Non-stick cookware – health danger?
For years, I’ve been concerned about reports that Teflon and other non-stick cookware contained carcinogens. So I started doing some research on the Internet. I found this recent article on a website called ChasingGreen.org. According to the author,
- Nonstick coatings, such as Teflon, on cookware products release likely carcinogenic fumes when they are overheated.
- These likely carcinogens kill pet birds, cause health problems for plant workers, are linked to female infertility, and are persistent in the environment and in the blood of the general US population.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called on companies to reduce facility emissions and product content of these likely carcinogens.
- PFOA-free nonstick options include anodized aluminum, well-seasoned cast-iron, and pans with an enamel coating.
- Look for safer cookware options manufactured by Active Concepts Gastrolux, GreenPan, Le Creuset, Lodge Cast Iron, and Revere.
About.com reports similar information, adding that release of the toxins occurs if the heat is too high (over 500 degrees). I was also under the impression that toxins can be released when the pan is scratched by using a metal utensil or harsh scrubber on the surface. About.com has come up with some recommendations:
Using Nonstick Cookware Safely
- Never leave nonstick pans unattended on an open flame or other heat source
- While cooking, don’t let temperatures get hotter than 450 degrees
- Don’t use metal utensils on nonstick cookware
- Wash nonstick cookware by hand using nonabrasive cleaners and sponges (do not use steel wool)
- Don’t stack nonstick cookware on top of each other
- Keep pet birds out of the kitchen
According to an article in Time Magazine, “The EPA has since asked DuPont and seven other companies that use PFOA to phase
out the chemical. Although DuPont disputes the classification as a carcinogen and won’t stop making Teflon, the company has pledged that by 2015, it will reduce the amount of PFOA used to make the coating and will guarantee that the chemical won’t be released into the environment from DuPont manufacturing plants.”
This article was written in 2005, and some new non-stick cookware products have come out on the market since then. Are they any better? I guess only time will tell. Hopefully, no lives will be lost before we find out. If you ask someone who prefers the most green and natural lifestyle possible, they will tell you to use iron skillets, properly treated/oiled, and clay cookware whenever possible.
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