Can Cookware be Toxic?
I was going to call this post “Teflon: Bird Killer?” but I thought I might lose you. However, since I think it stinks that things we take for granted as safe might be actually sabotaging our wellness efforts, I am going to share some of the details here about how this common kitchen product has the potential to be harmful to you and your peeps (and yes, pet birds. Stay tuned, parakeet owners). And, I will provide some better alternative options below. So, read and decide for yourself what makes sense for you…
Why is Teflon cookware “bad” for you?
Short-ish version: it has been found to release one or more of 15 different toxic gases that are released when heated. Which chemicals are released depends on the temperature of the pan – more heat, more toxins. This “outgassing” can cause “polymer fume flu,” also known as “Teflon flu,” in humans. This condition is acknowledged by DuPont (Teflon’s creator) as a “mild condition.” But, Teflon nonstick pans do sometimes come with a manufacturer’s warning to “keep birds away” (because the fumes have been attributed to killing pet birds if kept in the kitchen)?!!
While DuPont remains insistent that Teflon® is “safe and inert” with proper use, it voluntarily pledged to phase PFOA out (one of the nastier chemicals involved). DuPont also tells consumers to “use Teflon responsibly” (it considers overheating or burning food “abusive use” of the cookware). Teflon, and ALL cookware that uses nonstick coatings, should not be preheated or used on high heat, according to the experts. (According to peer-reviewed studies, nonstick cookware, including Teflon, begins outgassing at 396°F/202.2°C). [Source: PFOA.com, Wisegeek.com, DuPont.com]
The bottom line is this – avoid using Teflon cookware, especially older Teflon pots and pans (they still have PFOA) and those that have been scratched or damaged.
There are many types of alternate cookware available. Some of the alternatives include:
- Stainless steel – Most real chefs (you know, not me) insist on cooking with stainless steel and won’t touch the non-stick stuff.
- Cast iron is also an alternative to nonstick cooking.
- Finally, there are lots of PFOA and PFTE-free nonstick varieties available on Amazon
Truthfully, I don’t believe that they’re as “clean” as stainless steel, but I bought this set, and Ozeri Green Earth is free of PFOA and PTFE:
So, something to consider and decide for yourself!
Source: Healthy Holistic Living, DuPont, WiseGeek, PFOA.com and lots more on Google!