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What are the dangers of enamel cookware?

Updated July 19, 2017

Enamel cookware is cast iron or steel cookware with a porcelain glasslike coating making it non-stick and easy to clean. Most enamel cookware is considered a safe choice for cooking, but there are potential dangers of which users should be aware.

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Burn Warning

Several brands of enamel cookware do not include heat-resistant handles. Handle covers or pot holders should be used to avoid burns.


Some older enamel cookware may contain cadmium or lead, both considered by the FDA to be toxic substances. These chemicals are most likely found in brands manufactured by foreign companies and cookware that is lined with red, yellow or orange pigments. According to the FDA, all enamel cookware manufactured for the United States today is safe from cadmium and lead.


Enamel-coated cast-iron pots and pans can be exceptionally heavy. Cookware should not be placed where it can fall and cause injury.

Fragmented Enamel

The enamel may chip from the pans. Stop using the cookware as more fragments may occur, contaminating the food.

Repair Dangers

Be cautious of any products used to repair chipped enamel. Most paint epoxies and enamels are not food safe. Return the cookware to the manufacturer for repair or replacement, if under warranty.

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About the Author

Heather Novak has been writing since 2007 for various websites. Her articles cover topics in real estate, mortgage, personal finance, travel, parenting and home and gardening. Novak holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Georgia State University.

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