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The Skinny on Safe Cookware

The Skinny on Safe Cookware

Chances are that you know that aluminum and non-stick cookware have been deemed to be toxic. But what are the alternatives? In this post, I will update you on my research into what might be considered safe cookware. It turns out that what might be considered safe cookware is not so straightforward. And I have some unanswered questions, which I am hoping you, my readers, can help answer, and possibly even motivate companies to be more transparent and share the actual test reports of their cookware.

Safe Cookware: Stainless Steel Cookware

Stainless steel looks safe, and has earned a reputation as being safe. But how safe is it? Stainless Steel leaches chromium, nickel, and iron into food during cooking. While iron and chromium are essential nutrients for which stainless steel may be useful, nickel is not needed for our health.

This study determined that the amounts of chromium and nickel significantly increase with longer cooking times, with the use of new cookware, and with cooking tomato sauce. While generally these amounts are under the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, some people may have adverse reactions such as dermatitis even when the exposure amounts are under the established tolerable upper intake levels.

I use a big stainless steel pot for making beef bone broth that I cook for over 36 hours.   And I drink the broth almost daily. A recent heavy metal test, which shows how much if any heavy metals my body has accumulated over time, shows that I do have some nickel, but it is within the safe level.

Stainless Steel Cookware We Use

All-Clad. Pan and pots are made in the US. The accessories and tea kettles are made in China.

Safe Cookware: Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron leaches iron into food during cooking. Iron is an essential nutrient; however, in this case, you can get too much of a good thing: iron overdose is toxic. Like with stainless steel safe cookware, acidic foods, high moisture content, and long durations of cooking increase the release of iron significantly. Studies show that the amount of iron varies from 1.7 mg per 100 g to 26 mg per 100 g, while the upper intake level for pregnant women, those who need iron the most, is 27 mg. So if you cook tomato sauce for long period of time, it is possible to overdose on iron. There is an inexpensive blood test to take to determine your iron level. For more information, check my post here.

My recommendation is to use cast iron for pancakes, bacon and hamburgers, and frying eggs and hash browns. If you’re curious how well cast iron works for frying an egg, see my video, here. It works like a charm. I’m sure it has more uses, but we do not use it as a staple when cooking because of the iron content issue.

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Cast Iron Cookware We Use

Lodge. Made in the USA. We use it for frying eggs, hash browns, and making pancakes – things that I can’t do with other safe cookware.

Safe Cookware: Enameled Cast Iron

Le Creuset is a major producer of enamel-coated cast iron cookware. Le Creuset manufactures its cast iron cookware in France. I asked them what their enamel is made of. They informed me that the enamel contains nitrates, potash, agile, aluminate, bentonite, and clay. The enamels outside and inside are fired at 790 Celsius.  The melting point of metals is below that, which makes the enamel inert.

I also addressed my concern of lead and cadmium. Good news! La Creuset emailed me a letter confirming that their enameled cast products are tested to California Proposition 65 standards for lead and cadmium and are found to be in compliance.  The California Proposition 65 test is the most stringent test available to consumers.  It requires companies to have a warning label on products when the amounts of toxic substances they contain exceed certain levels. In this case, if more than 0.1 micrograms per milliliter of lead or 0.049 micrograms per milliliter of cadmium leached into a 4% acetic acid solution (which is the standard used for the Proposition 65 test), Le Creuset would have to attach a warning label.

Also, Le Creuset stated that there might be traces of lead or cadmium in the exterior enamel.  The two colors that do not contain any lead or cadmium are palm and dune. We own a red one, which I bought long before I started doing this research. If you own one already, keep it. But if you are in the market for a new dutch oven, go for palm or dune colors.


The Natural Baby Mama tested dune and palm colored Dutch ovens with XRF technology and found only trace amounts of lead or cadmium on the exterior and no lead or cadmium on the interior.  She also performed a leachable test on red, blue, and dune Le Creuset Dutch ovens by boiling tomato sauce in them.  She found only a concerning increase of cadmium in the dune colored Dutch oven (I say “increase” because the tomato sauce had lead and cadmium to begin with).  She did not perform a total lead XRF test on that particular Dutch oven.  Her Dutch oven was also used and scratched up.  So it is unclear where the cadmium came from, and the test result may have been influenced by a number of uncontrolled factors.

Furthermore, she found aluminum levels increased in tomato sauce in all Dutch ovens.  However, she does not know if the aluminum levels increased because the tomato sauce boiled down or because aluminum leached out of the enamel or because some other uncontrolled factor.  She is planning to perform further testing.

Safe Cookware: Slow Cookers

Slow cookers usually have ceramic inserts (unless you want to pay big, big bucks for commercial grade slow cookers). Ceramic slow cooker inserts may contain lead, either because lead is added or because it comes with raw materials used to make the ceramic cookware.

I talked to KitchenAid and they assured me their ceramic has very small amounts of lead – below the FDA’s limit – and that the protective glaze does not have any lead, which is re-assuring to some extent. They would not say how much and would not provide anything in writing. I keep heavy metals under scrutiny because they are bio-accumulative and persistent. In other words, once ingested, they accumulate and stay in the body for a long time.

We use Cuisinart’s slow cooker. Cuisinart assured me there is no lead or cadmium in their slow cooker inserts. However, they admit that they do not test for lead or cadmium because they know they do not add them, which did not sound very reassuring to me, because these metals are contaminants, and so the ceramic inserts may contain heavy metals. Also, Amazon has a link to Proposition 65, which means that the slower cooker might “contain[s] chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm if those products expose consumers to such chemicals above certain threshold levels.”

Cuisinart would not disclose what is in the glaze they use, which is not terribly confidence-inspiring.

Unfortunately, our slow cooker broke shortly after this research and I do not have a replacement for it yet. With what I know now, I am looking for a slow cooker manufacturer who can provide a copy of a test report that shows that the lead and cadmium levels are below those set by California Proposition 65. This is what you should be asking too if you are in the market for a slow cooker. Share in the comments what you have found.

Safe Cookware: Ceramic Cookware

Xtrema cookware makes ceramic cookware that they claim is free of lead and cadmium. It is the only ceramic cookware I know of that you can use on the stove top.

By the way,  Dr. Mercola sells the same cookware under his brand name.  His company representative sent me a list of ingredients, which include silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, sodium oxide, potassium oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, titanium dioxide, zirconium oxide, cobalt oxide, chrome oxide, nickel oxide, and lithium oxide.

Tamara Rubin of Lead Safe tested Xtrema with XRF technology (which measures the total amount of heavy metals, not leachable) and found some concerning results. You can read more about that on her website so you can make an informed decision.

Safe Cookware: Glass Cookware

Pyrex glass cookware is the major glassware brand made by World Kitchen. There are different types of glasses and Pyrex glass is a tempered soda lime glass. Before 1998, Pyrex was made of borosilicate glass by Corning. European Pyrex called Pyroflam is still made of borosilicate glass, which is more heat resistant. However, when it is dropped instead of breaking into pieces, it shatters into tiny particles.

I called and emailed Pyrex and, unfortunately, they do not disclose the materials with which their soda lime glass is made. They recommended searching on the Internet, which I did and my blog came up (which I found extremely illuminating) (just kidding, kind of).

According to Wikipedia, borosilicate Pyrex is composed of (as percentage of weight): 4.0% boron, 54.0% oxygen, 2.8% sodium, 1.1% aluminum, 37.7% silicon, and 0.3% potassium. And according to Wikipedia also, “soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as sodium carbonate (soda), lime, dolomite, silicon dioxide (silica), aluminium oxide (alumina), and small quantities of fining agents (e.g., sodium sulfate, sodium chloride) in a glass furnace at temperatures locally up to 1675 °C.”

As you might have noticed, both types of glasses contain small amounts of aluminum. I do not have much information on how much aluminum leaches into food. I found two studies here and here that pointed to the fact that aluminum can leach out into the content. I wish I could hear from the maker of Pyrex themselves about the composition of Pyrex glass and what I may be leaching.

In the meantime, I am not super concerned about the possibility of alumimum leaching. I have a feeling if there is any leaching, the amounts should be minimal. Unlike lead that has no safe amounts, our bodies can tolerate bigger amounts of aluminum before it becomes toxic. I have recently had a heavy metal test done and no aluminum was found in my body, while we use Pyrex all the time.

On the bright side, glass is not known to contain lead unless it is leaded crystal, which soda lime or borosilicate glass is not.  Some colored glass may contain trace amounts of lead so I would stick with clear glass.

All in all, considering the alternatives, I think glass is one of the safest cookware to use. It is considered the gold standard being inert.

Be careful when you use glass cookware though. After World Kitchen switched to making Pyrex with soda lime glass, there are reports of glass containers breaking. It is glass after all. Do not subject it to drastic temperature changes and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. We use Pyrex all the time – some we bought before 1998 and some after, and have not had many breakages. Knock wood.


Crystal glass or painted or colored glass may contain lead or cadmium. For example, Tamara Rubin tested a Pyrex measuring cup and found elevated levels of lead in the painted markings on the outside. Tamara also tested newer blue Ball mason jars and found some lead in them.  However, she found that Ball is the most consistently lead-free brand.  Thus, it is best to use clear plain glass without any painted features. Based on this, please find a list of glass products that I recommend.

Safe Cookware: Carbon Steel Cookware

Carbon steel is commonly used for woks.  There are virtually no studies done on the health effects of leaching elements from carbon steel. Carbon steel is an alloy consisting mainly of iron and small percentages of other elements such as carbon, manganese 1.65, silicon 0.60, copper 0.60. Copper and manganese are essential for good health in small doses, and silicon and carbon are part of our body compositions. Considering that carbon steel has small percentages of them, I do not think we should worry about them too much.

The main concern here is iron, which is essential to our health but can become toxic when the body is overloaded with it. But iron leaching is great if you have anemia. For more information on how much iron is too much, read my post here.  Unless you have hemochromatosis, I believe carbon steel is a good tool to use for stir frying.

In conclusion, while there are safe cookware options out there, there remain concerns and unanswered questions about each type of safe cookware. I recommend asking questions of manufacturers.  I believe that the more of us ask questions, the safer products we are going to get.  I have seen this happend.

You can find some healthy kitchen products in my IRLFY Shop.

The Skinny on Safe Cookware

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216 thoughts on “The Skinny on Safe Cookware”

  1. Have you considered carbon steel?
    Once seasoned it is nearly nonstick and withstands high heat.
    De buyer, Matfer Bourgeat and Mauviel are the top brands. All made in France for over a century. I am looking into these now to replace my Scanpans which I thought were a healthy nonstick option but really only solve part of the problem (no PFOA but still have PTFE and can’t take high heat).

  2. Ugh, this is so disheartening! We have a cozy place with a well laid out, but small, kitchen. Needless to say, we can’t have a different pot or pan for each item we cook. Often we wash out one we just used for the next item we cook. Plus the cost of all the different types is prohibitive! We need only a couple basic pieces that can cook multitudes of food items at the least risk. Any thoughts on that?

  3. Thank you for the info you’ve shared. Yes, I’d like to know more about Le Creuset, please. What about Visions glassware?

    1. Lucy: My name is Rich Bergstrom and I world for Coring for 23 years the makers of Vision glass-ceramic. This product is 100% non-toxic and safe but it is mainly used with liquids because glass is a reflector of heat and food really sticks to glass cookware. 🙂

  4. I’ve read in a Facebook group about Le Creuset having lead when a woman used her lead scanner on it. She has people send her things and she scans them. I’m trying to find it. She found some in old Pyrex too.

  5. I am definitely also interested in what might leach from le Creuset. It is the pot I use most often for soups and beans that need to cook for hours.

    As a functional medicine physician, I have been checking blood levels of heavy metals, which represents ongoing exposure to heavy metals. The most commonly elevated is mercury (maybe 25%), then a sprinkling of others, including aluminum, nickel, tin, cadmium, and lead, representing maybe another 20% of the patients I see. I am really happy to see these posts on cookware, because it’s one more question I can ask to figure out the source of someone’s exposure (the mercury is from fish given the way it’s tested for in this case).

    There is theoretically another risk as well, of accumulation, but that is more difficult to test for.

    1. Hello Myrto! My name is Renee and want to choose the best cooking tools for my child and her family because my child and grandchild have auto immune markers in their tests. I have read so many articles on this issue and it seems nothing is ever concrete and safe. Do you have any ideas on safe pots and pans, rice cooker, food storage containers? I remember as a child that cast iron pans were safe but today all seem to be harmful. I really appreciate your feedback!

  6. Have you ever tested Magnalite cookware? I have pots that have been passed down. They were made by Warner Ware Sidney and are outstanding for cooking, roasting, ect.

      1. Hi, Raquisa: I understand you sell SaladMaster cookware. You said in the email to me that it is made of 316 ti titanium stainless steel. I believe 316 stainless steel is the highest in nickel. Do you have the exact metal composition of the 16 ti titanium stainless steel? Thanks! ~Irina

  7. Dear Irina,
    This cookware thing is a bottomless pit, kind of like questions about water. Have you checked the link someone else sent, to Mercola’s cookware? You really owe it to yourself to do so. To me, it sounds like the closest thing to a clean product, and to openness of info I’ve seen anywhere.

    Also, I’ve seen in stainless water bottles, ones advertised that are very low in nickel. I wonder if the same might be true for stainless cookware. Stainless may leach, but it would be helpful to know to what degree. Your stainless link was just an abstract, and didn’t allow to see the full study. My own intuition is that stainless may be the lesser of a few evils, especially if made by a reputable company.

    As far as companies not provided you full disclosure, I think that’s a clear answer in and of itself. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t!
    Eliot Fiks NC

    1. Hi, Eliot, the second link in the same paragraph should have more information. I was actually on the phone with Mercola when I received your comment. By the way, their cookware is made in China for those who are concerned. They say that they test every batch but they do not have test results available yet. The glaze is made of minerals and metals including aluminum and titanium. But they say it does not matter because it is fired under very high temperature. I’m still working on understanding how that works. Do you know? Have you tried their cookware? What do you think? Yes, it is possible to find stainless steel low in nickel but then you will probably have a corrosion issue.

  8. We ordered Mercola’s cookware five years ago, which is xtrema cookware. After researching, it’s the safest that I could find but after 5 years it is starting to not hold up. It seems that over time, our cookware is becoming very brittle and I take good care of it. I am definitely interested in finding out more about safe cookware that’s durable.

  9. Dear Irina,
    How karmic that you were on the phone with Mercola 🙂 That’s disappointing. Both about being made in China, and the aluminum. I generally have great faith in Mercola, and respect him and what he does. I have not tried his cookware myself.

    You know people have been eating out of ceramic and cooking with it for thousands of years. I’m baffled how in this day and age, we can’t come up with some kind of ceramic or ceramic coated cookware that doesn’t have all this junk. And I’m curious if ancient ceramic cookware had these toxins.

    The thought occurs to me that perhaps we’re approaching this thing backwards. Sounds like we can’t trust Anybody in industry. I think we need to find a socially minded food chemist, or some other scientist, to give us the truth on this. Then we need to get someone to manufacture it for us! I read the story of how the owner of Eden Foods, singlehandedly forced the manufacture of bpa free cans, by telling his canners he would switch companies if they didn’t come up with one. I will check 2nd link on stainless. Thanks for pointing that out.
    Eliot Fiks NC

    1. Hi, Kathleen! Unfortunately, it seems that we as a country do not manufacture tea kettles. I currently use Xtrema tea kettle and I like it. However, it is made in China and I was told by others that in 5 years it will start falling apart. But the kettle looks beautiful and is free of lead and cadmium. As soon as I find something better, I will let you know.

    2. Are you familiar with the Staub 1 quart cast iron tea kettle made in France? What are your thoughts on it? Do you think the Extrema teapot is still the safer choice?

      1. It is a funny coincidence but I had learned about Staub just a few hours before you emailed me. I am looking into their product and will report back as soon as I know more. They do look promising.

  10. Thank you for this research. I have a few questions. First, I use stainless to cook my bone broth, what would you suggest I cook it in? Second, I bought the pura Kiki sippy for my daughter. Is that safe for her to be drinking out of all of the time? As it is stainless. Could it be leaching anything bad? Third, I have been looking for safe dishes to eat off of, do you know of any?

    1. Pura is a good company and they are almost the only company that shared their test results. I believe the contact with liquid is too short to worry about excessive leaching of nickel, chromium, or iron. To be on a safer side try not to store milk in there for a long time. Given the alternatives, I think stainless steel is okay for cooking broths. That’s what I have been using for broths too. However, I am hoping to find some better very soon. I am excited about this clay pot I ordered. These clay pots are made by hand in the US by a woman who could not find cookware that would be up to her standards. She guarantees that there is no lead or cadmium in her pots and she posts lab test results. I can’t wait to try and test her pots. I will report back as soon as I know. Stay tuned!

      1. Regarding broth, my current understanding is that it is best NOT to cook broth in stainless steel, due to the long cooking time and leaching of metal into the broth. Also, if you have any salt in the broth/soup, that increases the corrosion. I also read another article (similar to yours, examining safe options for cookware) in which the author said she ended up with a damaged high-quality stainless pot, because it corroded from cooking broth in it. Also, some recommend using a bit of apple cider vinegar when making broth, and that acidity increases the leaching (which is why that author had the corrosion issue, I suppose).

        1. I do not add any vinegar to my broth. Stainless steel is non-corrosive. She must have added a LOT of vinegar. Would you please share with me the article you are referring to? What do you cook your broth in? ~Irina

          1. Irina, no, I don’t believe she used a lot of vinegar. Usually the instructions for cooking broth in that way involve a splash, or maybe a Tbsp I think? (for a large pot of broth) I recall reading something from Sandrine Love at one point, where she stated that she called a cookware manufacturer and explained how she (and others in the Nourishing Traditions community) cook broth (long-simmered, with a splash of vinegar, etc). The broth is cooked 24 or more hours. The cookware company told her that yes, the metal would be more likely to leach in those conditions, and they didn’t recommend using their cookware for that. But the article I was referring to was one I read just before yours, by Rebecca Wood (it was on her site, but I believe the comment was in the comments section on one of her posts about cookware, not in the actual article, if I recall correctly). Sorry, I don’t have the actual link right this moment.

          2. Tara, I do not mean to accuse anybody of anything but as you browse the Internet, know that there is a lot of inaccurate information out there written either to generate sensation and thus traffic and/or promote products that they get paid commissions for. I tend to go straight to the source: scientific studies, independent tests, and medical community. Here is the program I have been working on for the past 3 months: that has all that. If you subscribe to my blog, you will receive one email a week with current developments: ~Irina

          3. And I’ve stopped cooking broth for a while. But if I were to cook some now, I’d probably cook it in my Staub dutch oven. And I’m comfortable with my Hamilton Beach crockpot (I saw you weren’t comfortable with crockpots, but after reading about it all for years, I’ve decided I’m okay with Hamilton Beach), so I might cook it in there alternatively. It’s a given that stainless leaches metal into food, so I prefer to avoid that. It’s also important to note that some people (due to certain genetic mutations, such as MTHFR) have a harder time detoxing metal from their bodies. Some might already have a higher toxic load (stored metal from throughout their lifetime). So some people might do better at eliminating any ingested metal from their bodies, whereas others might not do that so well. So that’s something to consider as well.

          4. Irina, I am certainly aware that there are those with other motives trying to garner attention. I haven’t gotten that vibe from the authors I mentioned. Rather they seem to be on the same quest as that which you were on in your own article here — to find safe cookware in which to cook food for ourselves and our families. I have observed that most health-related bloggers do have affiliate links for the products they recommend; but that is the same for the products you link to, right? I guess my conclusion has been that even within those looking at the research and trying to make a good decision regarding their cookware, I have seen disagreement; I have seen those who do not use stainless steel at all, those who use it but prefer to vary their cookware (not using the same thing everyday) so as to minimize any repeated exposure if something is potentially problematic, and those who see no problem at all with stainless and use it for everything.

          5. You are right, I have affiliate links (most of them to Amazon) and you are right that there are different opinions of the stainless steel cookware. That’s why it is important to educate yourself on what exactly leaches out of cookware, how much, what the alternatives are, what they leach, and what your body can tolerate and can’t. It sounds like you are on the right path. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Irina

  11. I am very interested on more information on the Le Creuset products and what exactly they contain in them. Another question in my mind would be when cooking products are manufactured, do any of the processes expose the material to other chemicals/metals that could be introduced through any type of heat or chemical process that is used to make them or could these processes alter their material makeup?

    Also interested in what you would recommend for a tea kettle… I currently use a stainless steel saucepan. I very much like the look of Mckensie Child’s tea kettles but highly doubt they are made anywhere but China and are anywhere on the “safer” side for options.

    I take it the Calphalon pans are one of the worst for cooking as far as safety goes? 🙁 (I have not researched any of this)

    What have you found about Pampered Chef’s stoneware?

    1. Hi, Lindsay! Unfortunately, it seems that we as a country do not manufacture tea kettles. I currently use Xtrema tea kettle and I like it. However, it is made in China and I was told by others that in 5 years it will start falling apart. But the kettle looks beautiful and is free of lead and cadmium. As soon as I find something better, I will let you know.

  12. In re to a slow cooker/rice cooker I just got a Vitaclay Amazon sells them as well. They use “organic clay” which, according to the company, is “free from know human toxins such as aluminum and lead. It can be used to make yogurt as well!

    1. Hi Olga, I had heard of them before and wanted to look into their products. Thank you for the reminder. I am trying to get in touch them to ask them my tough questions. And I will report back as soon as I know more.
      2/4/15 Just spoke with them. The products are made in China. The clay is mined in China too. The composition of the clay is proprietary. While there is a test report for lead and cadmium online, it is not clear if they test every batch…

  13. I too am interested in understanding the safest cookware options available to us. It seems now we have to pick the least offensive – it would be nice to know if something truly safe were available. Thanks for educating us. I thought I was doing ok with the stainless steel set we have & didn’t realize there are concerns there too. So disappointing…

    1. Sorry for the disappointment… The deeper I dig, the more bad news I discover. Just spoke with another promising product maker and it turned out the same answers – China and proprietary. But at least we know what the risks are so we can make more educated choices. Also, I believe the more of us know about potential risks, the safer products we will be able to demand and receive.

  14. I am very interested in this subject and want to know more. I will be looking forward to your experience with the clay pots and also any further information.
    Thank You for all the work you do to educate us.

  15. Dear Irina,
    Reading the newer posts, I’m more convinced than ever that my earlier suggestion is the only way to possibly get some satisfaction. That being, to find a socially minded food chemist or other similar scientist. Someone who has nothing to gain financially by lying, to tell us the real truth on all these options, and to then perhaps point us in the right direction as far as a completely safe cooking material. Otherwise we’re just shooting in the dark, and talking to people we have no reason to trust.

    I believe there are enough people like us, that if we discover the right material that’s safe, we could convince some manufacturer to make it for us.

    1. Eliot: Please check out our company called Ceramcor. We make the safest cookware in the world. 100% Pure ceramic which is free of extractable, lean, cadmium and metals. We also make all the cookware for Dr. Mercola and publish all the test reports on our website at Thank you Rich Bergstrom

  16. Hi Irina!
    First of all, thank you for your posts! Your site is very useful for me and my family!
    A couple of times in your post you mentioned that you don’t recommend the cookware for long period of cooking or for acidic foods like tomato sauce. What cookware do you recommend for this type of cooking?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Grace: thank you for stopping by. In my research, I concluded that every type of cookware may leach trace amounts of different substances. It is a matter of knowing which substances are leached and finding cookware appropriate for your family needs. For instance, if you are iron deficient, cooking acidic foods in cast iron can be a great option for you. I use Xtrema cookware for cooking acidic foods. Please read my post about it here. I learned that Xtrema is also also marketed under Mercola brand. I hope that helps. You can also schedule a consultation with me and I can help you make choices that are the best for your health, budget, and lifestyle.

  17. Hi Irina,

    All Le Creuset enamel on their cast iron products are now made up of vitreous enamel which is glass and mineral pigments. Then fired at high heat. There is no lead or nickel usdd in the cast iron.

    1. Thank you, Mark! That is what I thought. A lot of sites claim that the outer layer is made with lead that helps to maintain those vibrant colors they have. I did not have a chance to look into that yet. Did you ask them about that?

  18. Yes I did. Their cast iron is pure cast iron too, no messing about. So if the enamel ever chips it would still be safe to continue using the casserole pot.

    1. I spoke with Le Creuset’s customer service and was told that the only two colors that are certified lead-free on the exterior are palm and dune. All the other colors they said “could” have lead on the exterior. No lead on the interior of any. Personally though, I would rather use ones that have no lead anywhere on their surface inside or out. Even if they are not the pretty colors!

  19. Hi. Just wondering if you have any luck getting more clarity about the le creuset enamel coating? Is it safe? Thank you so much

    1. Hi Quinn: yes, thank you for asking! Here is what I received. “ENAMEL INGREDIENTS INCLUDE:
      Nitrates, Potash, Agile, Aluminate, Bentonite, and Clay.
      This enamel is extremely hard wearing and hygienic because the surface is smooth and easy to clean. It is permanently fused to its base metal as a relatively thin coating while the traditional properties of glass are retained. The coating is fused into metal. It will not absorb cooking flavors, will not stain easily, and very easy to clean. This enamel (porcelain coating) is resistant to acid or alkaline attack.
      LEACHING is the process of extracting minerals from a solid by dissolving them in a liquid, either in nature or through an industrial process.”

      “Be advised that only our EXTERIOR enameled surfaces on colors such as Flame and Cherry include trace of lead approx. 10 timers lower than acceptable), but pass the most stringent tests in the world California Prop 65. Our interior enamel does not contain lead and is perfectly safe for food contact. It’s the bright/bold colors that contain lead (it is necessary to create those brighter colors) – the interior cream color does not contain lead or cadmium. Lead and Cadmium are two elements under strict control in the cookware industry. Only our exterior enameled surfaces on colors such as flame orange and cherry red include trace elements of both lead and cadmium. Le Creuset uses Cadmium for coloration purposes (flame, red and yellows).
      This has never been used on the interior of our products. We do not use lead in our recipes and for cadmium we use special anti-frits which will not release the cadmium pigment during cooking. Our position today for the entire production process is to be in compliance with California Proposal 65 which is the most rigid standard in the world for these elements(approx. 10 times lower than “acceptable” limits). There is no lead in the Le Creuset enamel. Vitreous enamel is made from small glass silica chips.
      These are ground to a powder and mixed with specific color and water. Vitreous enamel is made by fusing the glass silica from which it is made to the base material. This firing (vitrified) at 1450 degrees F. produces a very hard glossy enamel, which is extremely hard wearing, hygienic and resistant to acid or alkaline attack. We do not have any PFOA & PTFE in anything we have.”

  20. Just purchased a Le Creuset – Square Skillet Grill last week (160$ – mamma mia!)
    I was interested in the enamel content and specifically, the Skillet Grill’s “Protective Satin Black Finish” which seems to be unique to this model.

    I’ve e-mailed Le Creuset a few questions and will post their reply if interesting.

      1. Here it is.
        Very disappointed to say the least.

        “Hello Dan,

        Be advised that the enamel consists of potash, agile, aluminate, bentonite, clay and water. It is more textured to allow the usage of a little higher heats for dishes such as blackening or etc. This is the same finish on any type of enamel coated cast iron or enamel on steel products.

        Mernice Savage
        Consumer Relations Dept.”

        Also, it might be worth noting – the day after cooking dinner with this skillet I woke up with an incredible headache. Aluminate is very dangerous. Can cause liver toxicity and contributes to neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimers).


        1. Hi Dan: I agree that generally aluminum is associated with a number of health concerns. In my experience aluminate is a common ingredient in lots other substances including clay. I think questions we should pose here are as follows. What are enamel coatings in other companies cookware made of? How much of aluminate leach into food? Does the body absorb that form of aluminum? And again, what are the safest cookware options? Since as detailed, in my post, there is nothing perfect. Thank you for your research. And please share any information you come across. ~Irina

          1. Irina,

            For the past 5 years I’ve studied the human gut microbiome, inflammation, and toxic metal absorption. What I can tell you is that individuals with dysbiosis (damaged gut flora) and/or intestinal inflammation absorb significant amounts of toxic metals whereas healthy individuals excrete the large majority via stool, urine, and sweat. This is not limited to aluminum but mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc. Does the body absorb aluminate? Absolutely but the amount absorbed completely depends on the individual person so it’s not a question easily answered.

            The high risk candidate is typically the individual with a long history of antibiotic use, has chronic GI symptoms, allergies, chronic infections, and skin conditions.

            This reply is somewhat out of scope here but I thought it was worth mentioning.
            I think your website is great, by the way.


          2. That makes sense. Thank you, Dan! What is your line of work? Are you going to return your cookware? What are you going to use instead? There are so many questions I have answered. I wish I could just have a lab where I could test products. ~Irina

          1. Pari,

            From their website – “CeramiCore™ has a solid Ceramic coating on an aluminum base”. You will have to contact them to get detailed information on their ceramic coating content.


  21. Irina,

    I work in Information Technology but have spent many years reading the biomedical literature and speaking with the dysbiotic community. Not sure what to do with my Le Creuset, it’s yours if you want test it. I’m currently using stainless steel cookware, which works well for me but Nickel is a concern as you’ve noted, especially with acidic foods. Cast Iron and Ceramic were on my list to try, still researching. Your post is helpful.


    1. Unfortunately, I do not have resources to test products. Maybe some day when more people express interest and would be willing to contribute money. 🙂 Thank for commenting, Dan! ~Irina

  22. Irina, thank you for all the research. I read all of your comments and links you provided and I am still confused what should we use to cook with? I was going to purchase Le Creuset. I thought there must be a reason that they are that pricy. but after reading your blog that they contain Aluminate, Im concerned why should I pay this much. I am wondering from last year to now if you were able to find out more about Le Creuset. If you think they are safe or not. Do you have a better alternative? is Ceramcor the safest you recommend? Thank you

    1. Hi Pari: This post was written not freak you out but take this information and manage your exposures accordingly. I have not found glass or ceramic that does not have aluminum. But again, the exposure to it much less than from aluminum pots. Plus, aluminum is not as toxic as lead. And let’s not forget that our bodies also have a built in detox mechanism. Yes, Ceramcor has alumina, too. I have not found any glass or ceramic that does not contain alumina. Thank you, Pari!

      1. Thank you Irina. I have a favor to ask. I contacted Le Creuset and asked what their enamel is contain of and same as what you said, its Nitrates, Potash Agile, Aluminate, Bentonite and clay. However then they mentioned but this is for the out side of the pot, not inside. I have asked for what is contained in the inside enamel and haven’t heard back yet. Would you also be able to also follow up with them about this. Thank you 🙂

        1. Could you give them a call again? I was under impression that Nitrates, Potash Agile, Aluminate, Bentonite and clay are for the inside because they talked about leaching into food. I can contact them probably not sooner than next week. ~Irina

  23. I found this discussion looking for info on whether clay pots were safe to GROW food in. Talk about opening a can of worms! I already switched to ceramic (no PFOA/PTFE) from nonstick, and got rid of aluminum pots long ago, but now I guess I’m just going to go RAW!

    1. Hi Tess, you are funny. 🙂 Consider this, even if go RAW, you still have to use dishes unless you eat out of your hands. 🙂 Anyway, we should not forget that toxins are pretty much everywhere but our bodies also have a built in detox mechanism. This post was written not freak you out but take this information and manage your exposures accordingly. Here is another worm out of a can. I have not found glass or ceramic that does not have aluminum. But again, the exposure to it much less than from aluminum pots. Plus, aluminum is not as toxic as lead. Thank you, Tess, for your comment!

  24. I have some Corningware pots/skillets, and my dishes are Corelle. So other than a little aluminum(!), they are OK?

  25. Have you researched or tried Mercola Healthy Chef Ceramic Cookware? Or Tramontina pro line heavy gauge aluminum pans? Please let me know of your opinions on these.

    1. Hi Julia: Yes, I have looked into Mercola ceramic cookware, which is also marketed as Xtrema. You can read more here. Even though it is the same cookware, Mercola is more open about the minerals that go into making it. I am in process of creating Detox Your Kitchen Guide that will have summary on cookware. Stay tuned. ~Irina

    1. Hi, Lyn: From reading the website’s information, it looks like Silit cookware is made of either stainless steel or aluminum and coated with ceramic, which is different from Xtrema, which is all ceramic. ~Irina

  26. Hi,
    I’ve read aluminum is linked to alzheimers and cancer, which is a major concern of mine, so when you mentioned all the cookware has some aluminum in it I’m definitely freaked out! Can you recommend a cookware that’s non toxic, natural, and no aluminum in it?

    I’m exhausted from researching the safety of all the cookware out there and coming up with nothing….no elements at least of unhealthy kind!


    1. Do not freak out! I recently had a heavy metal test done and out of 20 metals only lead and mercury were elevated. Aluminum was fine. Yes, I am updating this blog post with new information. I am more concerned about lead than aluminum. Aluminum is not like lead where even trace amounts are harmful. ~Irina

      1. Irina,

        There does not exist a test currently that can accurately determine a total body burden of toxic metals.
        Hair/Mineral analysis is likely the best, but not perfect. I’m interested in what test you used specifically.
        I disagree with your aluminum comment, very dangerous.


        1. Dan: It is a urine test, where you measure baseline of metals first, then take a chelator called DMSA and collect urine within 6 hours to see how much metals you are shedding. What cookware/dishware do you use? ~Irina

  27. Hi, I didn’t read all the comments so apologies if I’m repeating someone, but recently I purchased a casserole dish from Emile Henry. I did A LOT of research and felt pretty confidant in my choice. So I’m both suggesting the brand to you, just in case you hadn’t come across it and also wondering if you did come across it, and you know something I don’t . . . in which case I would love to know if I need to stop using it.

    1. Hi Rachel: yes – I have looked into Emile Henry and we own one of their pieces. From what I read on their website, everything looks good. I like the fact that their lead and cadmium levels are below California Prop. 65. I just wished they talked to me. I emailed them and received no response; and then I called them, and they said they will get back to me, which they did not. Why do not you contact them and ask them to share with you their test report for lead and cadmium? The more of us ask questions, the better response we will get eventually. ~Irina

        1. Irina, Rachel — Did either of you get an update on what sounds like a promising product? I’d love to hear . Thank you!

          1. Unfortunately, I have not heard back from Emile Henry. Tandy, could you try to contact them and see if you have a better luck. Two questions to ask if they can disclose specific levels of lead and cadmium and they can show a copy of the Prop. 65 test reports. Thank you!

          2. Hi Tandy, I went through my local chef supply store, and they contacted the company. Apparently their products are not only comply with Prop 65, they exceed them, free of lead and cadmium. So I went ahead and purchased. Going through the store was hilarious though, I handed the owner my list of questions/concerns and then you see the employees huddled by the computer and on the phone. Even they seemed surprised/relieved when they were able to confirm. I have a feeling that’s going to be worked into the pitch as a selling feature.

  28. Hi,
    I’m wondering if you have looked into the possibility of your drinking bone broth regularly as the cause for your elevated lead levels? I have read some unfortunate information about bone broth containing high lead levels but haven’t tested anything myself.

    1. Hi Jen: That’s definitely a possibility. Lead is a common soil contaminant and thus it can end up in our food. To know for sure, I would need to send a sample of beed broth to a lab. My doctor says that she finds lead in most people; it just a matter of how much. Have you seen a new book from Health Ranger? ~Irina

  29. Ceramic pots contain ANTIMONY which is considered toxic. I tested very high with Antimony and no longer use CERAMIC cookware or crockpots. I believe it’s in the glaze, when I did some extensive research on where I got this flame retardant chemical, usually when testing high in someone was found in industrial type workers (I’m a stay-at-home mom). It is also in plastic water bottles. Anything acidic accelerates the breaking down of antimony, which in large enough amounts can lead to illness, hormone disruption, and even deaths gave occurred. Even water bottles left in a hot car, or even just water left for a long period of time in plastic, without heat, can leach Antomony into the water, in the bottle. Think plastic bottles sitting on a Supermarket shelves with acidic juice. I no longer put lemon into a plastic water bottle or drink any juice from plastic. For me, I only store food in, or drink from glass. I only use stainless steel pots for my soups and bone broths (sitting and heating for hours in CERAMIC in an acidic base to leach minerals from the bones), so they don’t leach the harmful Antimony and any other toxins from the ceramic.

    1. Hi Vicki: how did you figure out that ceramic pots contain antimony? I’ve had a heavy metal test done recently and had no antimony found in my body. ~Irina

    2. Richard Bergstrom

      Vicki: Thanks for the information but we are a ceramic cookware manufacturer and we have never used Antimony in the manufacturing of our clay or ceramic glaze. I have never head of our competitors using that mineral either. There would be no reason to use that mineral for our Xtrema cookware.
      Here are our 3rd party scientific lab testing results for the last 10 years.

    1. Hi Ginny, the surface is made of porcelain enamel, which means that there might be traces of lead or cadmium in it. It is best to find out if this products complies with Prop. 65 limits. I use stainless steel cookie sheets such as this one. ~Irina

  30. I researched Antimony for hours and hours, for days, and it was listed as being used in ceramic (I think it was the glaze, not 100% sure), as well as plastic, and flame retardants. There was one article I read about death(s) from homemade lemonade sitting in a very large ceramic, glazed, container, overnight, to serve to a group the next day. Several people got very sick, went to the hospital, and at least one died. It was deemed Antimony as the cause. What stood out in my research, for my personal and family’s exposure, was I was using a standard ceramic crockpot for leaching minerals from bones to make nutrient-dense bone broths, for me and my family, quite a lot, making soups with ceramic coated cookware, which i got rid of, as well as lemons in plastic water bottles. I stopped doing all of this promptly. I would have to go back through my research to get links. If you don’t have any levels showing from your test i wouldn’t worry about it too much. I was just so surprised when my blood and urine test came back showing a high level (with lower levels of Arsenic and Lead, which usually accompany the Antimony and is quite common to see them in lower levels with Antimony because it usually shows up with the Antimony). I started looking it up as it is in flame-retardants (think pajamas being treated with flame retardants that contain Antimony) and has industrial uses in construction, and that the majority of people were construction workers or industrial type workers that show contamination of levels of this toxin, and here is me a stay-at-home mom with a very high level of antimony. So, I was trying to get to the culprit and change whatever was happening in my daily lifestyle, so my level would go down and i would not be continuously re-exposing myself, while detoxing. Which worked. It was really hard to find anything on antimony… so much research out there on so many other toxins, like Mercury, but antimony was much more obscure to locate. I’ll see if I can post some links on it. Vicki

  31. Hello Irina, thank you for your post. I am glad to have someone to turn to for research info and discussion.
    Have you heard that World Kitchen has brought back the original CorningWare Stovetop cookware made of pyroceram, the original glass formula, which is harder than steel and so resistant to thermal shock that it was used in the nosecones of rockets and anti-aircraft missiles? They can be used on stove tops and go from freezer to oven. The same is true for another original CorningWare line called Visions which is made of the same material but is transparent instead of white because of different tempering temperatures and durations. I was all set to purchase a lot of the white stovetop cookware before a paragraph in Wikipedia caught my attention:
    “In 2009, the stovetop line of CorningWare was reintroduced by World Kitchen. The cookware is manufactured by Keraglass/Eurokera in Bagneaux-Sur-Loing, France. This is the only factory in the world still manufacturing vitroceramics (aluminosilicate glass) for cookware. At the time it restarted the production of CorningWare, Keraglass/Eurokera was able to abandon the use of arsenic in the manufacture of their vitroceramics, thanks to the modern technology of their newly built oven.”
    Upon further research, I realized that arsenic had been historically used as a fining/clarification agent to reduce the bubbles in glass. I was not able to find any further info to confirm that World Kitchen had indeed stopped using arsenic. The only thing I found was an old 1982 EPA report listing CorningWare as one of the 15 factories in the U.S. still using arsenic.
    I also noticed that pyroceramic is aluminosilicate. Many websites define aluminosilicate as aluminum oxide (alumina) and silicon oxide (silica), while Wikipedia says it’s mineral composed of aluminum, silicon and oxygen. I am unable to find any info explaining how the high temperature tempering of glass may or may not render aluminum inert or so bonded together that it becomes “unleachable”.
    In one of the Q&A section on the product page of “Visions 5L Dutch Oven”, the staff wrote that, “our testing confirms that Visions® products comply with all applicable federal and state safety regulations, including those relating to lead and other heavy metals content.” But it didn’t say if it was in compliance with California’s Proposition 65. And I am not sure if Prop 65 monitors only lead and cadmium or if it extends to arsenic and aluminum as well.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, Irina.

    1. Hi, there! I was unable to find any definite information as to whether aluminum leaches out of glass. In the post, I linked to a study that shows that aluminum may leach… However, I stopped worrying about that because we have to consider alternatives. Also, I got piece of mind by taking a toxic metal test, which did not show aluminum in my body. As for Prop. 65, aluminum is not included in it. Arsenic, cadmium, and lead are. Here is a full list. Keep in touch! Thank you! ~Irina

    2. Richard Bergstrom

      JW Madison: You know you Corning Ware. I worked for Corning to 23 years and it was a great company but the product was make of pyro-cream which is a glass ceramic and glass I poor conductor of heat so in the 90’s Corning and Vision sales lost their luster and business was sold. Corning Ware is now made in a small factory in France and it mostly sold to the Asian countries because they do a lot of cooking with water on the stove. Corning Ware onto of the stove perform poorly and that it why is failed to be made in the USA. I just didn’t perform that well. The product is durable and it does not leach any metals or any toxins. I have had 3 party labs test the new product and it passes every test. Visions passes the test too. 100% safe but it is glass cookware. Like I said it use to be a great company but they sold the company in the late 1990’s. That is why my new company makes ceramic cookware that performs better than metal cookware and Corning Ware and Visions. – Rich Bergstrom Email me at [email protected]

  32. Have you looked into Chantal cookware? It is made in Germany and imported through California. They use enamel coated carbon steel. It is pricey but Bed Bath and Beyond sells it, so you can use the 20% coupon and get free replacement if the enamel ever chips.

  33. Someone asked about the Visions glass Cookware. We have a large amount of the original brown glass version from the 1970s. It was recommended to us as the least toxic cookware. We have used it for quite a few years, including to make a lot of bone broth that we cooked for 2-3 days.
    About a year ago, two in our family (the two who ate the most from the glass pots) came up with heavy metal poisoning from nickel. One of the two was quite sick. A lot of tests were done on our water and other things in our environment to find the source but nothing came up as an obvious source for numbers so high. (Son had 17 times normal nickel levels). We decided to test the Visions cookware. We used a place called Chem-Tech Labs in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. We submitted samples of our tap water and the same tap water that we boiled for varying lengths of time in three of our Visions pots and pans. In all cases, the water boiled in the Visions cookware had higher nickel than the original tap water. This includes one sample boiled only a couple minutes.
    We were told to find a toxicologist to help us interpret what the health effects could be from the elevated nickel in the water from the Visions cookware. We didn’t do so as we had already spent a lot on the tests. Instead, we stopped using the Visions cookware one year ago. Detox began in earnest after that and one person in the family was pretty sick for months as the nickel got out. Slowly, the family members have gotten better.
    We don’t know if all the nickel exposure came from using the vintage Visions pots and pans, but are confident a significant amount did. If anyone has more information about the possibility of nickel in these pots and pans, or experienced nickel poisoning symptoms after using them, I’d love to know about it.

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find anyone to tell us if the higher amounts in the pots could cause the high levels of nickel accumulation

    1. Patsy, thank you for sharing this and spreading the word. I am sorry you had to go through this awful experience. I hope we can get more answers for you. What were your symptoms? It would be helpful for us to know when to look into heavy metals or nickel poisoning. Thank you!

      1. Elevated liver enzymes, weakness, nausea, insomnia, numbness, headache, severe diarrhea, malaise. brain fog. It was a long road back.

    2. The composition of glass used for visions cookware as listed on wikipedia is:

      68.2% is Silica Sand (SiO2)
      19.2% is Dialuminum Oxide (Al2O3)
      2.8% Lithium Oxide (Li2O)
      1.8% Magnesium Oxide (MgO)
      1.0% Zinc Oxide (ZnO)
      0.75% Barium Oxide (BaO)
      2.7% Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)
      1.75% Zirconium Dioxide (ZrO2)
      0.9% Diarsenic Trioxide (As2O3)
      Plus additional oxides and colorants depending on the product line being produced.

      The above list DOES NOT include Nickel or its oxide as a constituent. However, it may be helpful to find out if additional metal oxides were added to give the amber/brown color to visions cookware produced in 1980s and 1990s.

      1. The items used as colorants in the original Vision cookware created in France was Neodymium oxide and Vanadium oxide in extremely small amounts (0.002-0.005% Vanadium for example). While the oxides used to achieve the amber tint have changed a few times, Nickel is NOT and never has been a constituent in creating Visions cookware. Stainless Steel leaches nickel and chromium, but Visions does not. Metal marks could be transferred onto the surface if Visons was stored among metal cookware or scrubbed with metal scouring pads, however.

        It’s also important to note that patents going back to the 1960’s, before Visions was a retail product, also indicate that the transparent Pyroceram that Visions is made out of has a real world porosity of zero.

      1. Hi, Helen: It seems that all roads lead this one study: The study tests organic chicken but I do not see any mention whether they were pasture-raised. Lead in animal bones is definitely possible as this study shows but it would depend if the animals’ food, air, and soil were contaminated with lead. I am so curious to see if there are any other tests of bone broth. I might do one myself. Who is interested in results? ~Irina

          1. Irina, can’t lead be stored in tissues of the body? In other words, is a blood test conclusive evidence that lead isn’t being stored in your body? Could it be in bone, brain, other tissues? While feeding a child (as I am), especially, it is an important question.

          2. Tara:

            This is a longer conversation that I am more than happy to have on a phone. The point is there are different tests to determine whether you have ongoing current exposure and what your body burden (stored amount) is. Since writing this post and some comments that you read, a lot has happened. Again in a conversation, I can update you. ~Irina

  34. Hi Irina,
    After reading this blog and everyone’s comments, what should we be cooking with? Is LeCreuset stoneware ok? Are stainless steel crock pots ok? Cast iron is not an option for my family because we have some members with hemochromotosis (high iron/ feritin levels). Please advise…I don’t know what to buy.

    1. Hi, Sharon: the purpose of this blog post was to detail the most common materials cookware is made of. I wish I could just tell you what you should buy but it depends on your health. For instance, we use and love cast iron but for you, it might not be an option. I see you bought my e-book, email me if you have questions after you read it. Thank you, Sharon. And sorry for the confusion. ~Irina

  35. From my research last year:
    Companies who do not use lead or cadmium in materials to make dishes or in the glaze: HF Coors, Bennington Potters, Emerson Creek Pottery and Corelle (Note: Corelle, double check if the pattern has color.)
    Watch for lead & cadmium free labels where just the glaze is “safe”. This includes CA Prop 65 “safe” that are only safe until the protective glaze is cut or cracked. Selecting glaze and clay with no lead or cadmium prevents leaching with ongoing use.
    The testing tool that analyzes metals used is a XRF scientific tool.
    Wonderful site. Great information. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Sandy! Most companies now do not use lead or cadmium to make ceramic dishes. However, lead and cadmium are contaminants. I believe that the best would be to test yourself with an XRF tool or ask if the companies test their products to CA Prop. 65 acid test. Have asked if HF Coors, Bennington Potters, Emerson Creek Pottery, and Corelle test their products to CA Prop. 65 test? I believe Corelle does. ~Irina

  36. Lodge is actually made in China. I was disappointed to find this out. I will be going with le creuset enameled cast iron In palm as they have discontinued the color dune. Le crueset enameled cast iron is made in France but watch out for some of their other products -stoneware, dishes are made in China I believe.

  37. Hi Irina, first thank you for you hard work on researching these cookwares. I read labels on everything so I know how much time it can take…
    I bought a Lagostina White enameled cast iron casserole last week.
    It is made in china, but Lagostina states in guarantee card that enamel is completely free of cadmium and lead. I also emailed lagostina yesterday with question if they can tell me what exactly is in their enamel…Still waiting for response… Will write an update if I hear from them…Have you heard or know about the brand?

  38. Hi Irina, so I was previously writing to – Haven’t heard from them yet but today I wrote to Lagostina USA with the same question about enamel and also added your question about prop.65. I already got a reply from Group SEB who bought Lagostina in 2004. They replied that they don’t have safety data sheets available about materials used. So I will try to dig some more on this. But they wrote that they do comply with prop.65.

    1. Good to know. Thank you for sharing with us, Filip! Lots of companies state that they comply with Prop. 65 but very few are willing to show Prop. 65 test reports. ~Irina

  39. No problemo…Yes I agree with you Irina. US government also says they comply with privacy laws and aren’t spying on everyone without a reason.

    UPDATE: I got a response from Lagostina Canada, they were more cooperative, this is what they replied:

    “To whom it may concern,

    Porcelain enamel cookware is made by taking porcelain and melting it onto cast iron. The process used to fuse the two materials together turns the porcelain into an integral component of the cookware rather than merely a “coating.” The enamel is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C (1,380 and 1,560 °F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, or on glass or ceramics. All of the Lagostina products meet the very strict standards set by California (Prop 65) which has the toughest regulation in North America regarding lead and other materials.”

    So just like you wrote – they didn’t show me any test results or safety data sheet of chemicals used like I wanted but I think Lagostina Enameled cast iron is OK. Not more toxic than Le Creuset anyway. But next time I am buying Le Creuset when I see a good discount in outlet store. They have more information available about their materials and I don’t feel like they are hiding something even though I was little disappointed when I found out on your blog that they use lead just to make their colored enamels. However I don’t know about better enameled cookware than Le Creuset. And after a long researching I myself too came to the same conclusion like you about what is safest for cooking. Good to know someone shares the same opinion. 🙂

    1. Hi, Filip: thank you so much! You have no idea how much I appreciate your research and sharing it. I believe that the more of us ask these questions, the more information they will start disclosing to us. I am currently in a process of signing an NDA so a company will disclose their test reports. It is a cosmetics/skin care company. Thank you again, Filip! ~Irina

  40. Hello, I am looking into the Instant Pot on Amazon for mother’s day, does it look safe to you? It says the inside cooking pot is made of 18/8 stainless steel from food grade 304. Thank you so much!

  41. Looks good! I need a steamer to cook my vegetables for baby food and came across HomiChef nickel-free stainless steel steamer insert and pots, do they look safe to you?

    1. Hmm.. It does look good. I always like to ask what a substitute is. So I emailed them and asked about metal composition of their nickel-free stainless steel? I forgot to ask where the cookware is made. Do you know? Thanks! ~Irina

  42. Hi, I emailed them and this is what they said: Our manufacturing facilities are in Korea and China. Did you get anything back from them?

    1. Yes, they said their manufacturing facilities are located in Korea and China. And this is the composition of their stainless steel they provided: 21% Cr, 0.3% Ti, 0% Ni and 0% Mo, 0.008% C, 0.4% Cu and the rest composition is Fe. There is a little bit of 0.4% copper in it. They gave me the composition after several attempts to answer my question incompletely. They did not instill a lot of confidence in me to buy their products. What do you think? ~Irina

    1. I was approached by a direct sales representative and she was unable to provide me with any information about the metal composition or even if it is a type of stainless steel. ~Irina

  43. Hi Irina, I agree about not having confidence in the company as well as they were very vague and took multiple attempts to answer me as too. I am not sure about it as it is so hard to find safe cookware. I just want a safe steamer and pot to steam my baby’s food!

  44. I have an IMUSA pot made out of cast aluminum, have you come across the safety or toxicity of cast aluminum in your research findings?

    1. Hi, Cynthia: generally stoneware would have the same concern of lead as ceramics. Would you like to contact Pampered Chef and ask them if they tested their stoneware with California Prop. 65 test? Thank you. ~Irina

  45. Please note and consider editing your post based on the following:
    1. Not all glass is lead or cadmium free. The colored glasses such as blue Ball glass jars have tested positive for trace lead and cadmium. However, the colorless jars tested negative and therefore safe.
    2. Mercola’s xtrema pan also tested positive for lead (on the outside, but it has the potential of touching other dishes in the sink, or your hand, etc).
    3. Le Creuset enameled cast iron tested positive for aluminum, cadmium leaching.

    1. Hi, Nancy: The information is scattered around a bit on the both websites. But this is what I understand from reading multiple articles from the both websites. First of all, it is important to note that Le Creuset makes ceramic and enameled cast iron cookware. Le Creuset ceramics have been tested positive for heavy metals on the inside and outside. I had seen that before and I do not recommend any ceramic Le Creuset cookware. The red enameled cast iron Le Creuset dutch oven has been tested positive for heavy metals on the outside but we already know that. The Natural Baby Mama has a leaching test with tomato sauce. And she is puzzled by the results and planning to do more testing. I agree with her that after boiling tomato sauce it boils down, thus, becomes more concentrated, and therefore, increase in metals can result from that. Anyway, thank you for bringing all this information to my attention. I will modify my posts accordingly. ~Irina

    2. Nancy:

      My name is Rich Bergstrom and I make the cookware for Dr. Mercola. That is a false statement about lead on the out side of Dr. Mercola’s cookware and that is how rumors start. The 1″ label on the bottom of the cookware was tested and that label might have contained a trace amount of lead but that pan was used and not brand new so the test results would have been compromised. The test was not in accordance with California Prop 65 standards which is the gold standard for lead testing in the USA. Please visit our test results: You can also e-mail me at [email protected]

      1. Richard,

        I know this post is kind of old so I don’t exactly expect you to respond. I just felt the need to point out how wrong your statement is.

        “The 1″ label on the bottom of the cookware was tested and that label might have contained a trace amount of lead but that pan was used and not brand new so the test results would have been compromised.” – these are your words, not mine.

        Now, you do realize that we, as consumers are planning to use these very expensive pots and pans you sell, not pay a lot of money just to keep them brand new in the cupboard, right?
        So your statement that the tests some of YOUR customers have conducted themselves on their own pots and pans bought from YOUR webstore have been compromised because said tests were conducted on old, used pots is highly irrelevant. The test of time IS very relevant.
        I, as a consumer, don’t give a rat’s tail about California Prop 65 and FDA or EU standards and tests conducted on only brand new pots and pans that pass these standards. I will much much rather trust a commoner’s, consumer, customer of yours that was smart enough to test these very expensive products by themselves. I have found more than just one review regarding your pots and pans having high amounts of lead (not just trace amounts) not just on the suspected bottom label, but on the inside as well. I have also read all your posts on Tamara Rubin’s blog and you went from being very open about the tests to being defensive and even attack other brands or products made from metals in the span of a few weeks.
        I don’t want to offend you in anyway, that is definitely not my intention. I actually believe that your products are safer than others available on the market. But are they completely, 100%, safe? I don’t believe they are, because they have high amounts of lead and other heavy metals in they composition, be it even just on that label. The bottom of that pan will come in contact with other items in my kitchen and also with my hands, so trace amounts of lead will be everywhere, and with time and use it will also leach into the food. So, it also fails THE TEST OF TIME.
        Would I buy these products or recommend others to do so? NO
        Not until you find a way to eliminate lead, cadmium, and other heavy metals from your products.

        Many of your consumers on Tamara’s blog have asked you to also do an XRF test and you said you will try to but failed to provide such test with it’s results and kept “attacking” such a test as not being relevant because your products have past the California Prop 65 and FDA standards and tests. And we do appreciate taking the time and money to conduct such tests again and try to prove to us that your BRAND NEW products are SAFE (which they’re not apparently, not even brand new). But why can’t you also do a XRF test and prove us that there is no lead and cadmium in them? As long as the test is done by a trained and reliable source that knows how to do such tests I, for one, wouldn’t really care if it’s a test approved or demanded by California Prop 65 and FDA. It’s demanded by us, your customers and potential customers.
        So, DO IT! Prove us your products are lead free, as you claim, and do a XRF test as well. Prove us wrong and I will buy at least one of your pots the next day and recommend it to all my friends.

        On a side note…
        I was really excited when I found out about Xtrema 100% ceramic pots and pans as I am currently looking for safer options to use in my kitchen daily. And although I live in UK and they are not easy to find here without also paying crazy import fees (they are 150 british pounds on Amazon, which means 204 US dollars and that’s crazy. I’m sure they are not this expensive in US). Nonetheless, I was ready to invest in these products as so many other reviews speak highly about them and how great they are. But then, I did some more research because I wanted to make sure they are worthed the high price and to my disappointment I came across Tamara’s blog, where I found out they are not as great as they are claimed to be.
        So I’m sorry but for now I’m not going to buy the pots you make and I’m not going to recommend others to do it either.

        Keep up your work in this business, extend your research further and come up with another formula and you’ll gain more and more customers.

        Thank you for your time,

  46. Hi, My name is Rich Bergstrom and I am the founder of Ceramcor which makes Xtrema and Dr. Mercola’s “Pure” ceramic cookware. Our cookware is 100% ceramic and there is no metal in our ceramic cookware. People do not understand the difference between metal oxides and metal. Oxides contain oxygen and they are not metals. Every glaze on every product made in the world from kitchen appliances to cars to cookware which is glazed contains metal oxides. The small 1″ label on the bottom of our cookware is used to identify the product. This label is never in contact with the food. Our cookware, has been tested for 13 years under the California Prop 65 guideline’s and the FDA guidelines for lead and cadmium and the Xtrema and Dr. Mercola ceramic cookware have passed every test every time. Here are our testing results: Metal cookware and non-stick ceramic metal cookware present more of a toxicity problems than ceramic cookware. There are doctor’s all over the world who are concerned about metal toxicity pollution and their cause of illnesses. There are no standards for testing metal cookware – Why? How come most of the bloggers and people who read these blogs allow the metal cookware companies to get a free pass on the leaching of metal from their cookware. That is the story that has to be told. Cast Iron Cookware is the worst for toxicity. The iron that is leached from cast iron is not bioavailable which means it has no benefit to the human body at the cellular level and it can cause all kinds of medical problems. Aluminum cookware is just as bad if not worse. The manufacturing of metal is toxic and causes pollution but the manufacturing of ceramic does not. Our ceramic product is green. We make our cookware in China because no manufacturer in the USA could make our cookware. China has and 8,000 year history in making ceramics. The USA has a 150 year history and only 5 factories that still exist. Why do people dislike China so much when 22 million Chinese fought along side of the Americans in World War II and died for our freedom too. The God who created us all is not just a God for Americans, he is a God of all the people throughout the entire world. Here is our website Here is my e-mail address: [email protected] Please e-mail with any questions that you might have. We believe in full disclosure and full accountability. The very best to you all – Rich

    1. It’s not about disliking China or the Chinese people. That’s a really weird point to make (although it’s true many Americans prefer to support the economy of their own country by buying completely made in America products). It’s that certain parts of China are INCREDIBLY polluted (even the soil is too contaminated to be fit for agriculture in a lot of supposedly arable land). The air itself near Chinese cities is smog ridden and those areas show very high incidence of lung cancer.

      Moreover, many Chinese products, in electronics and otherwise have taken shortcuts for price. In supplements, it’s well known that many of their products are contaminated with heavy metals. China has very loose environmental and safety standards relative to Europe or even the US.

      It’s possible to have safe, great and clean products from China but there would need to be tremendous testing on every batch to ensure it. This IS done and some supplement companies with ingredients from China are proven to be safe. However, if you buy a random supplement from Spain and a random one from China, the Chinese one is more likely to be contaminated on average. For electronics, again, many companies such as Apple have proven that great and eco-conscious products can come from China but there needs to be a lot of oversight. It isn’t just a random Chinese product. As a rule, unless I see independent third party testing over several years for a supplement, I don’t select those made in China.

  47. Hi! I was wondering if you had any update on slow cookers? I’ve been trying to figure out what to buy but it feels pretty overwhelming!

      1. Thanks, Irina! I’ve been looking at the Instant Pot for a while but I think I’m still really intimidated by pressure cooking! I’ll keep this in mind!

  48. Irina: I just wanted to chime in here. Slow cookers that use a metal inserts should be avoided because the metal that is used for these inserts can leach, iron, aluminum , nickel and chromium. Metal toxicity is getting worse each and every year in the USA and metal cookware is a big contributor of that. I wish we made an Xtrema “Pure” ceramic slow cooker but the liability for electric appliances in this country would make the cost too high for the consumer. We recommend that consumers buy our 5.5Qt or 10 Qt. Xtrema pots and use them on a slow cooking electric burner. There is no other product that I could safely recommend.
    PS: All new testing reports will be published on our website by the end of July and so far we have passed every test proving that our ceramic cookware does not contain extractable heavy toxic metals. Rich Bergstrom the founder of Xtrema cookware – http://www.xtrema.com

    1. Hi, All: I think to know for sure how cookware affects you is to test for metals in your own body and devise a plan based on your body burden and current exposure. ~Irina

  49. Irina: I agree with you 100% and there are several blood and urine tests that your healthcare provider can prescribe for you to determine if there is any heavy metal in your blood or bones. The best physician is you and you know your body better than anybody else. The very best to you – Rich Bergstrom

  50. Hi Irons, what are your thoughts on using maxam triply t304, does the t304 turn you off due to the nickel content or would u trust that? Even if u are not familiar with the brand madam, what are your thoughts on tri-ply t304 stainless steel??

    1. Sorry my spell check spelled your name wrong Irina I apologize, and the brand is maxam tri-ply t304 stainless steel pots, again if your not familiar with the brand how do you feel about the t304 version of stainless steel?

  51. Hi. Somebody know about cuisinart steamer Stm-1000. I have read that contain dangerous chemicals according to california prop 65. I need to know please

  52. What about the GMO’s in the soy used by Lodge to season their cast iron? I found a website that mentioned this and recommended a cast iron brand that uses safflower oil to treat their cookware (which is non-GMO) but I cant remember the manufacturer or the website. I was hoping this was the site….

    1. Hi, Leslie:

      While GMO soybean oil is not ideal, there is a big difference between one-time indirect exposure in a tiny amount and the multiple usage of it daily. I love the fact that these cast iron pans are made in the US versus China like other brands. ~Irina

    1. Apparently they have test results not sure if they are third party or not and test negative for heavy metals. They haven’t shared anything with me though.

  53. I am surprised there is not much discussion about tin-lined copper pots.

    Pure tin is biologically inert unless eaten in huge amounts.

    Yes, copper is expensive, but it’s a once in a lifetime purchase. Some of my copper pots purchased on Ebay are already thirty or forty years old. My great grandkids will be able to us them because they last forever.

    Copper is a fantastic conductor of heat, second in the universe only to silver. It’s specific heat capacity is nearly as high as cast iron. Plus, tin-lined copper pots are pretty fair at releasing food, unlike stainless steel.

  54. Dear Irina, thank you for doing this blog. I believe you save thousands of lives in a long term. I am trying to create a cleaner kitchen, and I get a lot of inspiration from you. The only problem is- we live in a small Mediterranean island Cyprus. Nobody on this world do deliveries here, therefore only well known brand that we have access to is IKEA. I saw on their web they have cast iron and stainless steel cookware, do you have any comments on their stuff before I go and buy their store out? 🙂

    1. Hi, Zanete: It is hard for me to make an umbrella statement for the whole store of IKEA. If you can, ask them what country the products you are considering to buy are made. ~Irina

  55. Hello,

    I am wondering if there have been any new discoveries concerning Le Creuset. They introduced two new colors in 2017, Oyster and Marine. Has anyone contacted them about lead and cadmium for those? Perhaps there’s little chance that any of the older colors have been reformulated though I’d be curious about that too.

    1. As far as Le Creuset, Palm has been discontinued so there are now no confirmed colors without lead and cadmium. The only hope are the new colors: Marine Blue and Oyster Grey.

  56. Thank you so much, Irina, for all the work you put in to researching and sharing this life enhancing information.
    I recently purchased pots from Maxwell & Williams in the Vitromax range (made in France), which is glass ceramic and can go on the stove top. I enquired with them and there is no cadmium, lead or other heavy metals in these products, and they are awesome for cooking. Anyone who is in Australia and New Zealand can easily get these. If you are in New Zealand, where everything is super expensive, then it is well worth waiting for the 60% off sale that Briscoes have every now and again. If you are in America, I believe the CorningWare Stovetop Pyroceram range is similar. You can also get Visions glass cookware (which we used to have, but can’t get in NZ). It is all available online at I believe this cookware to be safe, but if i’m wrong then please feel free to correct me or remove this comment 🙂

  57. What do you think of these titanium cookware options by Keith Titanium? Here’s a link:

    These are some of the first solid titanium cookware options I’ve seen that are big enough to be practical for home kitchen use and not just camping. They’re supposedly made of pure titanium with no coatings. They are however made in China.

    If you’re still looking for a crockpot I have one I like by Hamilton Beach (black ceramic). I emailed them before purchasing it a few years ago and they claimed it meets CA prop 65 standards (not sure if that has changed since I bought mine). Here is a post by someone who did a leach test on the same model I have:

    1. hi, Kayleigh: could you email Keith Titanium and ask them the composition of the titanium alloy? It might not be 100% titanium. What do you think? Do you have time to do it? And if they have any safety test reports that would be helpful to see. Thank you! ~Irina

      1. Kayleigh Soldo

        I’ll email them and let you know what I find. I did read on their website that they use “commercially pure” titanium which they claim is the same titanium used for things like medical implants . I’ll look into it though. 😉

          1. Kayleigh Soldo

            So I heard back from Keith Titanium and here are their responses to my questions:

            1. Are your products third party tested free of lead, cadmium and other heavy metals? Is it possible to see test results?
            “Yes. Our samples passed EU Food Grade (German LFGB) test and U.S. FDA test (both undertaken by SGS). Attached please find the documents.” (He sent me six testing files which I can forward to your email later tonight).
            2. Is your cookware pure titanium or is it alloyed with any other metals? Are the handles/other connective pieces also titanium?
            “We use pure titanium grade 1 for our drinkware and cookware except for some parts of some special products (ex. the handle of Ti6053, the lock handle of Ti6300 and the screw nuts of Ti8301. They are outside of the pots and are made of 304 stainless steel which don’t contact food or water directly. All other drinkware and cookware’s handles are made of pure titanium grade 1). Grade 1 pure titanium we used is composed of more than 99% titanium and traces of Fe, C, N, H, and O. We use titanium alloy only for accessories, such as carabiners and tent pegs for higher strength and hardness.”

          2. Hi Irina! Thanks for replying, this is the only spot I can reply back, I hope that’s okay – I contacted Keith titanium and got some test results back… I’m not sure if they look good or not, would you like to take a look at them? What’s your concern with them, do you believe they’re a bit dodgy or something? I’d love to know your take on the products. It is SO hard to find safe cookware, it’s getting annoying!

  58. Hi Irina, thank you for doing this research. Have you heard of enamelled cookware by Riess (Austria) and Kochstar (Germany)? What kind of questions would you ask the company to determine the safety of their cookware?

    1. Hi, Marina:

      You might want to ask if their products have been tested to California Prop. 65 test for lead and cadmium and if they can show you any third party test reports they have done. Thank you. Let us know what you find out. ~Irina

  59. You said you use all-clad cookware in on of your posts. I have not been able to find any information regarding the safety of those. Can you please share your opinion why you use it and are the compliant with the californian proposition 56? Thanks

    1. Hi, Max: stainless steel is not known to leach lead and cadmium. It is known to leach iron, chromium, and nickel. According to my a challenge heavy metal test, I am fine with chromium and nickel. And my iron has been on a low side. I have, on the other hand, accumulated lead and mercury so I need to avoid those as much as possible. When I consult with my client, I help them figure out which cookware works for them based on their labs. Does it help? ~Irina

      1. Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately not much. I am still in the dark if All-Clad would be safe. There are other stainless steel manufacturers so I don´t know which ones to choose from, thats why I asked why you have All-Clad. I assumed it´s because its safer than other brands. Is it, or did you just buy it because it was made in the US?

  60. Have the black enamel interiors of Staub cast-iron enamel cookware been thoroughly looked into for possible trace lead or cadmium? I love Staub, but I’ve heard that intense enamel colors (such as black) on cast-iron cookware, have been found to leach some of these contaminants. Any updates on this?

      1. I just received a prompt response from the Staub Cast Iron Cookware company (Zwilling/Henckels) to my question on whether the black enamel interior of their cast iron cookware meets the California Prop. 65 requirements for safety. From their response, it sounds as if their cookware is very safe, so that’s somewhat reassuring. Here is their reply:

        From: ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Support
        JUN 22, 2018 | 03:14PM EDT
        Amanda replied:


        I am happy to inform you that all of our products are Prop 65 compliant. Prop 65 compliance meets and exceeds the national standard of testing of harmful chemicals and materials Although we cannot release the makeup of materials used in our products, we can assure you that our products are free of harmful chemicals and materials. For more information on Prop 65, please see the link below.

        Prop 65 info (

        Thank you.

          1. Irina: If the Staub cast iron cookware manufacturer does comply with Prop 65 in the materials in their cookware, can there still be some question about its safety? I guess I am not completely sure what the standards are for Prop 65, but I am assuming they are quite strict, and that if cookware passes the Prop 65 standards it is considered very safe? Please enlighten me if I am wrong on this, however. I feel that safe cookware is pretty much just as important as the safety of the food you are eating, so it is so interesting to hear the discussions on this to help becoming educated on this topic.

          2. You are absolutely right. The safety of cookware is very important. Prop. 65 warning is triggered when certain limits of heavy metals are exceeded. Ideally, it is good to see the actual test reports so we know what the actual levels were when tested. Don’t you think? You may ask Staub for test reports. You can read more about Prop. 65 here: ~Irina

  61. Housewares Products – This is what the requirements are for lead and cadmium and CA Prop 65 is the gold standard in proving the leaching of any heavy metals because the tests takes 24 hours to complete and they must be done at certified scientific and accredited testing laboratories. Lead and heavy metals are in the dust, water, soil and air. It is every where. To become toxic one must ingest the heavy metals. A leaded wine glass in the family hutch is not giving off lead fumes and it will not be toxic until you put wine in the glass and do this for an extended period of time. This would be leachable lead because it was ingested. Some peoples immune systems can purge the lead from their body but a compromised immune system can not. Also very young infants become poisoned by lead when they ingest paint chips or dust from homes built prior to the 1970’s. The tipping point begins to occur at the moment of ingestion. This happened to me when I was painting schools with lead paint in the 1960’s. Not a pleasant situation.

    This the CA Prop 65 Standard and no other test is of any value when compared to this test because the test must prove leach ability. If the heavy metal is not ingested in some way it can not cause toxicity.

    What is California Proposition 65?

    The state of California requires that no person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving a clear and reasonable warning.

    Informational purposes only:
    In 1986 the California state government passed legislation that is intended to warn consumers in the state of the possibility of exposure to toxic chemicals. Officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, it is better known by its original name of Proposition 65.
    Proposition 65 requires the State to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Currently, there are around 800 chemicals listed, with lead and cadmium being the chemicals of concern to ceramic manufactures.
    Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of these listed chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. Proposition 65 specifically lays out the required testing method, limits for lead and cadmium leaching, and the warning requirements for articles that exceed the limits.
    The information provided here is a very brief overview of Proposition 65, and is not meant to answer all questions regarding this law. To review the warning requirements, or to view the regulation in its entirety, please refer to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment web site at

    All companies that are selling any cookware, bakeware, dinnerware and drink ware of any kind should have their CA Prop 65 test results published on their website. This assures the customer that the company is making safe products. Blessings – Rich 🙂

  62. Hello,
    Thank you for your article on All Clad cookware.
    My question is this: Are all models of All Clad safe? I bought mine from Macy’s.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Linda: My understanding is that all All-Clad stainless steel cookware is made of 18/10 stainless steel regardless of where they are sold. You should verify that with All-Clad directly. ~Irina

  63. I would really like to know what you think about the Jamie Oliver Baking tray that has this non stick coating called Quantum II coating on the interior and Xylan coating on the exterior.
    How safe is it to Bake meat in this tray?

  64. I have remodeled my kitchen and outfitted it with a smooth top stove. I still have some older Cuisinart stainless steel with attached heating disk but needed something larger. In 2017 Williams Sonoma was having a September sale, which happened to include some All-Clad products. I ordered All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel All In One Pan, 6-Qt. which arrived with an ill fitted lid. I had to return the entire pot, and the second one again had a less ill fitting lid. The third was perfect. I also ordered a 5-quart pan with a steamer insert. The confirmation listed it as All-Clad Gourmet Accessories Steamer, 5-Qt. Neither product is stamped with place of manufacture. The all in one pan was listed on All-Clad’s website and I contacted customer service to complain that the lids appeared to be made in China, to which there was vigorous denial. All-Clad Now uses more of a light groove rather than a smooth surface to be compatible with induction cooktops.

  65. Do you know anything about the copper stainless steel pots and pans from all clad? Would these be an ok alternative since many of their stainless pots have an aluminum core? Or is the aluminum core preferred/safer over copper?

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