The owner of this #29 Le Creuset (Made In France) yellow oval 5-quart dutch oven [which cost $350.00 when purchased new at Kitchen Kaboodle in Portland, Oregon], told me he purchased it about 6 years ago — which would be c. 2013.
Please note that both Antimony and Cadmium are known – or “suspected” – carcinogens (depending on which agency or research institute you talk to!), and in my opinion are consequently not elements that belong in our cookware, regardless of a manufacturer’s claims — including the ever-popular “there are ‘independent studies’ showing that they [merely] do not leach or impact the food” [at the time of manufacture]. Separate from the impact to the end user, the problem with Cadmium and Antimony in cookware goes far beyond whatever level of immediate threat they may pose to a user of the newly-manufactured product. By using high levels of Cadmium in manufacturing, Le Creuset has – apparently for decades – been causal in contributing to “the demand for” the mining, refining and manufacturing of a toxic pigment that can (and does) poison others (workers, communities, waterways, the planet) through various processes/at multiple points throughout their manufactured products’ life cycles.
It is for this reason I suggest boycotting Le Creuset entirely until they make a public statement taking responsibility for their environmental transgressions of the past, and promise to no longer use these toxicants in their products in the future.
Note: based on my testing to date, some of the newer products in neutral colors (grays and sand colors) are negative (or low) for toxicants – as compared to their brightly-colored counterparts.
To see more Le Creuset pieces I have tested, click here.
When tested with an XRF instrument, the pot pictured here had the following readings…
Darker yellow on edge of lid:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 60 seconds – one minute):
- Cadmium (Cd): 14,500 +/- 300 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 765 +/- 172 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 587 +/ 165 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 712 +/- 76 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 11,800 +/- 300 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 943 +/- 103 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 33,900 +/- 1,200 ppm
Inside white of lid:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 120 seconds – 2 minutes):
- Cadmium (Cd): 34 +/- 10 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 680 +/- 99 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 659 +/ 101 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 352 +/- 27 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 6,195 +/- 102 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 97 +/- 31 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 166 +/- 21 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 1,359 +/- 70 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 25 +/- 8 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 30,100 +/- 600 ppm
Outside (flat) yellow bottom of pan:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 180 seconds / 3-minutes):
- Cadmium (Cd): 17,700 +/- 200 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 766 +/- 104 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 483 +/ 95 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 696 +/- 47 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 11 +/- 6
- Zinc (Zn): 12,100 +/- 200 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 893 +/- 60 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 20 +/- 10 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 33,400 +/- 700 ppm
Inside white food surface of pan:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 120 seconds – 2 minutes):
- Cadmium (Cd): 32 +/- 8 ppm
- Barium (Ba): 759 +/- 84 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 592 +/ 86 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 329 +/- 23 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 6,383 +/- 90 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 144 +/- 27 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 153 +/- 17 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 1,476 +/- 63 ppm
- Bismuth (Bi): 27 +/- 7 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 30,500 +/- 500 ppm
Bare metal edge (without enamel) of lid of pan:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 60 seconds – 1 minute):
- Cadmium (Cd): 105 +/- 36 ppm
- Chromium (Cr): 1,048 +/ 113 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 1,178 +/- 229 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 958 +/- 271 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 1,228 +/- 435 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 679,300 +/- 39,000 ppm
- Vanadium (Bi): 342 +/- 149 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 10,600 +/- 700 ppm
- Cobalt (Co): 8,705 +/- 1,366
- Magnesium (Mn): 4,570 +/- 621
Note: with the edge of the pan (test above), the component is not flat, and does not fully fill the scope. As a result, the level of Iron in the bare metal (as well as some of the other metals) is likely much higher than being reported by the instrument. Additionally, the trace Cadmium detected might be from a thin edge of the enameled surface being in the scope (due to the shape and nature of the component being tested).
Screw on inside of center of lid:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 30 seconds, noted as Metal-302HQ)
- Chromium (Cr): 174,500 +/- 1,700
- Zinc (Zn): 1,227 +/- 225 ppm
- Copper (Cu): 27,400 +/- 1,000 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 80,600 +/- 1,800 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 692,900 +/- 2,900 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 2,663 +/- 731 ppm
- Molybdenum (Mo): 1,589 +/- 147 ppm
- Magnesium (Mn): 16,100 +/- 1,300 ppm
Black plastic of knob on top of lid:
(see image below, tested for a minimum of 30 seconds)
- Barium (Ba): 3,012 +/- 112 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 1,220 +/- 74 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 3,607 +/- 270 ppm
If a metal is not listed in any of the above readings, it was “non-detect” (negative).
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
I have a yellow LC pot w lid you can cook in as well. Am I understanding correctly that this is a concern for me? 🙁
OMG- I bought some Le Creuset last year, 2018 in the lavender color… so all that is toxic… my head is reeling today as I just discovered your blog and it appears that everything i have in my kitchen may be toxic. This company is supposed to be non-toxic cookware. freaking out. Please tell me what you use for cookware if you answer this. thank you.
I haven’t tested the lavender ones yet (they are fairly new I think), so I can’t say for sure what the readings are. Keep your eyes peeled here or on Facebook and I will also try to remember to comment here with lavender test results when I have them.
We use clear glass, undecorated stainless and undecorated plain cast iron (we also use bamboo and wood when appropriate – like we have a bamboo steaming basket we use over our stainless pots.)
Thank you for commenting.
Sharyn R says
Thank you for your thorough testing.
After reading through your Le Creuset posts, I was wondering if you had tested any LC products of the Caribbean blue colors. Would you consider that to be close to the grays/sands you referenced above? I bought that color hoping it was neutral enough to be safe, but now am concerned. Have you tested any of their blues? (Should I also check your Facebook page for updates?)
I’m freaking out. I have a handful of autoimmune diseases and did massive research on the safest cookware (somehow missing your blog)… and two Christmas’ ago bought over $1,000 worth of Le Creuset enabled pots and Dutch ovens. I cook everything at home in them… I have mostly the light blue color, a dark purple, navy blue… I’m crying
I would ask them if they will exchange them for you – I think they might. I don’t know what the readings would be on each of those colors – but there are a few examples here on the blog you can scroll through if you hit the “Le Creuset” tag at the top of the post.
I have the turquoise round #26 and #24 with a silver knob instead of black with the cream color inside. I probably bought them in 2013. Can I send you a picture of the box/pots to see if they are the same as this one toxins wisw & if so how would I attach the photos? The turquoise with the stainless steel handle (I hope it’s stainless steel) where considered a limited special edition color & made for that year. Thanks
Same here. Not feeling great about the 3 pieces of Le creuset that I own. Two of the pieces are skillets that have a black enamel interior finish, purchased approx. 2014-2017. Have you tested a piece with the black interior? Would you think it is worse than the white interior pieces or comparable? Just trying to prioritize in order for replacing many of our cookware and dish ware items 🙁
I don’t know that I have tested the black finish from that era, sorry – so I cannot extrapolate.
I don’t have any advice on this other than I would never use Le Crueset in my home, nor would I use any enamelware (from any brand) for food use purposes.
Thank you for commenting.
Tina Johnson says
Reading this is so upsetting. I don’t buy Le Creuset, but do purchase Staub, another cast iron maker from France. Interestingly enough they are advertised as “Cadmium-, lead-, PFOA- and PTFE-free”. So, I am curious if you’ve ever tested their products? Since my kitchen is green, I only purchase the green colored ones, and noticed on the SurLaTable website that the green states free of the toxins, yet other colors do not. I obviously have much research to do. Thank you for all that you do!
My Le Creuset dutch ovens are at least 40 year old, would you say that are most likely have more or less toxins? They are pretty much all I use, they are perfect and I love them. I am considering replacing them as they are just now starting to wear out. Now that I saw your post, I will think that through.
I once saw there was a site that you could ‘search’ your brand of cook-wear for toxins. You wouldn’t happen to know what site that is? I have some enamel from Costco and would like to know the rating.
I have the white Le Creuset pan with a gold knob from this year. Have you tested this color? You said you think some have low to zero levels of contaminants in the lighter colors. Hoping this would include white!?
I have not tested that one (especially the newest version) sorry about that! Subscribe to the blog to get updates of the latest posts (in case I come across it in my travels and post about it.)
Have you tested Le Creuset coastal blue, meringue, mist grey?
Hello! I hope this doesn’t come off as rude but, are you sure the that the last one is official Le Cruset? You posted that it’s a black plastic knob on top, but Le Crusted knobs are not plastic (at least mine is not). Thanks
Yes – it is a newer one, but definitely Le Creuset.
I have the blue from about 20 years ago and wonder if I could just keep it for storing cold food. Is it just when heated that there is leaching?
Diane lapdon says
I waited years and then read they claim their items are non toxic. Now I have one if their blue pots. After paying a lot even on sale I am so concerned. How can they say they are safe if not true!? I am going to check to see if there’s a prop 65 warning. I know in California there are many le creuset pieces sold.
Their newer ones have fewer toxicants but I have still been finding Antimony on the food surface (the enamel of the food surface) of the pots – and I am not comfortable with that personally given it is a known carcinogen and was added to the United States’ list of known carcinogens officially in December of 2021. I don’t personally believe that ANY known neurotoxins or carcinogens belong ANYWHERE on the food surface of our cookware – especially if it is a decorative food surface that is added to the pot and is truly otherwise unnecessary. [Plain seasoned cast iron was good enough for my grandmother and great grandmother and had no toxicants.]
Hi Tamara, I have the Le Creuset skillet pan that has the matte black on the inside (no enamel), I don’t see any tests done on that interior coating from LC – have you done any?
I’m new here, so correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem like the concern is with the interior enamel that touches the food on this Dutch oven you tested. Is all of the concern concentrated to the outer coating only? I was just in the market for one of these Dutch ovens when my friend turned me on to your work. Now I’m leaning towards the Staub after seeing your test results. Staub’s website says the interior of their DO’s are sprayed black matte enamel, but your test concluded that their interior was non-toxic so I’m considering going that route. Also, Im starting to get the feeling that all enamelware is toxic. Do you avoid enameled surfaces completely? I was looking at a porcelain-coated enamel baking tray from a different company, but now I’m skeptical. I wish your Amazon kitchen store was more extensive. Many thanks for the work you do! Kindly.
Pretty much all enamelware tests positive for some toxicants (heavy metals.) The interiors generally have Lead or Cadmium or even Antimony (which was added to the list of known carcinogens in December of 2021.) We have chosen not to have any enamelware in our home. If you put “enamel” or “enamelware” in the search bar you will see the range of test results – and the problem is that most consumers do not have access to this type of testing for the products in their homes so (especially given the variation with toxicants enamelware) it is better to avoid it.