In today’s kitchens, stainless steel is considered the best material for cookware because it is very neutral and easy to clean. The corrosion resistance of the material also adds to its popularity as this increases the product’s lifespan. Furthermore, stainless steel doesn’t have an effect on the flavoring of the food during the cooking process and it is 100 percent recyclable. Some questions have however been raised about the effect that some of the important elements in stainless steel could have on our health. The effect of ingredients such as iron, chromium and nickel that could be transferred during the cooking process is being investigated. Experts believe that because the amounts transferred is so small that it will not have an affect.
According to an article recently published in the New York Times around 70 percent of all pots and pans currently used in the American market is stainless steel with nonstick surface. Most users prefer this as it is easier to clean and better for use during the cooking process.
There are also many other materials available for use in kitchen and cookware. For example, cookware made form polished aluminum is very popular because of its light weight. Teflon coatings are also popular as the coating makes the cleaning process much easier and reduces food sticking to the pot or pan during cooking. Iron pots with ceramic coatings are also still being used while cast iron pots used to be quite popular, but they are very heavy. Stainless steel cookwares have become increasingly popular, because of the purity of the metal.
The bulk of a person’s nickel intake comes from the intake of foods that naturally contain nickel. Studies have recently been trying to establish the amount of nickel that is absorbed as a result of the use of s stainless steel utensils. There has been concern that that nickel could cause allergic reactions or could pose even more serious health risks such as cancer. But there has so far been no evidence to show that nickel absorbed in food during the cooking process, will cause serious harm. Some recent media reports have suggested that stainless steel pots should be avoided and scientific studies have confirmed that nickel found from such pots is merely undetectable, even for particularly aggressive foodstuffs. As the result, the nickel from stainless steel cookware relative to our daily intakes of nickel is generally insignificant and should not cause either allergic reactions or other harmful health effects.
Looking at the possible harmful effect that some other materials used in the stainless steel manufacturing process could have on a person, it must firstly be said that stainless steel itself doesn’t hold a significant health threat and has as such not been classified as a material that is hazardous to your material. For different grade of stainless steel, people who are already allergic to nickel may have a low risk of an allergic skin reaction following direct and prolonged skin contact with this grade according to a skin doctor at Chang Gung Hospital Taiwan. Secondly, there is no indication from the available data that the manufacturing of stainless steel causes adverse effects on the health of workers. Third, according to Institute of Occupation Health of University of Birmingham reported that the welding of stainless steel does not cause any increase in the risk of lung cancer over and above the increased risk from any steel welding. However, the welding process in general may be associated with increased reporting of respiratory symptoms such as coughing, but there is no evidence of increased risk of developing lung function abnormalities, nor of any specific association with the welding of stainless steel. Meanwhile, statistics and studies showed that the published workplace exposures to potentially harmful materials were generally well-controlled, so minimizing the possibility of any risk to health. Finally, the grinding and cutting of stainless steel also do not appear to cause any harmful to our health effects.
In conclusion, stainless steel is considered the best cooking surface, especially, used in modern cookware.