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Old 02-13-2007, 01:56 PM   #1
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Re-thinking: Is enamel toxic-free ?

the main point:
pigments (and maybe enamel itself) in the interior pot coating are partially made from metals.

I looked at Le Creuset's stockpots.
The color of the inner enamel was beige.

Le Creuset or similar enameled products, is said to be "the world's safest", "an inert ,non-reactive".
I'd be much interested in such. I want to avoid secretion of metals or toxins into the food I cook. (aluminum, nickel, teflon etc.)

But before I buy, I searched: is it metal-free or toxins free ?

Enamel is essentially a glass (mostly from silicon and oxygen)
but can (or must?) also contain some :
Intermediates : aluminum, titanium, Zirconium,
modifiers: barium, strontium, lead, lithium, bismuth, boron, etc.

Pigments: I assume, that the same pigments for glass are used for the enamel.
many of them are made from metals, which some are poisenous. (besides "lead and cadmium")
also mentioned "organic binder" as taking part of the process.

I sent a simple question to three leading companies: Le Creuset, Chantal, and Silit.
No one replied so far.

If you think there is a sense to this subject, please send questions to them.
maybe you will share with me the answer.

(links removed)


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Old 02-13-2007, 02:03 PM   #2
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Why don't you look for Visions cookware. Pyrex is fine for use in the oven too.

Failing that, check out Princess House products. They are glass and they are oven proof. Good luck.

You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. Robin Williams
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Old 02-15-2007, 04:01 PM   #3
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Thanks Alix.
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:47 PM   #4
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Yanital, I think you also received some excellent responses when you posted this on the GardenWeb cooking forum.

Although I'm all for being safe and cautious, it is possible to overdo it.
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:12 PM   #5
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Brazilian soapstone is a great medium for cooking ... heats almost as fast as copper, yet retains heat longer than cast iron! totally natural and safe. Sold by Brazil on my Mind (somewhere in CA) and Fantes in Phily Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop - Fantes.com
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Old 02-15-2007, 08:40 PM   #6
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At some point in life, you have to look at how much the pot weighs as well. I'm a quite strong, 52 year old woman, but some of the larger pots would easily send me to the advil bottle if I had to bend over and lift it out of the oven. If it seems to you to be awfully heavy in the store, imagine it full of beans, and bending down to get it out of your oven, or trying to strain water out of it over your sink. You want pots with a nice, solid, heavy bottom, but watch it if you have back and knee concerns.
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Old 02-16-2007, 08:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by suzyQ3
Although I'm all for being safe and cautious, it is possible to overdo it.
I'm trying not to over-do it.

-But why then all the fuss about nickel started ?
They say that nickel is leaching into the food,
so I'm just examining alternatives on the same basis.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:34 AM   #8
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With ALL due respect, I do believe you are overdoing this--but it is fine, if that suits you.
"WHO" says that nickel is leaching into food? I haven't seen that to which you seem to be referring. Just because someone "says" it, does not make it true. It was thought at one time that aluminum caused Alzheimer's. This is not true.
The toxicity of a chemical/metal/etc. depends on HOW it is presented to the body and in what kind of bonding. If it is in such a state that it cannot bond to something, then it will not be harmful.
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Old 02-16-2007, 09:44 AM   #9
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Minerals, metals and nutrients are drawn into foods through their root system. That does not mean they are harmful. Not even close. You eat certain foods because the are high in iron, for example. These minerals, metals and nutrients add the flavor and nourishment that make eating certain foods worth eating.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 02-16-2007, 10:33 AM   #10
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Here is what we know: iron is needed by the body, but too much can be a problem, and some people are iron sensitive. Using iron pans is fine and safe, and even beneficial. Your food will taste bad from too much iron long beofre it becomes toxic with iron which is why we don't store food in iron, or even let it cool down in iron if it is acidic...it tastes bad.

Aluminum has it's bodily uses, and it too can react with acids so the same applies here as it does with iron. Anodized aluminum has been subjected to an acid bath and a healthy does of electricity, so the acidic reaction has already taken place, but one still should not store food there. Highly polished aluminum is also safe to cook acidic foods in, but not store as it may eventually pit.

Copper is a great cooking metal because of heat control, and indeed it works well with egg whites and sugars, but not acids, thus unlined is reserved for baking, and lined for culinary endeavors. Copper can be lined with tin, nickle or stainless steel. Tin is traditional because it is inert and heat responsive, but it is soft and needs to be renewed from time to time. Also Americans are used to scouring and that would wear tin away fast. Nickle is more expensive and more difficult to renew if necessary. Stainless is applied through bi and tri metal bonding a recent process (last 20 years or so) pioneered in Belgium. Stainless is inert also and is tough. Stainless is made that way with nickle and chrome alloys.

Stainless is safe; people aren't becoming ill eating out of it. Nor are they from most cooking utensils. 70% of restaraunts use regular polished aluminum pots and pans for all their cooking regardless of acidity of contents. Acids in raw copper can cause you to become nauseated. However, the food would taste unpleasant as well, so why bother!?!?!

Teflon has proven safe enough in the home and industry. It's used in joint repair in medicine. Obviously if it is flaking from your pan from miss or over use, toss it. It doesn't cook everything ideally, but is great for eggs and cheese and some seafood and lower fat cooking.

Birds and other animals can be affected by preheating teflon pans, or other pans as well, as oils will burn off into smoke in your closed environment of a house. Proper outside ventilation should be required in every kitchen...but is not. If you are a serious cook, invest in a properly vented range hood! But don't go blaming duPont for your problems or lack of knowledge.

Glass does not spread heat well, everything sticks to it, it can shatter without cause, but it is inert. And it is great to store food in overnight or for weeks on end.

Stone, actually a great cooking medium. Various pigments. We don't use poisonous pigments in this country. Items with them are marked not for food use, decoration only.

Please understand that the internet has been used and still is used by some people to expoit the fears of uninformed people for the purposes of disruption of normal life (practical joke), economic gain (don't use that, buy this instead), or abuse of power (only "I" can solve this problem, be the leader, etc.) Check all such issues with urban legends on line which exposed internet hoaxes. Also understand that for all the good environmentalists do, some extremists fall into the above categories. They do not publish their data or sources, only their claims. This is not scientific method; this is fear mongering.

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