Non-Stick Dangers

From The Daily Green to Dr. Mercola to Care2.com to the EPA (and the sources go on…), the dangers of cooking with Teflon coated pans abound. It’s so scary that DuPont, Teflon’s maker, issued a brochure about not using non-stick cookware near birds. It kills them. Now I know we are not birds but after reading that, I can’t figure out how using a non-stick pan can be a good thing.

There is a an acid called Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) which is actually a synthetic chemical that is used in the manufacturing of traditional nonstick cookware coatings. Stay with me here. The coating itself is called polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE)-most commonly known by its trademark name Teflon. Although PFOA isn’t present in the finished Teflon, it can be formed as a gas when the coating is subjected to high heat (like for cooking eggs?) and begins to breakdown.

If you aren’t yet convinced to go back to good old cast iron, stainless steel or enameled cast iron, read on. An EPA Science Advisory Board recommended that PFOA be upgraded from a “possible human carcinogen” to a “likely human carcinogen.” Why is that not very comforting? And furthermore, DuPont agreed that the health risks are so undeniable that they have voluntarily committed to eliminate the sources of exposure to PFOA from their manufacturing operations and products by……….2015!!!! Am I missing something here?

And what is the fun part of living green that I so clearly espouse? Shopping for new, safe, non-carcinogenic cookware of course! If you want to read a fun, informative article about unsafe and safe cookware, I encourage you to visit www.care2.com and put in “dangers of cookware.” I loved the author’s first cooking tip – “Non-Teflon pans require a small bit of oil-but the few extra calories are better than, say, a poisoned bird or cancer.” Touche, amen and so it is!