated cookware are made from silicon oxide, a naturally occurring mineral derived from sand and quartz. This material is chemically inert and will not introduce any toxic byproducts into your food, even when heated to very high temperatures.
To make sure your ceramic coated cookware doesn't contain any nasty surprises, you should always source your cookware from a trusted brand. Cookware manufactured in the USA is guaranteed to be safe, as there are strict FDA regulations preventing the use of toxic chemicals in ceramic coatings.
Avoid Ceramic Coated Aluminum
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the potentially dangerous health effects of aluminum exposure, but several studies have linked frequent aluminum exposure to Alzheimer's disease. If you choose a ceramic-coated aluminum pan, and the ceramic coating becomes scratched or worn, aluminum from the cookware's core may leech into your food.
To play it safe, you should avoid ceramic-coated aluminum cookware. Ceramic coated cast iron is a much safer choice and will also retain much more heat than most types of aluminum cookware. This makes ceramic coated cast iron cookware ideal for high-temperature cooking.
Look For Multi-Layered Ceramic Coatings
When high quality, ceramic coated cookware is manufactured, multiple layers of silicon oxide are applied to create the coating. The more layers used, the thicker the finished coating will be. Thicker coatings are more durable and also have more long-lasting non-stick properties.
Before you purchase a piece of ceramic coated cookware, check the product information guide to see if the ceramic coating is multi-layered. Cheaper cookware may only have a single, fragile layer of ceramic, so you should look for cookware with two or three layers of ceramic coating.