Dr. Mercola Frying Pan

White label on the bottom of Dr. Mercola brand coated (ceramic [cast iron look]) pan: 14.900 ppm lead.
Interior of pan (probably from coating): 83 +/- 18 ppm lead.


As with all my posts the above results are from XRF testing.
Please click here and here to learn more about XRF instruments and testing.
Please click here and here to learn more about lead in ceramics.

Please note: XRF testing is distinct and different from leach testing that may or may not be done on cookware. XRF testing results show total lead content in an item (usually on the surface or in the top surface layers) and that may or may not have implications for leach testing.

Additional note:  I understand from the marketing materials for this cookware that it is – in fact – ceramic, however it has the weight and feel of cast iron.


For lead-free alternatives click here.
To read my post about safer choices, including plain uncoated cast iron click here.


Dear Dr. Mercola,

I e-mailed you last week, before I posted this – but I did not receive a response, and after waiting a bit, I felt I needed to share my finding with my followers.

First, I want you to know that I am so very appreciative that you shared about my findings of lead in a child’s sippy cup (that was marketed as being a “green” alternative).

Unfortunately, when people create products and have them made overseas, they don’t often know how to spot (or even everywhere to look for) specific issues — like hazards (or potential hazards) in unlikely places [that generally “pass inspection”, and may be technically “legal”, but still don’t fulfill the good intentions of the company making the product!]

I am sure you did not intend to make a product with a baked on enamel label that is 14,900 ppm lead in the label on the bottom. [Update:  I do understand from subsequent conversations with the manufacturer of this product (see comments below) that they have been told it does pass leach testing, although I am not 100% sure if leach testing is being done on the outside/ bottom of the pan (where the high lead level is) as that would be atypical of leach testing as I understand it. The manufacturer has also told me that their supplier told them that their labels do not contain lead, however in light of finding lead in the labels in subsequent testing of additional pans from this company I have encouraged them to look further into this concern.]

I am certain that until reading this post, you were not aware that it was lead paint on the bottom of your branded frying pans (!) and I am also certain that you will do right by your followers to address the issue — because you have integrity in the space of health and wellness and you specifically and personally know and understand how toxic lead can be – especially when introduced to the food preparation environment.

While I am not asserting or implying that this one particular product will definitely poison the user [XRF testing is separate and distinct from leach testing, and as-such is a quantitative result of lead present, not a result of what might get into the food or consumer’s environment through normal use], as consumers we need to be vigilant and aware of all sources of potential environmental toxicity that could unknowingly add to our body burden (of lead in this case) over our lifetime.

Also when lead is used in any manner in any product (as an additive to paint in this logo for example) that use contributes to perpetuating the demand for lead in general (even if just a little bit, all of the demands across our economy add up!) And with the ongoing demand for lead to be used in products we then (as a planet) are faced with the ongoing contamination of our natural resources (air, soil, water, etc.) by atmospheric lead created by the mining, refining and manufacturing processes.  There is then also the concern about the ongoing contamination of the workers who work in the industries where lead is mined, process and made into components used in manufacturing (of all types.)

My specific concern for the lead in this product is heightened by the fact that the label is right where the flame would reach the pan, and while it may appear innocuous and obviously “intact” when new  – it could easily deteriorate over time. Specifically, the repeated heating and cooling of the label on the bottom of the pan carries with it the possibility of releasing lead fumes into the cooking environment once the label begins to deteriorate (particularly if accidentally left unattended and overheated—which realistically does occasionally occur in a large use population over time – especially with high use pans like these)!

While:

  • no one has studied this particular/exact instance;
  • there is therefore no data/evidence to support this particular concern on this particular product;
  • And you have not violated any current legislation nor regulation…

These concerns come from my extensive understanding of lead and lead toxicity — and especially the way lead on the surface of consumer products behaves over time. For context:

  • while confined to a small area/volume, this lead level is also nonetheless nearly three times (300%) the amount of lead that is considered toxic in leaded house paint by our federal agencies [HUD currently requires remediation of lead paint in federally funded housing when the lead level reaches 5000 ppm]
  • the amount of lead that is considered unsafe in the paint or coating of an item made and manufactured as intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm or higher
  • again, the painted label on the bottom of your pan is 14,900 ppm lead.

I look forward to speaking with you about this issue.

My cell is 415-609-3182.

I will also be happy to publish your response to my post
here on my blog.

The woman who owns this pan (part of a full set) has some existing health issues associated with heavy metal toxicity and is trying to detox and eliminate all potential sources of toxicity from her home. She would sincerely appreciate a full replacement set of pans without lead, if you are able to do that for her (and I would be happy to connect you with her to help make this happen).

Thank you for your time.

Tamara Rubin
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
“Unexpected Lead Expert”


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Thank you!

 

16 Responses to Dr. Mercola Frying Pan

  1. Richard Bergstrom June 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

    Tamara: Hi, My name is Richard Bergstrom and I am the founder and owner of Ceramcor and my company makes the cookware for Dr. Mercola and we have been making the cookware since 2008. The lead testing that we do is a very involved 24 hour test which is called an atomic absorption spectrometry extraction test for lead and all kinds of heavy metal. This is always done but 3rd party outside testing labs in China, Hong Kong and the United States. The test results for the past 10 years are published on our website. All of our products are tested after each and every production run. We are the only cookware company that publishes its test results on it’s website in the entire world. Our cookware has never contained any lead or any heavy metals as required by the FDA and California Prop 65. These are very strict tests that we must pass before we can sell our cookware in the USA. These test are not the same tests that are used for testing soil and paint. Our tests must pass this very high standards. Here are our testing results: https://www.ceramcor.com/product-testing/ Our website is http://www.ceramcor.com

    I will find out about the gray and black decal that is fired onto the bottom of the cookware at temperatures of 2500F from our decal manufacturer and if the decal does contain any fraction of lead then when we make any new product we will make sure to use a decal that is 100% lead free.

    Thank you for your article and we always encourage our customers to reach out to us with any questions or concerns. The best – Rich 🙂

    You can reach me by e-mail at Rich@ceramcor.com Your customer can also e-mail at rich@ceramcor.com.

  2. Sheryl Senkiw June 11, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

    Thank you, Tamara Rubin, for finding this problem in Dr. Mercola’s cookware made by Ceramcor. Thank you, Richard Bergstrom for your response, and your ongoing efforts to make a high quality, safe product.

    • Richard Bergstrom June 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

      Sheryl: Thank you for responding and we love our customers and they are the smartest and healthiest consumers in the cookware industry, they really care about metal toxicity and their health. The best – Rich Bergstrom from Ceramcor

  3. Richard Bergstrom June 12, 2017 at 6:41 am #

    Tamara & Sheryl: The initial reply from the decal manufacturer is that there is no lead on the bottom decal that is on underside of the Mercola cookware. However I have asked them for proof. When was this cookware purchased because we change the decals each and every year? We will continue to investigate this situation and I will keep you update to date on the findings from the decal manufacturer. We will make sure that there is no lead in any decal that is fired onto the bottom of our the Mercola or Xtrema cookware. Regards, Rich from Ceramcor 🙂

  4. Richard Bergstrom June 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Tamara & Sheryl: We have contacted the testing labs in Hong Kong and China and when they do the extraction test for lead and cadmium the entire product is tested for the extraction of lead and cadmium so if there was lead or cadmium in any part of the product that would leach the product would fail for lead and cadmium. Our testing results since 2007 have always passed for not being able to extract and or leaching lead or cadmium. I will am still waiting to find out what materials our back stamp are made of however they have proven not to leach any lead or cadmium for the past 10 years. Warm Regards Rich at Ceramcor.

    • Tamara June 12, 2017 at 12:34 pm #

      Thanks for continuing to follow up with this, Richard. It’s truly appreciated.

      • Richard Bergstrom June 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

        Tamara: My pleasure and my passion is healthy non-toxic 100% ceramic cookware. I believe that that there is no metal cookware or ceramic non-stick coated cookware that can be compared to the healthiness of “Pure” Xtrema ceramic cookware. The best to you and you passion for eliminating lead and heavy metals from all housewares products. Rich Bergstrom – Ceramcor.

  5. Richard Bergstrom June 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Tamara: It would be a blessing to all of your followers if you would apply your lead testing protocol on all of the metal cookware and Teflon and ceramic coated non-stick cookware to see what lead their product contain and also at the other heavy metals that are being leached besides lead with metal cookware. Iron, nickel, chromium and aluminum can all be very toxic to our bodies but there is no company out their except Ceramcor – http://www.ceramcor.com that is exposing people to the metal toxicity that can happen from the use of metal cookware. The manufacturing of metal cookware causes pollution and that too has also not been exposed. Metal cookware gets a free pass – why? That I believe is just as big of a story as lead poising. Wishing you the best – Rich Bergstrom from Ceramcor.

  6. Richard Bergstrom June 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Hi, This is Rich Bergstrom from Ceramcor again and I wanted to keep everybody updated about Xtrema and Mercola Healthy cookware which we manufacture. It is important to note that our product has been tested by the United States Government for lead and cadmium extractability for both the inside and out side of our ceramic cookware for the past 13 year and we have passed every single test for not leaching lead or cadmium which has involved over 50 different tests in that 13 year period. We stand behind our lead and heavy metal USA Government testing standards for our products and we believe in full disclosure and accountability. We are the only cookware that I know of that will make that statement and publish all of our testing results on our website at http://www.ceramcor.com. Please e-mail your questions at rich@ceramcor.com. Changing how America cooks, one home at a time. Blessing 🙂 Rich

  7. Richard Bergstrom June 26, 2017 at 11:37 am #

    Everybody: Here is a wonderful link about lead that is published by the Canadian Government which has very strict guideline for lead.

    This is a must read if you want to know where all the real lead problems are coming from:

    https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/environmental-contaminants/lead/lead-information-package-some-commonly-asked-questions-about-lead-human-health.html

    I am an somewhat of an expert on lead toxicity because I too have been exposed to lead over 20 years ago from lead paint exposure so now I have it in my bones so I have a team of doctors that are working with me to rid the lead from my bones. It will take a few months but I should be good as new. Blessings – Rich Bergstrom – Founder of Ceramcor – http://www.ceramcor.com

  8. Richard Bergstrom June 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

    While I am not asserting or implying that this one particular product will definitely poison the user- From Tamara

    While:
    •no one has studied this particular/exact instance;
    •there is therefore no data/evidence to support this particular concern on this particular product;
    •And you have not violated any current legislation nor regulation – From Tamara

    100% non toxic for lead extraction based on the USA government Prop 65 testing for 2017

    • Tamara June 27, 2017 at 8:00 am #

      Richard, In my experience and understanding, leach testing (what you are noting as extraction) is done by putting a corrosive or acidic solution inside a cooking vessel and measuring how much of which toxicants end up in the solution (as that might compare to how much would end up in the food in normal use of the product.) I have never heard of leach testing where the entire vessel is submerged in a solution and a determination for extractability of toxicants is made in that way. Just because I have not heard of it does not mean it is not possible, but it seems unusual to me. Also prop 65 labeling requirements is not based on extraction testing (as I understand it) but on the mere presence of toxicants in a product or any item (including housing) in California. So I would imagine given the label on the product contains lead it would need to be marked as such under prop 65, regardless of whether or not it leaches. I am not an attorney so I may not fully understand the interpretation of this law, but I do have a pretty good handle on it. – From Wikipedia on Prop 65: “The first statutory requirement of Proposition 65 prohibits businesses from knowingly discharging listed substances into drinking water sources, or onto land where the substances can pass into drinking water sources. The second prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing individuals to listed substances without providing a clear and reasonable warning.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_65_(1986)

  9. Steve June 27, 2017 at 5:32 am #

    Perhaps there is a way to do some long-term testing on the product over its expected use lifetime, with a simulated usage pattern (or even a worst-case scenario testing, just to bracket things)? Or if that is not defined, at least some defined extended period? (Like a shelf life test).

    I realize that could be a long-term investment (worth it, from a consumer’s point of view), but how does the company know what *could* happen over time with their product with regards to the alleged lead content in it? The lack of complete data/evidence does not and should not lead to the conclusion there is no problem with the product. Rich, I hope you are listening, because I have a whole stack of your pans sitting now unused outside my kitchen, and I really don’t feel comfortable using them unless you can provide me harder evidence of their safety. More testing, please.

    • Steve June 27, 2017 at 7:03 am #

      Disclaimer: I should have stated it is MY opinion that the lack of complete data/evidence doesn’t lead to the conclusion there is no problem with the product. I didn’t want that misconstrued as an attack.

  10. Richard Bergstrom June 27, 2017 at 8:06 am #

    Steve: Please see Tamara’s response to your e-mail. I have spoken with Tamara and she agreed with me that the testing that she performed was not a California Prop 65 test for extractable lead which is the testing standards that we and all manufactures have to use.
    Here are our Prop 65 test results for the past 10 years. https://www.ceramcor.com/product-testing/ There is no extractable lead, cadmium or any heavy metals in our cookware. The tests results over a 10 year period tell the truth and nobody can dispute this test results because they were all done by 3rd party scientific labs in the China, Hong Kong and the USA. Thank you – Rich

  11. Richard Bergstrom June 27, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    Tamara:

    It would be wonderful if you could petition the government for a new testing standard for the use of your XRF device. Now we have to abide by the standards of the FDA and California Prop 65 for heavy metal leaching. Also, I wanted to give you and update on the lead extraction testing that we will be doing right away. We will be performing from 3 California Lead Prop 65 tests for lead and cadmium in Hong Kong and we will require the testing lab to immerse the entire piece of cookware into the extracting agent to see if it leaches lead or cadmium. We will also be performing the same tests here in the United States. All of this testing will take approximately 30 days. I believe we just might be the first cookware company to every request this test. We will make sure that our label on the bottom of the cookware is 100% safe and free of lead. If we have to created a new label then we will do so when we do our next production run.

    The great news that in the 13 years that we have been manufacturing Xtrema ceramic cookware we have never had one single complaint by any consumer or testing agency in any country for the extraction of lead or cadmium or any other heavy metals.

    Please have a nice 4th of July Holiday. Rich 

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