Non-stick Cookware Concerns

531931_83735513In a recent article in my local newspaper I read about non-stick pans and its effect on the environment. I had heard some bad things about teflon and why we shouldn’t use it but never like this.

This excerpt is from The Oregonian Food Day section from Tuesday, August 18, 2009.

Traditional nonstick pans are coated with polytrafluoroethylene, PTFE for short. When overheated PTFE releases polymer fumes that can cause fleeting chills, headache and fever.  Those stories you hear about fumes from searing-hot nonstick pans killing pet birds are true: Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems (to be fair, the fumes emitted by overheated cooking oils can kill birds, too).

Now you need to know that PFOA, a chemical used in making PTFE coatings such as teflon, is not only found in non-stick cookware but is also found in items such as eyeglass lenses, waterproof outdoor gear, ball bearings, pizza boxes, and more. Thankfully the EPA classified PFOA as a carcinogen and has urged that companies eliminate its use by 2015.

The important thing to know about non-stick cookware is that if used properly they wont emit toxic fumes but that means keeping the heat to a medium temp or below. But when cooking we rarely use our pans in a low to medium heat. So when you heat to medium-high or above you are abusing your non-stick cookware and causing environmental and health concerns.

So your best bet is to limit your use of non-stick pans or avoid them altogether. Check out the Cookware Consumer Guide for the Big List of the Best of the Best.

3 thoughts on “Non-stick Cookware Concerns”

  1. Seriously girl! Do you read my mind? I was just talking to my mom about this the other day. Because we cook quite a bit over here our pans seem to get a bit of abuse. I notice pretty quickly that there are chips in our non-stick coatings even when we are very careful with them. I don’t like to use them after they get too bad, but don’t like having to replace and waste pans. Off to read…Good timing!

  2. I found your link to Cookware Consumer Guide for the Big List of the Best of the Best very misleading. This article implies that you can find non-toxic cookware items there. But the Rachel Ray set that you feature is, in fact, exaclty the kind of non-stick pan that this article is suggesting that you avoid.

  3. Karen,
    I was using that site as a reference point to start from to find good quality cookware. Obviously some people still like the non-stick so there will be reviews for that too. I would say again avoid the non-stick!

Leave a Reply