There’s a hidden toxin in your kitchen and it’s not the water… it’s fluoride in cookware.
Now before you freak out, that does not mean you’ll have to cook with pans that stick. I’ll tell you how to avoid chemicals in your cookware and have your food not stick.
NOTE: Truth About Fluoride is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I may earn a commission (every product is bought, tested & used by myself. With only the best being recommended)
Issues With Fluoride In Cookware
Non-stick cookware like Teflon contains fluoride in the form PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Which is a group of chemicals commonly called “forever chemicals” used to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.
Only 1 big problem…
For products like pots and pans there’s a leaching effect during cooking and at normal cooking temperatures, releases various gases and chemicals into the air (that’s the smoke you see).1
Which you breathe into your body.
Or eat with your food.
Worst of all, since PFAS’s do not break down easily and your body has a hard time getting rid of it. They accumulate in your body and the environment.2 This is why, when tested, a fluoride compound like PFOA was detected in the blood of almost 95% of US citizens.3
If nothing is done,
This only get’s worse with time.
The graph below shows PFOA and PFOS (two popular types of PFAS) serum concentration levels over time in China, illustrating how these chemicals have accumulated in our bodies:4
Since most PFAS’s cannot be used by our bodies, excretion (urinating/going to the washroom) is the only way to get rid of it from the body once ingested.3
The problem with this is that the elimination of PFAS from our bodies occurs slowly.
The main reason they’re called “forever chemicals”.
For example, here is the half-life (how long it would take to get rid of half of the substance in your body) of three common PFAS:
- 5.4 years for PFOS
- 3.8 years for PFOA
- 8.5 years for PFHxS5
To add insult to injury,
These toxic compounds cause big problems.
PFAS Health Issues
PFAS are man-made compounds that did not exist prior to industrial civilization.
As a result, they have unnatural effects on those who are exposed:2
- Infertility: Women with higher levels of PFCs in their blood were anywhere from 60% to 154% more likely to experience infertility, than those with lower levels.6
- Disease: Increases the likelihood of cancer, weakens the immune system and disrupts thyroid hormone production.3
- Carcinogen: PFOA has recently been labeled a likely human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.7
But this is not news..
If you look at most non-stick cookware today, you’ll see labels claiming it’s free of many different types of PFAS like PFOA. So the brands know we’re onto them…
But the problem is they replace one PFAS chemicals with a different one. Which are also suspected to have similar toxic effects.
It’s just a marketing tactic.
In addition, only PFOS and PFOA are typically considered in studies evaluating health risks (thus their removal from many products) but according to the OECD, 853 different PFAS chemicals exist.3
So if the packaging says you’re avoiding one fluoride compound, you can be guaranteed you’ll be ingesting another one…
Unless you buy toxic-free cookware.
Cookware You Should Avoid
Before we get into the cookware you SHOULD be using,
Let’s go through what you should AVOID.
- Aluminum: a classified neurotoxin and substance that damages your bones. Was also shown to leach into your food during cooking. Studies have shown aluminum cookware “reduces” fluoride content but that’s only because the aluminum combined with fluoride, to make aluminum fluoride. A substance linked to Alzheimer’s.
- Copper: once adored by chefs all around the world, copper cookware has also shown to be problematic.
- Non-stick: most pans that advertise having a non-stick surface are made from toxic material, the only non-stick cookware that’s safe to use is mentioned below.
Fluoride-Free & Safe Cookware
Here’s the cookware I approve and personally use.
Just make sure to read this carefully to avoid making a mistake. I’ll also have my top picks and at the end and I’ll help you choose which one is best for you.
1. Cast Iron
A great fluoride-free addition to your kitchen and my second favorite.
These pans are so durable that they’ll be passed down from one generation to the next.
But best of all…
Cast iron cookware is SUPER cheap.
While the only con to cast iron is that you’ll need to season it (not that hard to do) in order to achieve a perfect non-stick effect. But if you don’t want to deal with that, you can grab an enameled cast iron (more on this soon). They cost more but have an enamel glaze on its surface that makes it virtually non-stick.
I’d also only stick to cast iron cookware made in the USA, Canada or Europe.
Lastly, people warn of using cast iron because it could leach iron into your food. I personally don’t worry about this, I’ve checked my iron levels & they’re fine. While for enameled cast iron, it does leach any iron into your food.
WARNING: Ceramic Cookware
Instead of having fluoride sprayed on it, ceramic pans have a ceramic coating which is made out of natural substances.
It’s believed that there are zero toxic chemicals in these pans, so even if you superheat it, it won’t put any chemicals into the air and if you do scratch it, there are no chemicals flaking into your food.
That’s why especially with ceramic cookware, you’ll want to buy from a good brand.
As researchers at Thomas Jefferson University discovered ceramic cookware imported from China had dangerous levels of lead in the glaze. When foods are cooked in this ceramic cookware, lead leaches into the food at dangerously high levels. Ceramic cookware imported from Mexico is also suspect.8
However, I do NOT think you ceramic cookware is a good choice. Sure some brands may give off the impression that their ceramic cookware is non-toxic but I’ve also seen independent research suggesting otherwise. So I don’t see a point in risking it.
That’s why I think it’s best if you just use a quality cast iron or stainless streel. They’re also my favorite types of cookware, so you’re not sacrificing much.
3. Stainless Steel
Quality stainless steel cookware is a great fluoride-free option, as long as you avoid the kind with non-stick coatings.
One of the best brands that will last you decades is All-Clad, as many readers of this website have told me they’ve used this brand for several years and they still look and work like brand new. It’s also the brand I use everyday and couldn’t be happier with.
However, since All-Clad is a premium choice it’s a little expensive, so a great alternative would be HOMI CHEF. But if I’m being honest, I’d rather have you save up a bit of money and go with All-Clad since they over a lifetime warranty. You just have to buy it once and you’re set.
Plus you don’t have to buy an entire set, I just have one pan and I’m good.
Another thing to consider is replacing your toxic aluminum baking sheets with some stainless steel alternatives.
Important Things To Consider
You may have noticed some of these options cost A LOT more than normal cookware.
However, keep in mind this cookware will last you decades, if not your entire life.
So instead of buying toxic pots and pans that you’ll have to replace every 5 years (if you’re lucky), all you have to do with the non-toxic cookware is buy it ONCE.
This means it’ll not only be cheaper but healthier for you in the long run.
For example, Amazon’s #1 non-stick pan costs $39.99 (sales price too!). Now let’s say you start buying pans at 20 and live until you’re 60 (I’m sure you’ll live way longer) that means you’ll spend over $320 on just one pan.
Lastly, you may have the urge to go with a cheaper brand or alternative.
I strongly recommend you don’t do this, unless you’re confident it’s a good choice. You may end up buying something that is just as toxic as what we’re trying to avoid.
It’s better to buy one or two pieces of cookware that are good quality than buy an entire set that will poison you each time you cook with it.
Plus there’s no need, I’ve given some cheap but great quality options to choose from anyways!
For those who just want to get started without dishing out too much money to avoid fluoride in cookware, you should go with cast iron. Just keep in mind regular cast iron will only be super non-stick if you season it properly.
Or treat yourself to a enameled cast iron pan.
But even better, get a stainless-stele cookware made in the USA from All-Clad.
Either way, avoiding fluoride in cookware is quite easy. All you have to do is buy the right pan and avoid using the wrong one.
Note: forgot to mention this but unfiltered water is one of the largest sources of PFCs, so make sure you’re using one of the three approved water filters that remove fluoride or just go with Clearly Filtered (link to their website). It’s the easiest and cheapest way to start drinking non-toxic water.