Nickel-free cookware is a huge concern for those with a nickel allergy. So what is the best cookware for those with this allergy? Find out if you should be concerned about a nickel-free diet and where to find the best healthy cookware…
Does my cookware contain Ni?
Ni-free cookware is easily defined as cookware that is not stainless steel. Stainless steel contains both nickel and chromium to create the desirable properties it has of being durable, non-reactive, and shiny. The ratio of these metals is used to describe the quality of stainless steel, 18/10 and 18/8 being two common ratios. The first number (18) is the percentage of chromium present, and the second number (10 & 8) represents the percentage of nickel present…the higher the numbers, the stronger the metal. In other words, 18/10 stainless consists of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. Stainless steel cookware without nickel would be defined with the ratio of 18/0. Nickel is attributed to giving stainless steel its shiny exterior and aiding in rust protection. Therefore, stainless steel nickel-free cookware is not a popular cookware choice because of the decrease in shiny appearance and increase in reactivity. A popular brand of stainless steel nickel-free cookware is called Silit.
What are the risks involved?
Nickel allergies cause an irritation of the skin known as allergic contact dermatitis. This condition causes an itchy rash when the skin is in direct contact with objects containing nickel such as coins, belt buckles, necklace clasps, metal buttons, earrings, etc. However, available research does not support the claim that using stainless steel cookware causes allergic reactions by ingestion of food containing nickel. A more likely side effect would be skin irritation from handling the cookware. Stainless steel cookware with a heat-resistant plastic or wooden handles would remedy this problem. Trace amounts of nickel and chromium are able to leech into food during cooking in stainless steel cookware, especially when cooking acidic foods such as tomatoes. While both of these metals are dangerous in large amounts, the amounts leached into food during cooking are not known to be a health risk.
What are the best alternatives?
If you do have a nickel-allergy and do not want to risk using stainless steel cookware containing nickel, the healthiest and safest cookware choices include the following:
•Cast iron cookware
•Glass cookware (Pyrex)
•Stainless steel nickel-free cookware (Silit)