In August of 2018 I tested yet another Ceramcor Xtrema “Lead-Free” pan that ended up being positive for lead.
This pan was purchased direct from the company, c. November of 2016.
These pans are advertised and promoted as being metals-free, and specifically as being lead-free — yet when they are tested with an XRF instrument the coatings have consistently tested positive for lead, as well as several other metals.
While the pans DO test positive for metals with an XRF, the owner of the company has shared that the pans have passed leach-testing, which is –unfortunately – the only current Federal testing requirement for cookware. One cannot reliably infer from leach-testing results (from testing done at the time of manufacture) what might happen over time as surfaces (especially glazed surfaces on a ceramic base) break down with normal or heavy use long-term.
XRF testing detects metals present regardless of leaching potential or other criteria.
The owner of the company that makes these pans continues to adamantly insist that the fact that his pans have passed leach-testing somehow means “there are no metals” in his cookware, even though the XRF test results clearly contradict his statements.
Scroll down to see the exact XRF readings for the pan pictured below.
We got “lucky” on this particular pan, as it arrived broken from shipping, so it was easy to also test the substrate (as well as the exterior glazed surface) this time, and quantify what the metals are there, so that was very interesting.
As I said, the manufacturer of this product continues to insist his products are “lead-free” — even though components are positive for trace lead (the glaze/ substrate), and very high levels of lead (and in this case, also cadmium) in the label fused onto the bottom of every piece)!
There are several other posts on my blog about these pans, please read them for background.
The simple solution for this manufacturer:
- Stop claiming your product is “lead-free”.
- Find a lead-free alternative for the permanently affixed leaded label on the bottom of the pan (and/or consider removing the leaded label altogether — a quick-fix for the moment.)
Interior of Pan: 9 metals found in the glaze
(Black Glazed Food Surface, Flat Bottom). NOTE: if you compare these levels to the (very minimal) levels of metals found in the bare cross section of the pan, you can deduce that the difference (where the levels of the metals are greater in the glazed section) is the metals content of the glaze (vs. the substrate.)
This is concerning because the manufacturer also markets/advertises and asserts that these pans are specifically “better than stainless steel” because they “do not contain the metals” that stainless steel does. As you can see below – the main components of stainless steel (Chromium, Nickel and Iron) are also present in these pans. [Additionally, I have recently read some pretty scary things about cobalt and cobalt poisoning – you might want to Google that!]
While I personally do not currently have any concern with stainless steel pots and pans — and they (along with cast iron and clear glass) are among my preferred cookware, I think it could also be easily argued that if there were a toxicity concern with these elements, having these metals in a glaze on a ceramic pot (vs. bound in a metal alloy, as they are in stainless steel) might make them potentially more bio-available (even though the levels are obviously much lower.) Glaze on ceramics is also subject to eventual wear and possible crazing, chalking, chipping, breakage, etc. and becoming compromised with heavy use (vs. stainless steel).
- Lead (Pb): 74 +/- 15 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 597 +/- 55 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 12,900 +/- 800 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 4,879 +/- 184 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 2,417 +/- 163 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 19,100 +/- 700 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 106 +/- 18 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 9,376 +/- 391 ppm
- Magnesium (Mn): 1,466 +/- 317 ppm
Center of Bottom of Pan: 13 metals found
(Permanently affixed label in center of bottom). This is the surface that is against a flame or heating element when the pan is in use.
- Lead (Pb): 7,258 +/- 201 ppm
- Cadmium (Cd): 567 +/- 28 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 688 +/- 67 ppm
- Selinium (Se): 358 +/- 35 ppm
- Tin (Sn): 214-+/- 21 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 5,263 +/- 206 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 776 +/- 111
- Iron (Fe): 6,036 +/- 374
- Bismuth (Bi): 314 +/- 39
- Vanadium (V): 9,169 +/- 636
- Titanium (Ti): 1,773 +/- 351
- Cobalt (Co): 3,784 +/- 251
- Magnesium (Mn): 957 +/- 386
Cross Section of Pan: only four metals found
(Substrate: beige/pink ceramic base from broken side of pan)
- Lead (Pb): 25 +/- 12 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 80 +/- 21 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 3,369 +/- 255 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 153 +/- 17 ppm
Interior (food surface) of lid: 11 metals found
- Lead (Pb): 120 +/- 18 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 453 +/- 55 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 9,744 +/- 419 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 4,869 +/- 188 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 2,326 +/- 165 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 21,400 +/- 700 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 136 +/- 20 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 1,069 +/- 144 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 2161 +/- 236 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 9,506 +/- 405 ppm
- Magnesium (Mn): 1,012 +/- 321 ppm
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
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