Cookware is constructed from many different materials. Most commercially sold pots and pans are manufactured according to standards that protect consumers from harm that may come from cookware surfaces. Properly treated ceramic cookware is safe although caution should be taken with some glazes and finishes.
Safe Ceramic Cookware Guidelines
Only use ceramic cookware manufactured in a controlled environment that has labels on the packaging that guarantee the finish has no more than the acceptable levels of lead and cadmium. Avoid handmade or hand-glazed varieties with no information on the cookware components.
Ceramic Cookware Concerns
Ceramic pots and pans produced in uncontrolled or poorly regulated factories may have high levels of lead, cadmium or pigments in their glazes that are absorbed by foods during cooking or baking. These substances are harmful to the body when ingested and may cause serious illness. Old or antique ceramic cookware, or that manufactured in countries without strict safety guidelines may contain harmful substances.
Ceramic cookware without labels certifying it's safety are appropriate for decorative purposes, as containers for large kitchen utensils or to hold miscellaneous domestic items like pot scrubbers and sponges. Do not use approved ceramic cookware with scratched or marred interiors as harmful components in the metal beneath the ceramic glaze may seep into foods.