Is copper cookware safe for cooking?

pans hanging on wall

There are many types of cooking pans and cookware that are used nowadays. These are like Teflon pans, aluminum pans, iron pans, and copper pans mostly used. All they have their own advantages and disadvantages but here we are mainly concerned with copper pans.

Cooking in copper pans

Health concerns of Teflon pans and cookware

Teflon pans although non-sticky but during cooking, may release several toxic chemical substances. They are polytetrafluoroethylene and perfluorooctanoic acid. Polytetrafluoroethylene on 572 Fahrenheit release toxic substances. It has flu-like symptoms such as sufferer may feel headache, chill, chest tightness, and damage to the lungs. These symptoms may appear several hours later. Another toxic substance that is released by Teflon cooking ware is perfluorooctanoic acid formerly known as c8 it can cause several types of cancer including breast cancer prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. The user may more prone to damage when the upper coating is destroyed. In the same way, aluminum cooking wares usage can also cause neurological problems in the sufferer.

Why we tend to use copper

Nowadays, copper cooking wares are also so widely used for their attractive shininess. They are also so because of its conducting properties. Copper cooking wares have many advantages like they are excellent conductors of heat and also evenly distribute heat all over the pan. Hence someone may think it is easier for cooking and it has a lot of advantages to cooking.

Unwashed pan
An unwashed pan

Diet concerns related to copper cookware

But as for as our diet is concerned, we should also know the disadvantages of copper cooking ware. Copper is a highly reactive metal. Its coating should be very good otherwise it can cause serious complications like metal poisoning and many more diseases.

The human body also needs copper but in a very minute amount. A high quantity of copper can cause a lot of serious diseases. Our body uses copper as an essential constituent of several enzymes like cytochromes oxidases catalyzers, superoxide dismutase ascorbic acid synthase, and phenoloxidase, etc. Copper is also helpful in making hemoglobin. Copper is also used to make melanin and phospholipids. But our body makes all these things with the help of a minute quantity of copper. But by using copper cooking wares the quantity of copper in our body tends to rise. It happens especially when we cook acidic food like lemon fish etc.

A high quantity of copper in our body can cause various diseases in which copper is abnormally deposited in the liver and lenticular nucleus of the brain. Copper deposition in the kidney can cause renal damage. Due to a lot of amino acids glucose peptides and hemoglobin may also be excreted out in the urine. Food cooked in uncoated copper cooking wares can lead to an increase in the level of copper in our body. A high level of copper in our body may result in several symptoms like blood vomiting, lightheadedness, yellow skin, and gastrointestinal diseases. Copper cooking with coated with nickel also has many disadvantages as nickel can cause high blood pressure damage the liver heart diseases and lung cancer. Therefore a person may think about the disadvantages of copper cooking wares before buying.

Vintage copper pans
Vintage copper pans

How to buy safe copper pans and pots

Copper cooking wares if you are using then must confirm it should be coated with stainless steel. By this, it greatly reduced the harmful effects of copper.

Conclusion

It is a fact that cooking in copper utensils and cookware makes food more delicious and appalling. But there are some things that we consider before using copper cookware.

  1. It shouldn’t be too old.
  2. In bare copper pots, food shouldn’t be cooked.
  3. Copper pots and utensils which we want to use them for cooking must be coated with some other metal. The safe coating metal is stainless steel.

Written by: Dr. Ihsan Khalid (MBBS, KEMU)

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