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Less-Toxic Kitchenware

how to avoid toxics in kitchen products

Pots and Pans

Choose cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans and glass bakeware.
Avoid products with nonstick treatments such as Teflon.
If you already own products with nonstick treatments, be sure not to let them heat to above 450F.
Do not leave non-stick cookware unattended on the stove, or use non-stick cookware in hot ovens or grills.
Discard products if nonstick coatings show signs of deterioration.
For a list of kitchenware treated with nonstick coatings, see:
Environmental Working Group: a sampling of products containing PFC



Choose glass, stoneware, or ceramic dishware.
Ceramic dishware labeled as meeting California’s Proposition 65 requirements leach less lead than those approved by the FDA and are preferable.
Avoid old, handmade, or imported ceramic dishware, which may leach more lead than permitted by the FDA.
Any ceramic items that show chalky gray residue after washing should not be used, and leaded crystalware should also be avoided.
For more on lead in dishes, see:
California Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch: Lead in Tableware.
Environmental Defense: What You Should Know About Lead in China Dishes.

Food and Beverage Containers

Choose glass if possible.
Otherwise, choose plastic containers with the recycling symbols 1, 2, 4, or 5.
When microwaving, choose glass or lead-free ceramic dishware, and use waxed paper or paper towels instead of cling wrap. Glass leftover containers with removable plastic tops are available in various sizes and are convenient for microwaving leftovers.
Avoid containers made of PVC (3), polycarbonate (7), or polystyrene (6).
If you have plastic containers that aren’t marked with recycling symbols, check with the manufacturer.
For more information about plastics for food storage, see:
Washington Toxics Coalition: Plastics 101
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Smart Plastics Guide


Choose choose cloth lunchbags or metal lunchboxes.
Avoid lunchboxes made of PVC, which may contain lead.
Center for Environmental Health: Lead in Children’s Lunchboxes                               

Cling wrap

Choose wraps made of polyethylene, such as GLAD and Saran. Cling wrap for residential use is free of PVC.

Avoid wraps made of PVC. Cling wrap for commercial use may contain PVC.

In general

Choose alternatives to products made of PVC whenever possible. 
This includes items such as straws, aprons, gloves, drawer liners, and tablecloths. Learn more in Washington Toxics Coalition's FAQs on avoiding PVC.