Teflon coated cookware is dangerous to the health
What is PFOA?
Perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA is a polymerization aid that has been used for many years in the manufacture of nonstick cookware. While its use is slowly being phased out, unless you’ve recently purchased cookware that is specifically labeled PFOA-free, then it’s likely that the nonstick pans in your kitchen are a source of this potentially dangerous chemical.
PFOA and other hazardous toxins have been shown to be released from nonstick cookware when heated to high temperatures. 680 degrees Fahrenheit is often cited as the temperature at which toxic gases are easily detectable from Teflon coated pans, though airborne particles have being measured as low as 464 degrees Fahrenheit.
These kind of temperatures aren’t that hard to reach if you leave a pan on the hot plate for a while or heat it up on a high setting. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to use metal utensils on your nonstick cookware for it to be dangerous.
While I definitely wouldn’t want to eat Teflon particles, PFOA and other harmful gases are released due to high temperatures, regardless of whether your frying pan or saucepan is chipped or scratched.
Non-stick cookware may cause cancer
The non-stick coating, used in Dupont Teflon pans, has been found to release one or more (up to 15) different toxic gases when heated to high temperatures. Did you know that non-sick cookware is made with a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been labeled carcinogenic by a scientific review panel that advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This is a chemical that is being used in many household products from cookware, coated paper plates and even microwave popcorn bags. The side effects have been known for a long time, and one of the most written about is its effects on pet birds.
Why are house (pet) birds dying?
The out gassing of heated cookware has been fatal to pet birds and (in humans) it creates flu-like symptoms of chills, headache, fever and nausea. In humans, the symptoms subside in a few days and chances are many people who have experienced sickness – attributed it to a short bout with a virus.
Beware of high-heat cooking
The more serious side effect from Teflon and other non-stick pans come from the perflurooctanoic acid that is released at high temperatures. Naturally, Dupont denies there is any danger in using their product with high heat. (are you surprised?)
However, in studies of heated non-stick pans on conventional stove tops – commissioned by the consumer watchdog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) – it only took two to five minutes to reach temperatures that can release dangerous toxins.
Think twice BEFORE buying any product from Dupont
In April 2003, the Environmental Working Group filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action against Dupont for what was classified as an 18-year cover-up regarding the dangers of Teflon”s chemical – PFOA. In response to the EWG findings, DuPont was fined 16.5 million dollars for failing to report the dangers of this chemical.
Studies showed that Dupont was polluting drinking water and presented a very real danger to pregnant women and the baby’s they were caring. Research at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md. linked this chemical to low birth rates, while other studies found it caused unusual birth defects.
Toxic (cookware) gases can threaten hormonal balance
A recent study has shown a link between thyroid disease, cancer and Teflon. The study was published in the journal Environmental, which is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health, and reported that people with high levels of PFOA, were more likely to develop thyroid problems, as well as various types of cancers.
Dupont’s own scientists have said that the product will release fumes that can cause flu-like symptoms in cases of overheating at 662 degrees fahrenheit – a temperature that can easily be exceeded when a pan is either preheated on a burner, placed beneath a broiler or in a self-cleaning oven.
The worst issue behind Teflon pots and pans
As careful as we try to be – Teflon pots and pans can easily get scratched at some point. In fact, the truth is many people tend to use battered and scratched Teflon cookware. Teflon is usually used to cover aluminum which in itself is a dangerous metal – implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The best way to protect you and your family is to use cookware made from: ceramic, stainless steel or glass. If you know anyone cooking with Teflon pots and pans.
About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She had the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in Natural Healing including Naturopaths, Scientist, and Energy Healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.
With the dangers of Teflon becoming more widely known, many people have wanted PFOA-free pans to cook with. Old cast iron cookware does not have the same health concerns, but it is of course much more difficult to clean and a bit of a nightmare once food gets burnt on. A better alternative to Teflon, that I use in my own kitchen, is new nonstick ceramic cookware.
After looking around for a while, I chose this new ceramic set that is 100% PFOA and Teflon free. While still nonstick, they are far more scratch resistant than Teflon and have a very high heat resistance of 850 degrees Fahrenheit or 450 Celsius. The ceramic coating is also said to be a better heat conductor than traditional cookware coatings and does not contain any toxic chemicals or pollutants.
If you only use your frying pan for high temperature cooking then this ceramic 2 set is good value for a positive change in your kitchen.
I’d still advise against cooking your food at really high temperatures or chipping away at cookware coatings with metal utensils, but ceramic cookware does seem to be the future of nonstick cooking. If you’re still using those old nonstick pans, with all of the Teflon dangers that have come to light in recent years, it could be well worth the upgrade.