Is Copper Cookware Safe?

diet kitchen nausea Aug 07, 2018

Increasingly, people are learning that nonstick pots and pans are coated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs), which pose health risks. And they are a family of persistent environmental contaminants.

So what are healthier pots and pans to use? Cast iron and stainless steel are popular choices by the health-conscious.

But what about copper cookware? There's been less discussion on their safety.

Whether you use copper cookware to cook for yourself, or for others (especially baby food!), you should consider how the type of cookware used may influence what you and your loved ones are eating. 

Does copper cookware pose health risks?

Yes, it can. Because copper from copper cookware can leach into food, and too much copper in our diets is unhealthy.

Copper rapidly enters the bloodstream and is distributed throughout the body after you eat or drink it,” according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry’s Public Health Statement for Copper

The Public Health statement also explains potential health effects:

If you drink water that contains higher than normal levels of copper, you may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, or diarrhea. Intentionally high intakes of copper can cause liver and kidney damage and even death.

The study described the effects of high copper levels to be the same in children (conception to 18 years of age) and adults. So it's best to avoid unnecessary copper exposures.

Why do people use copper cookware?

So why do people choose copper cookware? Benefits include:

  • Copper is a conductor of heat. When the stove top temperature is changed, temperature of the cookware changes quickly. This is helpful for certain cooking methods, such as browning foods.
  • Copper allows cookware to heat evenly. This helps to avoid hot spots on pots and pans, and for food to cook more evenly. This long-lasting material can be expensive. However, some people may consider cookware longevity to be worth the cost.
  • The weight. Copper pots and pans sit securely on the stove, while being light enough to be lifted when filled with food or water.

Tips for using copper cookware

If you're really enticed by copper cookware, then consider purchasing copper-bottom cookware that is lined with stainless steel. This prevents leaching of the copper into food while utilizing the heat benefits of copper cookware.

Conclusion

When preparing your own food—which helps you control the quality of the ingredients, avoid preservatives and other additives, and saves money—it’s important to consider the type of cookware used.

Cast iron and stainless steel are popular choices by the health-conscious. However, if you find copper cookware irresistible, then consider the advantages and disadvantages of copper cookware, and the risks they may have on the health of children and adults.

Copper is a good conductor of heat, allowing the cookware to respond quickly to temperature changes. However, copper can leach into foods, so be extra mindful when cooking baby food or for older children!

Consider purchasing copper-bottom cookware lined with stainless steel to have the benefits of heat conductivity, while preventing copper from leaching into food.

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