the ecovangelist


The sticky truth about non-stick pans January 14, 2011

Filed under: In your body — theecovangelist @ 3:09 pm
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Non-stick pans

Non-stick pans…what a great idea!!  They require no butter or oil, allow eggs to slide off, and make cooking so easy….what could be better!!  Unfortunately, along with our omelets…little known harmful chemicals such as PFOA & PTFE, are also sliding off.  Teflon, manufactured by DuPont, is the most well known non-stick coating. The EPA has asked DuPont and several non-stick cookware companies to phase out PFOA by 2015.


What is it?

  • Non-stick pans are coated with PTFE (polytetraflouroethylene) coating, the most common PTFE is Teflon
  • PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) is a chemical used to bond the non-stick coating to the pan

How does non-stick coating (such as Teflon) get into my body?

  • When non-stick pans are used at high heat, non-stick coating can break down and be released into toxic smoke and fumes
  • Non stick coatings can chip off from scratches & overuse and end up in your food
  • PFOA has been found in 95% of Americans and in the blood of most newborns

How is it bad for me?

  • Cancer in animals studies, especially when young animals are exposed
  • Low birth weight in newborns, in mother’s who were exposed to PFOA
  • PFOA has been linked to birth defects
  • PFOA linked to increased level of cholesterol
  • PFOA linked to endocrine disruption
  • PTFE fumes can cause fever and “Teflon flu” with symptoms of chills, headaches and fevers


Safer Alternatives

  • Stainless steel pans- Great to cook with, but even with lots of butter and oil, will sometimes stick
  • Hard anodized
  • Iron Skillet- yes our parent’s generation had it right, the good’ol iron skillet

If you must use non-stick

  • Do not use at high heats
  • Do not use metal utensils on non-stick cookware
  • Wash non-stick cookware by hand
  • If the coating starts to chip, it’s time to toss the pan


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