Debra Lynn Dadd

Is Tin Bakeware Safe?

QUESTION:

I have two daughters who both recently got married and I have been trying to determine the safest type of bakeware for all of us to use. Of course I want to avoid non-stick coatings as well as aluminum. Stainless steel is available, but not a good conductor of heat and doesn't brown well for baking. Stainless steel that is sandwiched with aluminum also seems to be coated with an alloy of stainless plus aluminum. The silicone bakeware seems safe as far as we know so far? There is one company (Kaiser) that makes a line that is steel coated in tin---------What do you think about the safety of that? Do you know of any health concerns related to cooking in tin? I have really been struggling with this issue and would appreciate any insight you could share with me.

Thanks so much!

POSTED BY KAREN :: NORTH CAROLINA USA :: 09/13/2006 2:53 PM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

First a general comment about toxicity. We need to keep in mind that how toxic something is has to do with 1) it's inherernt toxicity 2) the amount of exposure 3) the frequency of exposure and 4) the condition of the body being exposed.

Tin, being one of the elements on the periodic table, is rather like water--you can't live without it, but too much and you could drown. It could be said to be "natural" in the sense that it exists in nature and it a substance our bodies recognize.

Tin has been established to be an essential trace element for some animals, but some researchers are unsure if tin is essential to human health or not. Tin has been used to make household goods since the Bronze Age.

On the positive side, tin supports the adrenal glands--low tin is a common nutritional cause of low adrenals. Other symptoms associated with significantly below-normal levels of tin include depression and fatigue, low energy, certain types of headaches, insomnia, digestion problems, and various aches and pains.

Tin used to be used to make cans, cups, and pans. Documented toxic effects were limited to gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Excess tin was rapidly excreted, and no long-term negative health or toxic effects reported. And these cases were due to acidic foods stored over long periods of time in tin. We should note that uncoated tin cans, cups, and pans are no longer sold, due, I am assuming to sufficient numbers of health problems caused by them.

Putting this all together, I would say that given that the food has a relatively short contact time with the tin, it is unlikely it would absorb much. And there seems to be a general shortage of tin in our lives now, rather than too much. So I would venture to say it's probably OK.

I did quite a bit of research on silicone bakeware and use it myself. I don't experience any problems with it at all. See Is silicone cookware safe? and Silicone baking mats vs parchment paper for the details.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

What about stoneware? Once it is seasoned, it seems to work wonderfully. Linmhc

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Stoneware is fine with me! :-)

POSTED BY LIN :: ILLINOIS USA :: 09/24/2006 2:14 AM


I was doing some research on copper cookware last week and came across the Ruffoni brand, made from copper lined with tin. On their website RuffoniUSA.com, they say "copper was the first metal used by man...discovered in the Stone Age and first used between 8 and 10000 years ago" and "already by 3500 BC, we had learned to line copper with tin, the most inert of metals. " [italics mine]

I got to thinking about this, and (what I am about to say is my own logic), it occurred to me that tin is one of the basic elements of the Earth. It is naturally existing. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is a manmade concoction of various metals which do not occur together in nature, and leach into food and water. For this reason, tin seems to me to be superior.

Debra :-)

POSTED BY DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DEBRA LYNN DADD :: DLD123.COM :: FLORIDA USA :: 10/03/2006 2:06 PM


I am surprised by the silicon information. We purchased a silicon baking pan and when I used it, it outgassed in the oven and the food we cooked in it also had an an off taste. Has anyone else had any experience like this? I am curious now. We live right down the road from Dow Chemical :( and silicon everything is abundent here.

I really like stoneware, but it is very expensive and hard to store.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: I'd like to know if anyone has had a similar experience with the silicone. I have silcone spatulas and Silpat baking sheets only. I've never used the brightly colored cookware. I've never had any outgassing from the silcone products I've used.


POSTED BY LEAH :: MICHIGAN USA :: 10/13/2006 5:46 PM


I do not have experience with the pans because my health food store refuses to sell them. In their research, they found the pan liners (like silpat and others) have a large amount of petroleum in them. This is not something I have been able to confirm doing a quick web search. Still, they will sell the parchment paper only. They sell the unbleached and quilon-free variety to avoid the chlorine and heavy metals (such as chrome) found in other silicone coated papers. This brand is "If You Care" and there is a website about these products (not about the baking dishes). The flexibility of the silicone baking dishes scares me as it is the additives or "branches" of the silicone chain that gives it its flexibility. I would like to know exactly what that additive or element is before purchasing and using the cookware.
Carrol

POSTED BY CARROL :: FLORIDA USA :: 10/17/2006 5:19 PM


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