Ya know, this whole organic verses inorganic thing makes me a bit crazy. It seems that society calls anything used without ferilizers, and made with teh least processing - organic. But what does the word really mean. We are, after all, organic life forms, as are most living things on this planet. Organic simply means carbon based. Or DNA, RNA, cell structures, and most activities in the body require, or are based upon carbon. Ever wonder why burnt items leave a carbon mess afterward? most of the other materials combine with oxygen in the process and either turn to ash, or go away as smoke particulates, leaving much of the carbon behind.
Iron, as stated in the OP's linked article, is indeed FE, or elemental iron. Whether it's in plants, in a steel or cast iron pan, or as a steering linkage on your car, it's still elemental iron. It may be combined with other elements to form a compound, or an alloy. But it's still elemental iron. Nothing will change that.
It may be that in plants, the iron is joined with other molecules that help the body assimilate and use that iron, a catalyst of some sort. But I do know that a well seasoned cast iron pan, where the oil has polymerized on the cooking surface, does not release much iron at all into the food. To support this idea, I offer the following. If I scrub the seasoning from my cast iron, get it wet, and let it sit for a few minutes, the iron begins to join with oxygen molecules to create iron-oxide compounds, or rust. On the other hand, I have at time abused my pans by washing the, then letting them sit wet on a counter top, and sometimes (gasp
) have even left them sitting on the stove, with no heat, and with some acidic food in them, and had no iron flavor in the food, or in the empty pan, no rust, and with the empty pan, they've even sat in water for a few days with no corrosion evident.
Properly seasoned, the seasoning is an effective barrier to other elements comming into contact with the metal.
I firmly believe, until proven otherwise, beyound a shadow of a doubt, that cast iron is one of the safest cooking vessels around, along with carbon steel (wok, mineral pans). And not being an organic chemist, this is my humble opinion. It is based on anecdotal evidence only, and a bit of common sense.
Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North