Surely, non-stick cookware saved us a lot of time from scrubbing the sticky grease off the pans in the kitchen. However, its time-saving advantage is just short-term that could even lead to long-term health problems. Here are some of the reasons why you should be wary of them:
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)
Functions as a polymerization aid, PFOA has been constantly incorporated in manufacturing non-stick cookware for the past couple of decades. Recent kitchen wares are labelled PFOA-free as the market gradually pulls out the ones containing the harmful chemical. PFCs are also used in the production of such cookwares, stain-resistant apparel and other grease-resilient food containers.
When exposed to high temperatures, non-stick cookwares release the harmful toxins that could blend with the food we eat. Airborne dangerous chemicals start to emit at 464 degrees Fahrenheit (240 celcius), while more toxic substances could be easily detected at 680 degrees Fahrenheit or 360 celcius.
The use of metal utensils against Teflon pans and scratched surfaces do not necessarily need to be present for the PFOA and PFC to be released.
If you think using non-stick pans occasionally would not cause you any harm, then think again. PFOAs elicit a body response known as Teflon flu, wherein an individual experiences headache, chills, fever and tightness of the chest with cough due to excessive exposure to gases released over the pan.
Teflon flu often manifests hours after prolonged exposure to gases of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, these fumes may build up in the system that could develop into more serious diseases in the future.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chemicals present in Teflon cookwares are known to be carcinogenic agents – substances that could cause cancer. A study conducted in 2010 showed PFOA’s association with thyroid diseases as well as higher risks for more grave heart conditions and stroke.
In 2009, the CDC’s Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals discovered 12 classes of PFOAs and PFCs in blood stream of Americans. One of these is a toxin found to play a big factor in bioaccumulation, ecological persistence and toxicity during the 1990s called perfluorooctyl sulfonates (PFOS). CDC also regarded the possible long-term effects of these substances that could affect the reproduction, growth and development; and liver functions as observed in test animals. An increased risk of 70% to 134% on PFOS whereas 60% to 154% on PFOA has been associated to infertility.
The Environmental Working Group conveyed the toxic effects based on PFCs as global health pollutants including cancer, birth defects, hypothyroidism, organ damage, weak immunity and reproductive concerns.
What To Use Instead Of Teflon
Prevent future health complications by ditching your old non-stick pans and switching to non-stick ceramic or glass kitchenwares. Also avoid stain-proof clothes and carpets and eating microwavable popcorn.
The use of ceramic is highly recommended by experts due to its scratch-resistant property and high heat tolerance of 850 degrees Fahrenheit compared to that of Teflon. An upgrade on your kitchenware is worth more than its cost to avoid problems arising due to continuous use of non-stick Teflon pans with PFOA and PFC.