Toxic Nonstick Cookware
Is Non-Stick Cookware Harming Your Health?
The safety issues surrounding the toxic chemicals within Teflon nonstick cookware pots and pans was brought to my attention back around 1980. I had been watching a nightly newscast and a segment came on about large numbers of household birds dying without a visible reason.
The newscast was to warn consumers of the toxic chemical which was the reason why these household birds were dying so unexpectedly. A toxic gas known as Perfluoroctanoic Acid was being emitted from Teflon coated non-stick pans.
When the non-stick pans were set on a high heat the toxic gas was produced and it was this airborne poison which was killing household birds.
I walked into the kitchen and threw away every nonstick pan in my cupboard. Since that time I have used only the safer cookware choices of cast iron, stainless steel, and glass pots and pans.
Perfluoroctanoic Acid in Non-Stick Pans
Individuals, agencies, Dupont, and even government agencies have known for years that coated pots and pans (nonstick cookware as it is more commonly referred to) contains a chemical which is a toxic cancer causing agent.
This substance affects humans, and animals alike, and is released into the air when a non-stick cooking pan's Teflon coating breaks down at high temperatures. Birds being much smaller, and thus more sensitive to airborne poisoning, die on the spot from the ingestion of this toxic substance.
By simply cooking your supper at a very high temperature such as that required to fry french fries, the very air around you and your family will be filled with a toxic cancer causing chemical.
The scariest chemical found in non-stick cookware pots and pans is perfluoroctanoic acid. It is also known in the scientific world as "C-8" or chemical 8. This common chemical composition used to bind the non-stick coating to the pan in non-stick cookware has been linked to cancer and birth defects in humans. The government has regulated that this chemical be eliminated from products involved in the human consumption of food by the year 2015, but until that time it is still present in your non-stick cookware pots and pans, and still poisoning the air in your home.
This toxic poison has been spread so widely in our homes that it is estimated by health agencies that as many as nine out of every ten people now carry some degree of this toxic chemical within them. What will this do to our children as they age? Is there a link between current cancer deaths and this chemical poisoning.
The Facts on Nonstick Cookware:
The first Teflon products were produced, marketed, and sold by Dupont in 1946. Awareness of safety problems with the toxicity of non-stick cookware pots and pans began showing up over thirty years ago.
Dupont received heavy fines for covering up data on the toxic health effects of perflouroctanoic acid when it is used in cookware and other products involved in food consumption.
In 2003 The "Environmental Working Group" reported on the toxicity of nonstick cookware pots and pans. The Environmental Working Group's report concluded that a single pan could release as many as 15 toxic chemicals into the air per use (2 of these are proven carcinogenics).
A strange twist to the acceptability of non-stick cookware pots and pans and their toxic elements is the fact that these non-stick utensils have been built up as being a health conscious choice because they help to reduce the amount of fats and oil in cooking. George Bush in 1990 presented Dupont with the National Medal of Technology "for the company's pioneering role in the development and commercialization of man-made polymers over the last half century" of which Teflon was listed.
Which is your favorite cookware material?
Most of us use a variety of materials for our cookware but which is the one you use most often?
There are Safer Alternatives
Stainless steel, cast iron, glass, and copper cookware pots and pans are all much safer cookware choices for your home. Make a healthier choice in your cookware to protect the health of your family.
Cast iron has excellent heat retention and is basically non-toxic. A well seasoned pan will also develop a virtually non-stick surface with proper use and treatment, and cast iron's non-stick ability tends to improve with the age of the pan. Cast Iron cookware does leach iron into food but this is generally a health benefit rather than a health detriment.
Our bodies require iron on a daily basis, regularly cooking with cast iron, will provide approximately just less than 20% of our daily iron needs. The only people who should be affected by this degree of iron intake would be individuals who suffer from iron issues. People who have iron deficiencies rather than suffering ill effects would actually benefit from the use of cast iron cookware.
There Can be Safety Issues With Imported and Older Cookware Items
Canada and the U.S.A. now have strict production standards in place for all food related products. Products marketed in these countries are deemed safe and acceptable for human use.
However it is important to note that older products did not have to comply with these regulations so you may still have older cookware in your cupboards that do not meet with today's higher health standards.
Products that are brought into the country as personal effects by immigrants from neighboring countries also may not meet current health standards. So there are still quite a lot of glass or steel cooking and serving dishes out there which do not comply with the stricter health standards of today.
When choosing your cookware take these exceptions into account. That old glass baking dish of grandma's might look beautiful, but it could also contain and leach high concentrations of lead into the food that you are feeding your family.
Whatever your choices in cookware, select the safest pots, pans, and baking dishes for your family and the environment. Choose cookware pots and pans that are made of cast iron, glass, or stainless steel. Toss out, or recycle, your coated nonstick pots and pans.
To Be Safe
Toss Your Old Teflon Coated Cookware and Bakeware
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Lorelei Cohen