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Shannon's Edit

Health & Beauty Hazard: Non-Stick Cookware

April 24, 2013
non-stick cookware

I cleaned out my kitchen cupboards long ago from chemical-coated non-stick cookware, after I did some research and found those fancy non-stick fry pans (yep, like the ones you see on Masterchef and on most homeware store shelves) produce highly toxic fumes that leach into food causing cancer and other illnesses.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), after just two to five minutes of heating, coated cookware can exceed the point where the coating breaks apart and , emits toxic particles and gases. At varying temps the coatings can give off at least six toxic gases, including, you guessed it, two carcinogens.

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Researchers have also found that birds exposed to these chemicals hemorrhaged, their bodies filling with a fluid that leads to suffocation. They even have a name for it: Teflon Toxicosis. In humans they call it polymer fume fever, which is said to show signs as an illness similar to influenza.

The findings also showed when coated pans get scratched during cooking, small amounts of plastic and leached aluminum cling to the food, which are of course ingested. Then there are the fumes that make their way into the environment and are inhaled.

A 2005 EWG study, that was done in collaboration with Commonweal, found perflourooctanoic acid, a carcinogenic chemical from non-stick pans, in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. John Hopkins Medical Center also conducted a test in 2006 and found the chemical in the umbilical cord blood of 99% of the 300 infants tested.

So now we’ve all been turned off our dinner, what is the best pan to use? Getting beyond all of the marketing hype that comes with just about every product on the market today, led me to cast iron pans. They’re not only deemed safe to use, but also add iron to the food cooked in them.

After just two to five minutes of heating, coated cookware can exceed the point where the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases. At varying temps the coatings can give off at least six toxic gases, including, you guessed it, two carcinogens.

Steaming veges, instead of frying, is also a better way to keep more food nutrients in tact.

Non-stick cookware is just one modern convenience that’s sending us to an early grave. It’s when we start questioning what we take for granted that we might see what we’ve ignored before. A rule of thumb I love to live by? If it’s in sync with nature, then it must be in sync with me.