There have been findings that the PFC chemicals found in nonstick pans is not healthy. This easy to clean and popular cookware is considered by some experts as potentially toxic. The danger only begins if the pans overheat. At this point the breakdown begins and smaller chemical fragments are released by the nonstick pans. How hot is overheat point? The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested cheap, lightweight pans and was surprised at how quickly some of the pans got way too hot. At an estimated 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the coating of nonstick pans starts to decompose. At 660 degrees Fahrenheit and above, the nonstick pan itself may more significantly decompose by emitting strong fumes that is enough to cause polymer-fume fever. The polymer-fume fever is a temporary flulike condition characterized by chills, headache, and fever. It won’t kill you, but it can kill the birds.
Nonstick pans used the Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, or the perfluorinated compounds known as PFC. The chemicals were used to keep the food from sticking to the cooking ware. How dangerous is it?
This chemical has been found to possibly elevate thyroid disease, cholesterol, and reduced fertility. Your blood level goes up from using a Teflon coated cookware. We all know that nonstick pans make our lives easier, but, unfortunately, they were found to promote cancer.
The EPA has been concerned about PFOA because it last a long time with people and in the environment. The Environmental Working Group revealed that at 660 degrees Fahrenheit, the Teflon releases two carcinogens and six toxic gases. The PFOA is the chemical that manufacturers the fluoropolymers and makes up the nonstick coating.
The PFOA has been associated with tumors and developmental problems in animals. A study conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found an association between the PFOA exposure and the small decreases in the head circumference and of the infants’ body weight.
In 2015, the EPA reached an agreement with eight companies, including that of DuPont to phase out the PFOA completely. However, the possible sources of PFOA are everywhere, which includes the microwave popcorn bags, fast food packaging, shampoo, carpeting, and clothing.
FDA made a statement about the PFOA. They tested nonstick pans to evaluate the danger of PFOA exposure and they found that the manufacturing process drives off the PFOA and the risk presented to consumers is considered negligible.
Unfortunately, the EWG commissioned tests in 2003 demonstrated that it can be done in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top. Any cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.
Can it make us fat?
About 98% of Americans have the PFOA or C8 in their blood. It is becoming clear that people cooking with nonstick pans are facing a major health risk. The children of pregnant women found to have the highest levels were found to be more likely overweight in early adulthood and facing abnormally high insulin levels. The PFOA is also used in waterproof clothing, sealing tapes, fire resistant tubings and casings. It could end in the environment coming from different avenues.
How dangerous are nonstick pans?
The chemical could potentially cause liver cell damage, spark arthritis, produce smaller babies, influence your immune system or antibody, annihilate your arteries, and associated with out of control cholesterol among adults.
You can use cast iron, ceramic, glass, and clay for cooking. They do not leak chemicals and provides an even heat distribution. Even if you follow a healthy diet meal plan, but the cooking ware you are using is nonstick, you are still exposing yourself to a greater health risk.
Other safer pans are the stainless steel and the cast iron. The stainless steel browns food better than non-stick surfaces while the cast iron is extremely durable and can be pre-heated to temperatures that will brown meat and withstand oven temperatures well.
EWG (n.d.). Healthy Home Tips: Tip 6 – Skip the Nonstick to Avoid the Dangers of Teflon. EWG Org.
Rodale, M. (2012). How safe is your cookware?
Schaffer, A. Nervous about nonstick? WebMD.
Zerbe, L. (2013). 13 reasons to ditch your favorite pots & pans.