By the term “nonstick cookware”, we mean the pans and skillets that have a nonstick coating that allows cooking food without making it sticky to the pan. It is a famous type of cookware nowadays because of its quality and for easy cleaning and maintenance. Even it will allow you to cook food without the use of butter or oil.
In spite of that, the question comes if they are really safe to use or not. In the USA, very recently, almost seventy percent of the cookware sold was nonstick.
A lot of consumers show health-related concerns that arise from the emissions of the harmful chemicals of nonstick cookware. There were a good number of studies and reports from various sources and industries that lead to conflicting issues.
This article will mainly talk about the dangers of using nonstick cookware.
Dangers of Nonstick Cookware
The main danger of nonstick cookware lies in the ingredients of the pan used to make it nonstick. There are a good number of harmful toxins and chemical bonds that can cause serious health complications.
Even the chemicals that are being used for making the pan nonstick can be considered as carcinogenic to health. In order to have a glimpse of its seriousness, just think about that 95 % of the Americans who were identified to be carrying small levels of these harmful substances when their blood was tested.
When it comes to the environment, the main concern remains about the manufacturing plants that make cookware coated with Teflon. A professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania continued studying the water supply close to a Teflon plant in Ohio.
He aimed to find out the effects on people who got exposed to those water. His study found out that those who were exposed to that water supply were affected sixty to eighty times more than that of the general people.
Is Nonstick Teflon Coated Cookware Toxic?
Various researches are being conducted to know about the danger related to the use of nonstick cookware. The EPA conducts continuous monitoring on the use of this cookware because of the chemicals that get released from it while cooking. However, EPA hasn’t given any specific guidelines relating to the threats for health. The 2 chemical substances, PTFE and PFOA are considered as responsible for several health threats. Nevertheless, it remains a bit vague about whether to blame the nonstick cookwares as a whole for this or not.
Dangers of PTFE & PFOA
Here are all the dangers that you will have to keep in mind.
Teflon is used as a coat in many of the nonstick cookware. Its full abbreviation is polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). When Teflon is exposed to very high heat, it starts emitting poisonous gases. This gas can be really very poisonous for your lungs to inhale.
They can also lead to organ failure, infertility, reproductive damages or, even cancer. Researchers say that when cookwares are heated to 600 degrees or, higher than that, various types of toxic gases get released in the environment.
There is another concern about these coatings to get flaked off. As a result, there will be a chance of ingesting this harmful substance. Mostly, this risk lies when poor or, cheap quality cookwares are used.
In addition, when metal instruments like spoons, flippers, spatulas, etc. are used on the cookware for cooking purpose, it increases the risk of flaking to a great extent. This flaked pieces can get mixed with your food while cooking later on, which is really unhealthy.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)
One of the key ingredients in the case of nonstick Teflon cookware is PFOA. This substance was under inquiries and examinations by EPA because of the chemical found in the human blood and in water supplies.
Although EPA is not sure enough about the exact threats that are being exerted by this chemical, they are assuming that it might have a close relation to the formation of cancer in body cells.
On the other hand, the British researchers conducted a study for disease control where they tested the blood of around 4000 adults. As per the research, those whose tested blood samples were positive for PFOA were found to be twice as likely to form the disease called thyroid in them.
The counterparts also had the same risk of developing thyroid disease, but that was lower than these people who had a high risk of developing the disease. From this, the researchers called people to get exposed to as little PFOA as possible.
However, keep in mind that PFOA can stay in the body for a couple of years. As per Environment Working Group, if someone stops the exposure to PFOA completely, it’ll take almost about four years for his body to totally eliminate the accumulated PFOA that got entered into his nerves and tissues.
Toxic Fumes from Nonstick Cookware
At very high heat, the nonstick cookware coat can break down into several chemical agents known as PFIB. It might even form a chemical analog of WWII nerve gas named phosgene. That means the one whom you are considering to be your best friend in the kitchen may be the worst enemy for you and your family’s health.
Therefore, don’t forget that it takes only about 5 minutes for nonstick cookware to release 6 different types of harmful gases.
Cooking is a passion for some people and a kind of labor done out of love. Nevertheless, nonstick cookwares are making that labor turn into a health risk. You can continue using your nonstick cookware or, can eliminate these dangerous products from your life and start living healthy.