There has been plenty of discussion going on about non-stick ceramic coated pans ever since Teflon or PTFE has been suggested unsafe and full of toxins and carcinogens.
There have been reports that Teflon contains toxins and heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, etc, which can leach into your food.
This has lead many concerned individuals to opt for non-stick ceramic coated pans, waffle irons, and other kinds of cookware. But, how safe are ceramic coated cookware?
Does their non-stick ceramic-coating last for a long time? And, if they get scratched or cracked, will the harmful toxins get mixed with the food?
Manufacturers of ceramic-coated cookware such as Oster claim that their products are extremely safe, durable, reliable, and contain no harmful chemical, toxins, carcinogens or heavy metals.
But, how much of it is true?
We have plenty of incidents where manufacturers don’t always tell the truth or have falsified their findings. So, we set out to find out. In this article, we will discuss the truth about ceramic-coatings such as DuraCeramic, and its safety, durability, and ease of use.
DuraCeramic Coating — What Is It Actually?
In technical terms, ceramic is ‘clay that has been hardened by fire’.
Most ceramic coated cookware are usually made of metal (mainly aluminum) with a layer of ceramic-coating. Generally, Ceramic coatings are derived from inorganic minerals, mainly oxygen and silicon. In this article, we will talk about an improved version of ceramic coating called ‘DuraCeramic’.
DuraCeramic is developed by Belgian cookware manufacturer Oster. The company claims that this unique and innovative ceramic coating is four times more resilient than conventional Teflon coated surfaces. It also won’t peel or flake with extended use. DuraCeramic is also PFOA and PTFE free, the company claims.
This safe and natural ceramic-coating also cooks food 20 percent faster and is also much easier to clean.
Is DuraCeramic really free from Toxins and Harmful Chemicals?
Yes. Oster claims that their DuraCeramic coated pans, waffle irons, and other cookware are 100 percent free of from these toxic elements.
As we said earlier, this special ceramic coating is made from oxygen and silicon. So, not only is DuraCeramic safe, it is also an environmentally friendly product.
Additionally, the application process of DuraCeramic-coatings is also easier when compared to many PTFE (Teflon) based coatings. Teflon based coatings need at least three applications, whereas DuraCeramic coatings require only one layer.
As a result, this particular coating needs less curing time, which saves on the heat. This reduces energy and the entire manufacturing process emits 50 percent less carbon dioxide than Teflon based products.
How Is DuraCeramic Applied On Cookware?
We already established that DuraCeramic is an improved iteration of the traditional ceramic non-stick coatings. All ceramic coatings including DuraCeramic are applied on metal surfaces using a process known as Sol-Gel.
So, what is this Sol-gel process?
Before any ceramic coating can be applied to the metal surface, it is essential to transform the oxygen and silicon liquid solution into a gel. This gel is then applied on metallic surfaces. The Sol-gel coating is applied using either a spray or dipping the items into the gel. The coating is then cured or hardened by heat via the process known as ‘curing’.
As the elements in the DuraCeramic are inorganic, ceramic coated cookware can withstand extremely high temperatures of up 450 C (842 F). In comparison, Teflon coatings tend to deteriorate after reaching 260 C (500 F).
Is DuraCeramic Safe?
According to ceramic manufacturers, ceramic coated pans, waffle irons, and other products do not produce any hazardous fumes even if they are heated beyond 450 degrees. This isn’t the case with Teflon coated cookware. Ceramic coated products also don’t even break down at extreme heat, which makes it safe for humans.
However, there have been some incidents where ceramic glazes may contain cadmium or lead, which can get mixed with the food.
This is concerning indeed, but don’t panic!
This usually happens to ceramic cookware originated from Asia and Latin American countries where health and public safety regulations are a bit relaxed.
You don’t have to be worried about your non-stick ceramic-coated pan or waffle iron containing cadmium or lead if you live in the United States.
The FDA has strict requirements for all ceramic products sold in the US to be cadmium and lead-free So, always buy ceramic coated products sold in the US by reputable companies to be safe.
So, what is the takeaway here? If you ask whether ceramic coated cookware are a healthier choice and environmentally friendly too? The answer is yes—that is if you cook your food at high temperatures.
Ceramic coating doesn’t peel or break down at high temperatures and doesn’t emit any toxic fumes. While cooking at normal temperatures, say under 500 degrees, they are a much better alternative than Teflon (PTFE) coated pan.
However, we can’t say the same when it comes to longevity of ceramic coated cookware over Teflon coated ones. Various tests have shown that even the best ceramic-coating last six times less than Teflon coating. So, they aren’t that durable as manufacturers claim.
So, where this makes us stand?
It all boils down to your priorities. If you’re after a more environmentally safer and healthier way to cook your food (at higher temperatures), then choose a good, high-quality ceramic-coated cookware made by a reputed manufacturer.
However, if you want a quality non-stick cookware, then there’s hardly anything out there that can match a good quality Teflon or PTFE based coated pans or other products.
For more on DuraCeramic – check out our in depth review of the Oster DuraCeramic Flip Waffle Maker!