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Clean Living

Your Guide To a Safe and Healthy Kitchen

By May 26, 2011November 18th, 20233 Comments

For those of you who couldn’t make it out to our Second Clean Living Lecture Series here are the take home points.

  1. The safest pots and pans are the non-reactive cookware, meaning it is unlikely for metals and chemicals to leach into the food are the Ceramic and enamel cast iron cookware.  Brands that we researched to be the best quality are Xtrema Ceramcor, LeCreuset and Lodge.
  2. The moderately reactive cookware is the stainless steel and cast iron pots and pans. This means that if you scratch the stainless steel cookware than you could be leaching nickel for example into your food.
  3. The most reactive cookware (most likely to leach into your food) and worst for you are the non-stick coated pans, copper and aluminum.
  4. Your best bakeware options are the pyrex glass, the xtrema ceramic and the pizza stones.
  5. The most sanitary and least toxic cutting board is wood. Purchase unfinished wood and finish it yourself with walnut, almond oil or beeswax. Ex. of Unfinished wood: Boos Edge-Grain Maple Boards and William and Sonoma- Proteak End-Grain Round Cutting Board.
  6. Ideal cooking utensils are the wood as they do not scratch the surface of your pots and pans. An example of where unfinished spoons can be purchased is at
  7. If you have to use plastic make sure that it states that it is BPA free. Plastics with the recycling # 1,2 and 4 are the safer choices.
  8. Use pyrex glass storage containers, and wax paper instead of plastic baggies and storage containers.
  9. Parchment paper is a good alternative to aluminum foil. It is safe to use in the oven.
  10. Be cautious with dinnerware purchased at flea markets, antiques stores, hand me downs, glaze that is corroded, discoloration on the dishware, terra cotta pottery from Latin America (especially rustic items), and highly decorated Asian dishware as they may contain lead.
  11. Home lead strip test kits can be purchased online at or to make sure your plates are lead free. Very inexpensive way to see if you are exposing yourself to lead.
  12. Best options for dinnerware are glass and lead free ceramic such as: Sengware ( and Fiesta Dinnerware (
  13. The best non-reusable plates are the VerTerra dinnerware instead of plastic or paper plates. These can be purchased at Whole Foods. They are made of fallen leaves and no glues or chemicals are used in making of the process.
  14. Clean up your kitchen using a vinegar and water solution with a microfiber towel. Salt can be added to this mixture for scrubbing power.
  15. Good safe options for cleaning dishes are Dish soap recommendations are: Earth Friendly Ultra Liquid Dishmate, BioKleen Dishwash Liquid and BioKleen Automatic Dish Powder.


  • Kathryn Spitz Cohan says:

    This information is great. Thank you. I do have a question about Fiesta dishes. It has Alpha Alumina in it. That doesn’t sound too safe. Is it?

    • Dr. Jennifer Nevels says:

      Yes. I did read that it has alpha alumina in there and am not sure how and if the aluminum leaches into the food unfortunately. What I do know is regarding the absence of lead. We just have to do the best in making choices that are going to be the least harmful to us.

  • Jane says:

    I have a question regarding the Sengware brand. I’d like to purchase dinnerware from them, but they manufacture in China. Is this an indicator that their claims to be lead and cadmium free can’t be trusted? Is it possible for Sengware to be careful with each and every product they manufacture? I tried asking the owner on his Facebook site, but he has not gotten back to me.
    Also, in regards to the question about Fiestaware. They do have lead in them, but that is because it is impossible to keep out all lead due to the air and etc… However, they have the lowest amount of lead scientifically possible, and the coating they put on their plates does not have lead. What that means for the consumer is that the product will not leach lead into the food. I can’t find a safer plate- except for maybe an equal one like Sengware, which is hopefully just as good.