Health benefits and hazards

Are non-stick pans safe? How do they affect our health?

You may have heard the dangers of teflon pans. This is a very pressing matter that affects housewifes and cooks every day. Non stick pans surely make our work easier in the kitchen. You can cook food with very small amount of oil with a non stick pan. However some researchers say that non stick cookware may cause some health issues.

Almost everybody knows that eating healthy is essential. But very few people are willing to choose the right pan so that their food stays healthy during cooking process. What we must look for in a pan is that the non stick layer does not peel off and get into our food. Therefore it is wise to stay away from worn and old teflon pans and aluminum cookware.

There’s been some research linking high aluminum levels to central nervous system problems. One particular study in Immunologic Research linked aluminum to Alzheimer’s and autism spectrum disorders.

Teflon is a non stick, high temperature resistant material. Teflon coated pans may be easy to use and clean but there are some concerns about their potential dangers to health. The heavy metals in the non stick layer can cause some health issues when overheated. A teflon pan always requires caution when handling so that the protective layer stays intact.

Over the past decade, the safety of teflon cookware has been under investigation. The concerns were about a very dangerous chemical called PFOA, which was previously used to produce nonstick cookware until  2013. PFOA has been linked to a number of health conditions including thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and testicular cancer. Fortunately this material is not being used today.

However teflon pans can still pose a health treat when overheated. At temperatures above 570°F (300°C) teflon coatings start to break down releasing a toxic gas into the air.  While it’s unlikely to get to 570° degrees in regular cooking, teflon pans can easily overheat when left unattended on the stove. In this case teflon pan may emit a toxic gas. These fumes cause a disease called the teflon flu which has regular flu-like symptoms such as headache and high fever.

If you are using a worn out or scratched teflon pan, it is possible that some parts of the protective layer is getting into your food. Do not use these pans. Throw all those old pans immediately.

Keep in mind the following precautions while using your new and unscratched teflon pan.

–   Use only wooden or silicone utensils. This will prevent the non stick coating from peeling off.

– Do not preheat the pan. Empty pans can reach high temperatures within minutes and start emiting fumes.

– Keep a window open or a ventilation fan turned on when cooking.

– Do not use steel wool on your pan. Only clean it with sponge and soapy water.

What kind of cookware do you prefer at home?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *