You know you used it growing up even though your mom’s pans were all beat up and flaking. You know you have used it around your own house, and you know that restaurants use it to cook your food with. You may have even heard it was bad for you. But do you know why and just how bad?
Teflon is the trademarked name for Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This chemical, which makes things “non-stick” in its use here, should be classified as a “likely carcinogen” (cancer-causing substance) according to some advisers to the EPA. You would think that that should be enough to get the EPA to ban its use in tons of products, but alas no…they have just decided that the companies using Teflon should make it less likely to break down. Huh? Yep, in effect, everybody can keep using Teflon as long as they figure out a way to keep it from leeching into everything that it is used in…cookware, clothes, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, etc. And companies have until 2015 to do so. I can’t wait to see what type of chemical they come up with to make it “safer” and what that new chemical will do to us.
See, within two to five minutes on a stove, cookware coated with Teflon can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to thousands of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year. Sounds safe, right? From the Environmental Working Group:
“In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop 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 (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446°F. 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. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000°F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.“
Well that certainly sounds safe, no? A few years back we switched to stainless steel pots and pans and have not looked back. They might take a little bit longer to clean up, but it is worth it knowing I am not cooking any additional chemicals into my food, never mind releasing more dangerous gases into the air. If you have pans coated with Teflon, I would really advise you to get rid of them and buy stainless steel or cast iron ones; even the cheap ones from Target or somewhere like that are better than using the ones coated with Teflon. Multiple studies have shown how toxic this stuff is…would you like a side of polytetrafluoroethylene or perfluorooctanoic acid with your eggs? Did not think so.
You may also like:
- What Is BHT (BUTYLATED HYDROXYTOLUENE) And Why You Should Avoid It.
- Is Your Cookware Causing High Molybdenum Levels In Your Blood?