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I am looking for a stainless steel cookware and while researching on the best kind of stainless steel cookware, I came across this comment on youtube:

Actually 18/10 steel is better and costlier. You're talking in terms of health hazard where more nickel (10) is considered more harmful than less (8). But in reality more nickel makes a pot sturdier and shinier and less prone to chemical leaching.

So, my question is, is it true that more nickel in case of stainless steel means less leaching? I know 18/10 is better in heat distribution, is sturdier and better than 18/8, but it also has more Nickle. To me, it doesn't make sense. But then again, chemistry was not subject. Or I am worrying too much and just get either 18/8 or 18/10 steel?

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    $\begingroup$ What about earthen pots for cooking? Most stainless steel cookware will leach very very tiny amounts of metals into food especially if it is acidic. Also mechanical abrasion while moving the spoon also introduces metal into food. Teflon coated stuff will leach Teflon. Iron pots will leach iron. There is no way out. Aluminum cookware is also used by millions for cooking. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 3, 2022 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ See this link as well: rocheindustry.com/1810-stainless-steel-vs-188-stainless-steel/… $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Aug 3, 2022 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ @AChem Earthen pots also leach depending on what soil they used. I have been using aluminium pots till now. I heard stainless steel are much better than aluminium. I have thrown every teflon coated utensil. $\endgroup$
    – 4-K
    Aug 4, 2022 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ @AChem I saw that link while researching. It still doesn't answer my question whether more nickle in 18/10 means less leaching or more. $\endgroup$
    – 4-K
    Aug 4, 2022 at 5:59
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    $\begingroup$ I strongly suspect what you put in the pan will have a far greater effect on health than the precise make up of the steel the pan is made of. $\endgroup$
    – abligh
    Aug 4, 2022 at 6:38

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No stainless steel of the 18/8 family ( about 5 grades) leaches material in normal cooking service. Not to say they are immune to all possible abuse. The element that can make a difference is carbon, higher C can combine with more chrome removing it from solution where Cr provides the primary corrosion resistance. Not to worry, modern steel making generally gets C to 0.02 % max ( L grade). I am trying to say for cookware there is no difference.

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  • $\begingroup$ Being old , I recall Consumer Reports magazine evaluated stainless cookware over 50 years ago One test was something like simmer sauerkraut for 100 hours. they did find some pitting . If that is not is recipe you use , no problem. $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2022 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ But what about nickle? Does more nickle means less leaching of metal in food as stated by that user in the comment? Or more nickle means more nickel leaching? $\endgroup$
    – 4-K
    Aug 4, 2022 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ "Leeching " nickel from cookware sounds like it was written by a journalist, not a metallurgist. Closest thing I can think of is nickel aluminum bronze may lose nickel in seawater under rare circumstances. $\endgroup$ Aug 4, 2022 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ Nickel is the least active metal in stainless steels so added nickel will not leach. However, if the steel is of low quality and improperly melted etc nickel domains in the steel can be cathodic and hasten pitting corrosion of the iron and chromium. Workmanship is probably more important than 8 or10% nickel. For cooking acidic foods I use a well-seasoned cast iron saucepan [it does react a bit] or a Teflon coated saucepan. Storage is probably best in well washed polypropylene or polyethylene or soda-lime glass. [Glass leaches mostly harmless ions but breaks easily] $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Aug 20, 2023 at 4:44

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