Teflon Pans are very practical to use! But are they always safe cooking solution ?
Nothing is worse than food encrusted on cookware and the ensuing time suck to scrub, soak or repeat. Except one thing – Your cooking is poisoning you and directly your family.
The culprit? The chemicals in Teflon Pans and other non-stick products known as per- and polyfluorinated substances, or just simply PFAS.
A slew of attempted cover-ups by industry kept the notorious Teflon Pans industrial chemical in products sold in stores and used daily in kitchens despite years of lawsuits and public health campaigns. Finally in 2005, U.S gave fine to the chemical giant Dupont. Environmental Protection Agency for its role and though the company never admitted guilt they did agree to phase out the use of one of the PFAS (called PFOA) from 2005 to 2015.
Why can’t I use Teflon Pans and other non-stick cookware?
PFOA is just one chemical in the family of per- and polyfluorinated substances. In other words, there are many more bad guys out there just like it. Non-stick products expose households to low levels of the chemical, but even at low levels, PFAS are very persistent in the human body.
Health Impacts from Exposure to PFAS
Humans and animals ingest these chemical from drinking water or eating food that contain PFAS. The water exposure is more typical for communities with an industrial facility where these chemicals were produced or used to manufacture other products.
And because PFAS stay in the human body for long periods of time, repeated exposure through repeated use of non-stick products allow it to accumulate in our bodies, even at low doses.
At that point, we can see adverse health effects:
- Reproductive and developmental effects
- Problems with the immune system
- Tissue damage of the liver
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Thyroid changes
- Developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (low birth weight for example)
- Cancer (testicular and kidney were specifically found in human epidemiological studies)
In 2015, two leading environmental health scientists published new research proving PFOA contamination in drinking water is a much more serious threat to health than previously thought. Their research found that even very tiny concentrations of PFOA are harmful.
Much of the legal work requiring Dupont to clean up contaminated drinking water sources have limit to West Virginia and Ohio water systems. However an EPA testing program starting in 2013 found PFOA in 94 public water systems in even 27 states!
But how do I deal with the problem of food sticking to cookware without Teflon Pans?
Eliminate exposure as much as possible if you want to protect your health.
Here are some tips:
Use the following alternative cookwares:
- Real Cast Iron
- Stainless Steel
If you are stuck with a non-stick, make sure to:
- USE the lowest temperatures possible; NEVER use it at high heat.
- ALWAYS use an exhaust fan over the stove while cooking with it.
- Keep pet birds out of the kitchen while cooking
- Replace the non-stick with an alternative as SOON as possible.
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