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Problem With Nonstick Bakeware
Nonstick bakeware is very convenient. Food doesn’t stick with very little oil and it is very easy to clean. However, despite this convenience, nonstick bakeware is not safe and hazardous to our health. Just like nonstick cookware, nonstick bakeware is also coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Teflon is the best known brand name of PTFE-based formulas for nonstick coating. PTFE nonstick coasting contains toxic chemicals such as Perfluorooctanioic acid (PFOA or C8) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Perfluorooctanioic acid (PFOA or C8) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has been used as a surfactant when making PTFE. They are linked to cause harmful health effects such as decreased fertility, thyroid disorders, changes in growth, learning and behavior of the developing fetus and child, testicular cancer and kidney cancer. (PFOA/ PFOS Exposure And Health Effects)
When cooking above 500°F (260°C), PTFE nonstick coating starts to deteriorate and release toxic fumes and chemicals into the air or into the food. This also happens if an empty pan is left on a burner. These days, some manufacturers do not use PFOA or PFOS when making PTFE and they are replaced with chemicals such as GenX. However, GenX is supposed to be as toxic as PFOA or PFOS. Therefore, just because nonstickcookware or bakeware says, it is PFOA or PFOS free, it doesn’t mean it is safe from toxic chemicals. I would avoid all nonstick bakeware. (Teflon Replacement Chemical Likely Just As Toxic)
Alternatives To Nonstick Bakeware – Non Toxic Bakeware
There are several alternative options available for non-toxic bakeware. Safe materials for non-toxic bakeware includes stainless steel, glass, porcelain enamel, ceramic and cast iron.
Stainless Steel Non Toxic Bakeware
Stainless steel is generally a safe material for bakeware except when baking acidic food or baking something for a very long time. Stainless steel bakeware leaches iron, nickel and chromium into food within safe levels. However, it will leach higher amount of iron, nickel and chromium when cooking acidic food or cooking for long duration. Iron or chromium is good for our health, however, too much can have negative health effects especially for people with iron issues. Too much iron can cause iron poisoning and too much chromium can damage the liver, kidneys and nerves. Nickel can cause allergic reactions to some people. Therefore, just avoid baking acidic food such as tomato sauce or or roasting something for a long time in stainless steel bakeware. Stainless Steel is great for baking sheets, muffin & cupcake pans, square or rectangular cake pans.
TeamFar makes great stainless steel baking sheets. They use 18/0 stainless steel, which contain 18% chromium and 0% nickel. That means their bakeware has no nickel and it won’t leach nickel even with acidic foods.
Fox Run makes awesome stainless steel muffin pans.
Norpro makes stainless steel square cake pans like this.
All-Clad is known for their stainless steel cookware and they have bakeware as well. Check out their baking pan which you can make casseroles and more. They also make a stainless steel baking sheet.
Glass Non Toxic Bakeware
Glass is one of the most inert material for cookware and bakeware. One thing you have to watch out for glass is breakage. Glass can break if it experiences sudden changes in temperature from extreme hot to extreme cold temperature or vice versa. (thermal shock) It can also break if it is dropped and experiences a harsh impact.
There are two types of glass that bakeware can be made from. One is borosilicate glass and the other one is tempered soda lime glass. Borosilicate glass is more expensive to produce and it has high tolerance to heat and extreme resistance to severe temperature changes. Therefore, it is more thermal shock resistant than soda lime glass. It can handle sudden temperature changes from freezer to oven without cracking. However, when it breaks, it shatters into small jagged shards which can cause injury. Tempered soda lime glass, on the other hand, is stronger than the regular glass but it may break if it experiences sudden temperature changes. However, when it breaks, it breaks into small, circular pieces which is much safer than small sharp pieces. Also, it is more resistant to impact breakage.
Soda lime glass is cheaper to produce and it is the most common form of glass used in US bakeware. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data, consumers are far more likely get injured from glass impact breakage than breakage from thermal shock. Therefore, some people say soda lime glass is actually better in preventing injuries from breakage. However, there has been some report that glass bakeware such as Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glassware exploded in the oven or unexpectedly shattered due to thermal shock. It is scary to think baking dish can explode unexpectedly. (Exploding Pyrex Cookware Mystery Solved) (Kitchen calamity: Reports of shattering cookware on the rise)
While borosilicate glass or soda lime glass can both work well as a bakeware material, they are both glass after all. Therefore, breakage can happen. Even borosilicate glass can still crack in rare cases if it experiences extremely radical temperature fluctuations. Also, although soda lime glass is more resistant to impact breakage, it can also break if there is too much impact. While most glass bakeware is used safely, I would keep in mind to be careful not to provide sudden rapid temperature change or harsh impact to the glass bakeware.
While some people prefers borosilicate glass over soda lime glass or vice versa, it is up to you to choose which you feel more comfortable with. They both have been used as safe bakeware material for a long time used by many. Most glass bakeware including well known brand such as Pyrex or Anchor Hocking use soda lime glass. Pyrex used to use borosilicate glass in the past, however, it now uses soda lime glass. For those who prefers borosilicate glass, they find this change disappointing. However, there are companies that makes bakeware with borosilicate glass which I listed below. I personally chose glass bakeware with borosilicate glass since I feel more comfortable knowing it is safer from thermal shock breakage.
Borosilicate Glass Bakeware
Arcuisine Glass Rectangular Roaster Pan is made in France. It is made with borosilicate glass. You can place this bakeware from freezer to oven to table to refrigerator safely. Arcuisine also has other bakeware such as casserole pan, oval roaster, pie dish pan.
Oxo is another company that makes bakeware with borosilicate glass.
Tempered Soda Lime Glass Bakeware
If you feel more comfortable with soda lime glass, there are two leading glassware companies.
Pyrex is the leading glassware company. Their products are made in USA and their products have been loved by many people.
Anchor Hocking is another leading glassware company. Their products are made in USA.
Porcelain Enamel Non Toxic Bakeware
Porcelain Enamel is cast iron with an enamel coating. There are some concerns about lead and cadmium leaching into food with enamel bakeware since enamel is made of clay. Therefore, I would only purchase porcelain enamel bakeware from reputable, well established company and make sure there is no lead and cadmium in their bakeware. Porcelain Enamel is one of the most non-reactive material for cookware and bakeware just like glass or ceramic. Therefore, porcelain bakeware can be used for acidic dish or long duration cooking. It will be great for tomato sauce pasta bake or turkey oven roast.
Le Creuset is French company who makes quality cookware. Their cookware quality is amazing and people keep Le Crueset pieces for generations. Their cookware is in compliance with rigid California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. Their test results shows that no lead or cadmium has been found inside of their cookware and only a trace amount outside of their cookware. Cadmium is used for coloration purposes in achieving bright exterior colors such as red, oranges or yellow. Dune and Palm colors do not contain cadmium. Their enamelled cast iron dutch ovens, French ovens or round braisers are great for acidic or long time cooking dishes such as lasagna or meat roast.
Lodge also makes porcelain enamel cookware and bakeware similar to Le Creuset. However, their bakeware is so much affordable than Le Creuset. Their products are also in compliance with strict California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. I own both Le Creuset and Lodge porcelain enamel dutch oven. They both work very well and I love them.
100% Ceramic Non Toxic Bakeware
100% ceramic is non-reactive material for cookware and bakeware. Just like porcelain enamel cast iron or glass bakeware, ceramic bakeware doesn’t react with food. Therefore, it doesn’t leach toxic chemicals into food even when cooking acidic food or cooking for long duration. Therefore, ceramic bakeware is one of the safest and non-toxic bakeware available. However, since it is made of natural material, it can be contaminated with lead and cadmium. Therefore, check to make sure products have no lead and cadmium in them.
Xtrema is the only company who makes 100% ceramic cookware. Their bakeware is in compliance with stringent California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. Their test result show that their products are safe from lead and cadmium. (view test result.)
All of Le Creuset’s signature enamelled cast iron products are made in France. Their stoneware, on the other hand, is made in Thailand. However, all of their products are in compliance with rigid California Proposition 65 limits for accessible lead and cadmium. If you are not comfortable about their stoneware not being made in France, you can go for their cast iron enamelled dutch ovens for oven cookings. They also have oval casserole or au gratin dish in their bakeware.
Cast Iron Non Toxic Bakeware
Well-seasoned cast iron is truly nonstick without toxic nonstick coating such as PTFE nonstick coating. I love my cast iron skillet for cooking eggs, pan cakes and meats. They work great! Cast iron is also great for bakeware. However, cast iron can leach iron into food especially when cooking acidic dishes. Our body needs iron but too much iron can also cause negative health effects such as iron poisoning and problems for people with hereditary hemochromatosis. Therefore, I wouldn’t use cast iron bakeware for baking acidic dishes such as lasagna or chicken with lemon sauce.
Lodge makes great cast iron skillets but they also make cast iron bakeware. Their cast iron products are made in USA. Their biscuit pans, muffin pans, loaf pans are all naturally nonstick if you season them well.
Glass, porcelain enamel, ceramic, stainless steel and cast iron are all non toxic bakeware options. Stainless steel and cast iron are reactive with acidic foods so I would avoid cooking dishes like spaghetti meatballs or salmon with lemon sauce. Instead, they will be good for baking sheets, muffin or loaf pans. Glass, porcelain enamel or ceramic are non reactive material, therefore, they are great for casseroles or pasta dishes. Porcelain enamel and ceramic is also suitable for long duration cooking such as meat roasts. When getting a bakeware, get individual pieces that meets your non toxic cooking needs for different types of food. Happy cooking!
If you are interested in non toxic cookware, please read my previous post, ‘Non Toxic Cookware Guide – What Is The Healthiest And Safest Cookware?‘
If you are interested in pressure cooker, Instant Pot, please read my post, ‘Non Toxic Pressure Cooker – Is Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Non Toxic?‘
If you are interested in non toxic rice cookers, please read my post ‘Non Toxic Rice Cookers – Rice Cookers With A Stainless Steel Inner Pot‘.