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Old 08-20-2014, 08:27 AM   #1
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Exclamation Are cast iron skillets really safe?!

I was searching for a cast iron skillet to buy as i have never had one in my life, and after some research , all i read about them was super positive things .Health benefits from the iron of the skillet , no bad substances that non stick skillets have and how easy to cook on them .

But today i bumped into that article that got me thinking : Think Cast Iron Pans are Safe? Why You May Want to Reconsider I dont know if they exaggerate or not , but i am now really skeptical and kind of afraid to buy one . I just started cooking seriously at home and i wanted something that the actual chefs use. Whats your opinion about cast iron cookware?

P.S i have no connection with the website
P.S 2: check also this : The Health Hazards of Cast Iron Pans | The Healthy Home Economist


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Old 08-20-2014, 09:00 AM   #2
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Hi, and welcome to Discuss Cooking

Neither of those two articles has citations that say cooking in cast iron pans is dangerous. I looked at the references at the end of the first article and they relate to the facts about how the body uses iron, how much iron is leached into food from cooking in it, etc., but nothing about it being dangerous.

I've been using cast iron cookware for decades and have no worries at all about it.

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Old 08-20-2014, 09:16 AM   #3
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I agree with GotGarlic. I too have used cast iron for decades, it's perfectly safe.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:26 AM   #4
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One of my cast iron frying pans has been in continuous use for over 57 years. There was nothing in that article that made me think I should toss it. I'm sure if the search is long enough and deep enough, some toxicity could be found in almost anything. I am aware that there are different standards used in the manufacture of all cooking vessels including cast iron frying pans. Who knows what pans the testers used to come up with their findings.
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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I consider the links you posted to be unreliable. Once seasoned, there is a barrier between the food and the iron. There is no risk of over consumption of iron. The first site appears to be promoting an "organic over inorganic" agenda and using CI pans as a target.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:38 AM   #6
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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.

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Old 08-20-2014, 10:25 AM   #7
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I use mine everyday, they are older than I am!

The only thing I don't cook in them is acidic food e.g. foods containing tomatoes. The acid can hurt the seasoning on the pan and in some cases it can cause the food to discolor.

I do not store any foods in my cast iron pans. If you need to store the food in the pan then I would choose stainless steel.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:31 AM   #8
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Before long, I expect the "experts" will proclaim the only safe way to cook food will be on a stick over a fire.

...or maybe not, as the sticks will undoubtedly be deemed too sharp and the fires too hot. And then there's the problem of the pesky secondhand smoke.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:02 AM   #9
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They are safe as long as you don't drop them on your toe.
I just haven't been the same
since that house fell on my sister.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by sparrowgrass View Post
They are safe as long as you don't drop them on your toe.
Yup, or the danger that came to my mind:


May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
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