The risks of using Teflon outweigh the non-stick benefits.
Lunch Hour Lesson #50
Teflon is one of the PFAS that is the most common non-stick pot and pan coating used in the industry, with up to 99% of non-stick cookware and bakeware utilizing Teflon.
DuPont, which is the corporation that invented and manufactures Teflon, argues that Teflon is safe to use, but advises that 500 degrees F is the maximum temperature for cooking with this material.
The company explains that if the cookware is heated to a higher temperature than 500 degrees, the coating will start to break down (at the molecular level) and toxic particles and gases, some of which are carcinogenic, can be released. Many are flourine-containing compounds.
Now, even though DuPont and most cooking websites do assert that cooking with Teflon is safe, I like to employ my “err on the side of caution” strategy with this one and not use it in my kitchen, for several reasons:
Canary in the Coal Mine
While a person may or may not feel the effects of the PFAS gases, animals do, and there have been many reports of pet birds dying from the fumes because their respiratory systems are more delicate. I see this as a literal “canary in the coal mine” situation!
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PFAS are shown to remain in the environment and in our bloodstream for decades, earning them the name by some scientists as “forever chemicals”.
So, what are some alternatives? Now I’ll share the variety of materials that I use for my cookware depending on what I’m making:
For stir-frying and cooking eggs and pancakes, I use GreenPan products, which are made with a safer “non-stick” ceramic surface that doesn’t contain any PFAS and does not release harmful gases. I also use an enameled cast iron LeCreuset braiser for larger dishes.
For boiling anything like soups or water for pasta or hardboiled eggs, I use heavy-bottomed stainless steel pots with no coating inside. I like Farberware as a brand.
For baking bread, I use LeCreuset ceramic loaf pans.
For roasting meat, making casseroles, or making quickbreads like cornbread, I use Pyrex glass dishes.
Resolve to replace one of your pieces of non-stick cookware (if you have any!) and let me know what you choose as an alternative.
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