Teflon And Other Nonstick Health Danger

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My parents recently migrated to using only cast iron and stainless steal cookware and tossed out all of their non-stick ones. They had seen a special report on the toxicity of Teflon and nonstick cookware and how the chemicals used in the nonstick coatings of our pots and pans can break down and release harmful chemicals into our food if heated over the suggested temperature of 440°F. I have some Teflon cookware and appliances. My rice cooker also has a nonstick coating. I'm going to replace all of them. After reading about the toxic fumes emitted from Teflon products, the first thing the came to mind was the awful smell of my mini heater and the toaster oven when I first used them and sometimes thereafter.

Below are some of the findings I find while researching online about the danger of Teflon/nonstick cookware. The sources are listed under Sources Credit at the bottom of this post. Most of the test findings are preliminary but I'm not going to wait for a couple of more years of research to confirm that the chemicals used in my Teflon cookware, toaster oven, iron, heater, and food wrappers are indeed poisonous.

DANGER OF TEFLON AND OTHER NONSTICK COOKWARE:

- Lab studies suggest that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in making nonstick coating, can cause cancer and birth defects in animals, and might pose a risk in humans. PFOA stays in the body for years and in the environment indefinitely. ~ Consumer Reports

- Teflon pans and pots, if heated above 500 degrees, will emit fumes that can lead to polymer fume fever in humans and kill birds which is why DuPont recommends keeping pet birds out of the kitchen if you cook with Teflon. ~ Straight Dope

- DuPont claims their products are safe under normal use; however, infared therometer that were used in tests to measure the temperature of various nonstick and Teflon pans showed the following: a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stove top burner reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721°F in just five minutes under the same test conditions. At 680°F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. ~ Ecomall

A study by Environmental Working Group, in collaboration with Commonweal in 2005 found chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of US-born infants including the Teflon chemical PFOA Similarly, researchers at John Hopkins Hospital, who released findings in 2006, found PFOA the Teflon chemical, in umbilical cord blood in 99% of 300 newborns tested. The Canadian government is introducing legislation to ban PFOA." ~ Lotus Foods Stainless



Sources Credit:
Consumer Reports
Straight Dope
Ecomall 
Lotus Foods Stainless

23 comments:

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Uh...this is bad...thanks for sharing.

Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds said...

This is even more of a concern for me now that I'm cooking on a gas stove. That thing does heat up way quicker and I'm not sure I can stay under that temp to avoid the Teflon "flu". This was on 20/20 or some program a couple of years back.

Meldylocks and Her Three Bears said...

Yeah, heard about this on the net a few years back...and I never buy non-stick stuff, oh and I just changed my non-stick interior pot of my rice cooker into a s/s one... But one thing which I'm still wondering...how high can the tempreture go when we are cooking? Is it possible to reach 400'C when cooking?

RoseBelle said...

@Meldlocks: I read pan frying and deep frying can exceed 500 degrees. I wouldn't want to wonder and play the guessing game. It's safer to just use stainless steel or iron cast pans.

Ecomall (http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/teflon4.htm) has an article in which a food professor tested the temperature of pans using gas and electric stoves. If you have time, check out the article.

Sommer J said...

that's why i love cast iron skillets! my silly mommy brain JUST discovered your blog. going to poke around now :)

JamericanSpice said...

Wow. This is very interesting and scary.

Thank you for sharing!

Buckeroomama said...

It is scary, isn't it? I totally loved Teflon when I first discovered it... until I read that they're bad! We got rid of our Teflon skillet immediately. I miss the non-stick part of what they do, though.

ModernMom said...

I have afriend who is immediately sick when ever he eats food cooked in Teflon. Scary

Dora said...

Yes I came across the article about the danger of non-sticking coating too & I shld ask my mom to change... Hey, I have an award for you. Pls come over to claim when free :-)

Wendy said...

ugh. This is something I sort of want to be in denial about. Last summer, I was totally obsessed with this and planned to get all cast iron pans. I spend over $100 on a le creuset pan. Honestly though, it sucks!! Teflon is just so much nicer to cook with. Ever try frying an egg in a cast iron pan?! I wish there were a good alternative.

I've also recently thought about bringing lunch to work in plastic containers (like the ones you get with carry out). They were so nice, are free, basically leakproof, and can be washed in the dishwasher, but I think that stuff is horrible for you too - especially microwaved. I'm going to invest in a set of glass containers for lunch and leftovers. Maybe one at a time.

Muthering Heights said...

Ewww, teflon is so scary!

Mei Teng said...

A shop selling winter clothing recently introduced me to La Fuma, a brand that sells winter coats made from high quality teflon material. I wasn't aware of toxicity in the material. Thanks for sharing.

Veronica Lee said...

I gave up my Teflon a couple of years ago. But they were great for making 'Loh Mai Fun' and fried rice.
I was missing them and was just contemplating to buy a new non-stick wok when I read your post. Thanks a million for the reminder.

Gina F said...

All I use is cast iron skillets and stainless steal cookware. I love them too!! No need to worry here!!! :o)

~Gina~
motherof1princessand2princes.blogspot.com

Jesson And Rey Ann said...

fantastic thanks for sharing this thought!

Priscilla said...

*sigh* I've heard of this before, but non stick is just sooo easy! I have only one non sstick pan and I suppose I must toss that out now! The rest are stainless steel.. hope thats ok. I heard aluminium (rice cooker) pots and plastic containers are no good as well... *sigh* again...

KidsDreamWork said...

That sounds not good at all! I have so many non-stick cookwares at home, rice cooker, pan etc. Should seriously consider replacing them! Thanks for the sharing!

MinnieRunner said...

Oh, this is alarming. Thanks for sharing.

Jen said...

But it's so hard to give up my non-stick...

Gratitude said...

I just wonder that in this current high-tech environment, why do we still hv to deal with these problems? Alarming isn't it?
+Ant+

BPOTW said...

Wow! Lots of thing I didn't know!

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Rosebelle, Must check with the wife's cooking pans, pots....
as she loves all these whatever new fangled stuff.
Will check our Canadian side too, see what findings too.
Interesting post. Lee.

AVCr8teur said...

Nonstick cookware is so convenient, but all have been removed from my household a few years back. Unfortunately, we eat out a lot so we have no control what is being used in restaurants.