Do you love cooking? If yes, then maybe your favorite kitchen item is your non-stick cookware. It’s not hard to see why – cleaning up these non-stick pans and pot is a breeze. The special coating on it keeps the food you are cooking from bonding to the surface of the pan. It allows you to cook with lesser oil or butter and saves you a few minutes during kitchen cleanup. But seriously speaking, are these non-stick pans safe for us?
Lisa McManus, executive testing and tasting editor for America’s Test Kitchen, says that a nonstick pan is typically made of aluminum and then is either coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE (Teflon is a name brand of this coating) or has ceramic applied to the pan with no PTFE.
Most nonstick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, which is a chemical made using surfactant perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or “C8”). This is a carcinogenic chemical which starts emitting toxic fumes when the pan gets too hot. These fumes can cause flu-like symptoms in humans and can actually be lethal to birds. Overheating the pans can also make the coating less effective. At about 300 degrees Celcius or about 600 degrees Fahrenheit, polytetrafluoroethylene starts to dissociate, thereby releasing these toxic fumes that you inhale every time you cook with a non-stick pot or pan!
Moreover, when you use your non-stick pans on a daily basis, they are likely to scratch and break at some point, especially if you are using cheap or poor-quality pans or those that have not been well taken care off. This increases your risk of releasing poison in your home! Sadly, your best friend in the kitchen may actually be your family’s worst health enemy.
The Roller Coaster History Of Nonstick Kitchenware
Nonstick cookware has been widely used by many households. For more than ten years, its progress and fallbacks seem to be a roller coaster ride. Its toxicity began when Teflon was found to have harmful effects on human health. Many people have known about it, thereby making it unwanted by most households. However, after some adjustments, it was again accepted by the public.
As mentioned before, Teflon is the brand name of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is a chemical made using surfactant perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or “C8”). This chemical has been linked to many serious health issues.
Due to this, manufacturers think of substitutes and ways wherein they can be able to sell their products without the people thinking that using nonstick cookware can possibly harm their health.
In 2009, GenX was introduced. According to the manufacturers, it was the safer substitute for PFOA, thus assumed by buyers to be nontoxic. Again, almost every household has patronized nonstick cookware.
Reason Why Nonstick Pans Are Bad for You
The problem with GenX is that it is not actually safe for consumers. In fact, it has a lot of health risks as well as extreme health-related issues, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It only means that this said to be “replacement chemical and is a safer substitute for PFOA” is also toxic.
In an article written in healthyholisticliving.com, Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist, and a non-toxic living consultant said that:
“There was no evidence to support GenX as a safer substitute. It was simply not PFOA, but its structure was quite similar. GenX also falls into the category of PFAS (Or PFC) chemicals. Therefore, it is not shocking that in recent years since GenX came on the market, new research, particularly studies conducted with animals, have suggested that GenX has similar toxic effects as PFOA. So we’d be smart to remove any nonstick cookware made from GenX off our shopping list and get it out of our kitchens too. It should be clear at this point that substituting a known toxic PFAS chemical with a structurally-similar option can’t be trusted as health-protective either.”
There are other ways wherein you can save yourself as well as your family from these harmful chemicals that are often detected within the foods you cook. Better options for cooking include cast iron, glass, or stainless steel. Take this issue seriously. Avoid using non-stick pans or pots in order to protect your family from the danger it may cause.