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Question from Dalia

Hi Debra,

Just saw a Proposition 65 warning on a knife.

What causes cancer or birth defects in knives?

Debra’s Answer

This article answers your question quite thoroughly and explains a lot about California’s Proposition 65.

THE CUTTING EDGE: What’s the Deal with Cancer Warnings on Knives?

Basically anything that is made of stainless steel gets the Proposition 65 warning because of the chromium in stainless steel.

Most of us alive today use stainless steel knives, but before there was stainless steel, all knives were made of carbon steel. I inherited a couple of carbon steel knives from my great aunt. They are great. Much sharper edge. But the blades turn black (that’s why they invented stainless steel).

You can still get carbon steel knives. And, in fact, they are preferred by chefs.

SERIOUS EATS: Why Serious Cooks Use Carbon Steel

KNIFE WORKS: The Pros and Cons of Stainless vs. High Carbon Steel Knife Blades

Ask your favorite cooking store if they have carbon steel knives or look for them online.

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