Xtrema Ceramic Cookware Review

posted in: Cookware | 20

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Last updated on November 7th, 2017

I’d like to share my research into the Xtrema ceramic cookware, the only ceramic cookware I know of that you can use on the stovetop. When I buy ceramic cookware or dinnerware, the first thing I look into is lead and cadmium contamination. I want to stress the word “contamination” because it is unlikely for a reputable company to add lead and cadmium intentionally. However, it is impossible to make ceramics absolutely free of lead and cadmium, because they occur naturally, and ceramics are made with natural materials.

Xtrema ceramic cookware

Luckily, there is a California Proposition 65 test that companies can use to ensure that leachable amounts of heavy metals remain under legal limits.

 

When I first contacted Xtrema cookware, I asked about the ingredients of their ceramics and whether their materials were tested with the Prop. 65 test to back up their claim that their products are free of lead and cadmium. Unfortunately, they did not disclose the ingredients of their ceramic and I did not feel comfortable simply relying on their word.

 

After some time, they started disclosing their test reports on their website and you can see them here,  which does not happen often, if ever, and I applaud them for that.

 

By the way, Dr. Mercola sells the same cookware under his brand name in China.  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, which are standard earthy minerals that normally go into ceramics – no surprise there.

 

These minerals are fired at 2500ºF, which is way above the melting points of all of these minerals.  For example, the melting point for aluminum is 1,227ºF. This is probably how this cookware is inert, meaning that any leaching of any metals would be minimized. On the Dr. Mercola website, it states that leaching of aluminum is “0.01,” although it doesn’t specify the units. Assuming it refers to micrograms, this seems insignificant to me, considering that aluminum tolerance level is higher than of lead.

Xtrema ceramic stovetop cookware

Xtrema ceramic cookware is in compliance with stringent California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium.  In fact, Dr. Mercola sent me the actual test report that showed leachable lead and cadmium into 4% acetic acid.  The California Proposition 65 limit for this type of cookware is 0.1 microgram per milliliter of lead and 0.049 micrograms per milliliter of cadmium. The test report shows less than 0.05 for lead and 0.01 for cadmium respectively, which is very good. It is very rare for a company to disclose the actual test reports.

 

You can access the actual test reports on the Xtrema website here.

 

Keep in mind that Xtrema ceramic cookware is not non-stick and you have to be careful with it since it is ceramic after all.

 

We bought two pieces of Xtrema cookware – a skillet with a cover and a tea kettle. I have been using the skillet for over a year now and it has not chipped or been damaged in any way. I like to use this inert cookware for tomato-based dishes as their acidity increases leaching of nickel from stainless steel or iron from cast iron.

 

As for the kettle, I have to be honest and tell you that we do not use it. The reason is that it takes a long time to boil water and I am always in a hurry. I tend to increase the heat and when I do that the bottom starts chipping away.

 

All in all, using Xtrema ceramic cookware requires some adjustment and patience but it is a good tool in your journey to reduce exposure to toxins.

 

Update:  In June 2017, Tamara Rubin tested a Mercola pan with XRF technology (which measures the total amount of lead, not leachable) and found a very high content of lead in the baked on the ceramic label on the bottom of the pan.  She has contacted Dr. Mercola about this issue. The good news is that the total amount of lead on the interior seems to be consistent with the leachable test results described above.  To read more, click here.

 

Where to Buy

Ceramcor website

Xtrema Ceramic Cookware

For more information on other types of cookware, visit here.

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20 Responses

  1. Steph

    Thank you! This is very helpful as we are going to start replacing all kitchen pans and pots. We were looking into this brand will definitely try it based on the information you gave.
    Thank you for your continued efforts!!

  2. Sherry

    These were literally the worst pans I have ever wasted my money on 🙁 I spent sooooo much money and the handle cracked off one of the fry pans in less than a month. They all chipped and I only have one left.

    • Lisa

      I will have to look again but I know I’ve read less good reviews of this cookware. And from your experience they don’t sound that great to me. I also don’t get why the USA based company doesn’t disclose their ingredients. Not happy about that.

    • Marcy

      I had the same experience. I ordered the Wok, a 10″ skillet and two sauce pans for $350. I only used them a handful of times and the handle broke right off the skillet as I was attempting to wash it due to the stuck-on eggs I had scrambled. Apparently if you put any pressure on the pan it can break. They require a LOT of elbow grease to clean even after soaking. I wrote to the owner and he basically said too bad. He would not replace it or refund my money, Instead his offer was for me to buy another skillet from him at a discount!!? Why would I want to give that company more money. My sauce pan scratched and discolored badly after using a Brillo Pad on it – which is recommended. VERY disappointed with the products AND especially the service.

  3. Martie

    Thank you for this Irina, your blog is such a lifesaver. I am going to buy myself a notebook and start making a list of what needs to be replaced and use your comments and suggestions for products when I start replacing things little by little. I was wondering, what do you think of Le Creuset cookware? I see they have Ceramic, Stainless steel as well as Cast Iron options. It would be nice if one can just get a mixture of everything from one brand, but I would really like your opinion. I do know you love your French Press from this brand which is why I am asking…

  4. Ana

    Thank you for this Irina. I am just looking at replacing all my cookware.
    I wanted to ask if you have checked the company GreenPan? They seem to be good and also really affordable and funny enough that makes me trust them less. If you have any information that would be valuable.
    Btw, the affiliate link on the page with all the posts is not working.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Ana:

      Before I could not recommend GreenPan due to the lack of information. I have been getting a lot of questions lately about them so I am in process of getting more information from them including their tests reports and am planning to discuss my findings in a blog post – stay tuned. Update: I just realized this comment by Ana is set to receive no response, which makes me think that this is a fake comment with ulterior motive, unless it was set to no by mistake. ~Irina

  5. Miranda

    Hi Irina, any info on GreenLife Classic Gourmet Pro 12pc Ceramic Non-Stick Cookware Set?

    With Gratitude,
    Miranda

  6. Kayleigh

    So I’m curious what type of cookware would you say gets used most in your home? Also, I have seen several other ceramic cookwares rated safe for stovetop use but they were at a World Market store (much cheaper than xtrema) but not knowing exactly who manufactured most of the items in that store its difficult to know what type of testing it’s passed (or not). It’s a shame that info is so hard to track down. I did notice the company that makes romertopf is now making a clay pot with a glass “frit” coating that is stove top safe as well. I haven’t had time to look into their finish yet though.

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Kayleigh, It is nice to hear from you! I think we use All-Clad stainless steel pots and Pyrex glass baking dishes the most in our home. ~Irina

  7. Betty

    Nowhere to be found about how XTREMA creates their colors (black, red etc). CLAY IS WHITE. It doesn’t look like beets or carrots colors to me :). What chemicals do they use to get color?

    • Irina Webb

      Hi, Betty! This is a good question! The color comes from oxides that I listed in the post that they claim to come from the earth. I do not have information about which ones specifically are responsible for color that appear when they fire the clay under a very high temperature. ~Irina

  8. Veronica

    Thanks for this information! I bought an Xtrema skillet and it cracked on my stove top while I was cooking. I sent a photo to Bob Bergstrom (I guess their customer services contact?) at Xtrema and they immediately sent me a new skillet. The same thing happened with the second skillet, so I sent a photo again to Bob and this time asked for my money back. He was defensive and said it was my fault – saying two broken skillets in four months is too much. That was my view too, that our normal use of these skillets would result in breakage!

    I actually consulted a material scientist I know who is a professor at NYU. He said the problem is mostly likely that our electric stove delivers heat very rapidly through small points of contact on the pan, creating a lot more thermal stress than one would get with a gas stove. Moreover, because the electric coils on stoves of our type give a lumpy surface that differs from one stove to another, the strain profile associated with our stove top will not necessarily resemble other stove tops on which the pans have been tested.

    I shared this assessment with Bob but he dismissed it, saying that American scientists don’t understand their products and that is one reason why they cannot produce their products in the US. It was bit of a red flag to me that he would say this, given that they do produce their products in China, a country with little or no oversight of lead and other toxins in products. Bob has offered me $100 in credit at Xtrema (less than my skillet cost me) rather than a refund. I am still pushing for my refund since I’m not willing to gamble on another Xtrema product, especially in light of the report above that high lead levels were found in one of their products.
    Please wish me luck in getting my refund. Best to you all in your quest for greener, non-toxic cooking!

  9. Galina Niyazov

    Irina,
    I have 2 skillets, about 10 and 13 inch and 3 pots of different size and I love them all!! Now, I rarely use the skillets on the stove, most I use them in the oven. I would put chicken and bunch of veggies in them and bake , then I serve in them and I store in them as well, no need to transfer to anything else , which I love a lot. The pots I use for soups, oatmeal/quinoa/buckwheat /pasta, as well as to warm something up from a bigger pot as I dont have a microwave. I’ve used Xtrema for past year and can say that I am very happy with it. Now, if I wanna make eggs, I use greenpan, because otherwise they just stick too much. I also use cast iron dutch oven for dishes like chilli. Your post was definitely helpful when I was on the search for the least toxic cookware. Thank you for work!!
    Galina

  10. Galina Niyazov

    I’ve had greenpan for only few months now( after I saw you post an article that you researched the company, I bought it 🙂 ) it has not chipped yet, but I’m very careful with it, using only silicon spatulas on it. Hopefully it’ll continue staying this way.

  11. Maria Smith

    I have issues with Xtrema. Ordered the Retro Tea Pot with red lid in November 2017.

    In December 2017, chips had formed on the rim where the lid hits every time I poured water. I sent Bob Bergstrom photos. His “go-to” reply is always to blame the customer for mishandling. He said that I should hold the lid when pouring (which is hot to the touch) to prevent “banging” of the lid against the rim. I told him that the lid was much smaller than it should be. If it were made to fit the pot, there would not be that much “play”. Anyway, after back and forth emails, he finally conceded and sent me a replacement pot minus the red lid in January 2018. He had me ship back the chipped pot.

    Now, after only just over 2 months, this replacement pot developed a pin hole and/or crack in the bottom ring of the pot. Last week 3/18/18, there was a popping noise from under my pot after only a minute of it sitting on my gas stove top flame. I lifted the pot to find water beads dripping from one area on the circular ring. The cold water dripping onto the hot burner caused the ceramic coating on the burner to “pop off”…probably due to extreme temperature differences. I also noticed this must have been going on for a bit of time since water minerals have stained the bottom of the tea pot. That brings up another point: My house has a water softener unit and a full house filter that filters out all hard water minerals. WHY then is there hard water type staining on the bottom of the pot where the water has leaked from a crack? I suspect that the leaching of minerals is coming from the pot itself. 🙁

    I sent more photos and another email to Bob Bergstrom at Ceramcor with this new issue. He, again, tried to blame it on me. He stated, “I see ‘crazing’ in the glaze. Did you run this pot dry at any time?” I replied that I have never run it dry as I only use this pot to heat up water just until it’s about to boil. This is because I use the heated water only for my Matcha green tea and using anything hotter that just heated water is a “no-no” for Matcha so that the nutrients are preserved. I also added in my email to him that I do use this pot on the highest gas flame setting. Xtrema touts itself as withstanding temperatures of up to 2500 degrees fahrenheit. As Bob Bergstrom has admitted, stove top gas flames only reach up to 1250 degrees. This pot should NEVER HAVE “crazed” in its ceramic coating at a stove top burner temperature…even at it’s highest.

    Fortunately, it only took 3 back and forth emails to Bob this time for him to conceding to sending me ANOTHER replacement pot, minus the red lid.

    Due to this experience with the Tea Pot, I would never purchase any other Xtrema product.

    If anyone would like to see photos of my two issues with my two different pots, feel free to email me: mcathsmith@yahoo.com

    Blessings,
    Maria Smith

    • Irina Webb

      Thank you for sharing this, Maria. I had a terrible experience with their teapot as well. The bottom was chipping off. ~Irina

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