It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to email@example.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
I recently saw a Lodge brand iron pan that I like better than my other brand, Emeril, as far as cast iron pans are concerned. The Lodge brand is heavier than the Emeril brand pan; does that mean the other brand may contain lead or some other impurity metal that is harmful to health?
I have used my Lodge cast iron pans for years and, truth be told, never thought much about it. There's pretty tight regulation on lead content of cooking and serving utensils manufactured and sold in America. That's not to say that some products might get through, however, and there have been reports of imported items making it into stores.
The question about your Lodge pan was pretty easy to answer. Here's what their web site says:
Are Lodge Enamel products tested for lead safety?
Lodge utilizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Test Procedure 220.127.116.11a Leachability of Lead and Cadmium for Glazed Ceramic Surfaces. The FDA Division of Compliance Programs uses ASTM-C738 as the Standard Method of Test for glazed ceramic. In addition to information provided by vendors, Lodge Manufacturing Company uses third party testing to ensure that products with the Lodge name comply with standards set forth by the United States Food & Drug Administration. All our domestic as well as imported cookware complies with the FDA Standards. We are also in compliance with California Proposal 65, the world’s most rigid standard for lead and cadmium content.
Thanks for writing.
Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.