healthy house institute

4 Free HHI Books:

Creating a Healthy Household, The Healthy House Answer Book, Healthy Home Building, The Healthy House 4th Edition
Your email will only be used as described in our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

 

Search

Proud Supporter of:

OnlineCourses.com

 

OpenCourseWare

Article

Is Nonstick Cookware Safe?

It’s difficult to avoid nonstick cookware these days, but it may not be the best choice for a healthy home. While these coatings allow considerable ease in cleaning and reduce the need for oil in cooking, they have potentially serious drawbacks. 

 

article continues below ↓


We do not strictly control Google ad content. If you believe any Google ad is inappropriate, please email us directly here.

Most are made from synthetically derived chemicals. When they leach into the food we eat, or into the air we breathe, they may cause serious health consequences, especially at high temperatures and with long-term use. However, Consumer Reports tested nonstick cookware and the results were somewhat reassuring (see sidebar).

 

 

Consumer Reports Tests Nonstick Cookware

"When we heated nonstick pans, we found very low levels of a potentially harmful chemical."

 

Consumer Reports Article 

 

 

Teflon®, one of the earliest and most well-known nonstick coatings, is a type of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) trademarked by DuPont. Early Teflon formulas, found in cookware sold in the 1960s and 1970s, proved to easily scratch and peel. Since then, manufacturers have developed other forms of more durable nonstick coatings. But, no matter what the formula, with time and normal wear and tear minute particles of these coatings flake off and can be present, uninvited, in food.

 

Using Nonstick Cookware Safely

While the EPA is asking for a phaseout of PFOA, and scientific studies cite potential health hazards of nonstick coatings, both DuPont and the EPA say that cooks have little to worry about if they use nonstick cookware properly.

 

  • Never leave nonstick pans unattended on an open flame or other heat source
  • While cooking, don’t let temperatures get hotter than 450 degrees
  • Don’t use metal utensils
  • Wash nonstick cookware by hand using nonabrasive cleaners and sponges (do not use steel wool)
  • Don’t stack nonstick cookware on top of each other
  • Keep pet birds out of the kitchen

 

In addition, there’s the possibility that some synthetic coatings sublimate (change from a solid state to a gaseous state) at extremely high temperatures. Once in the air, these synthetic compounds are easily inhaled. Toxic emissions from no-stick pans have been linked to pet bird deaths, and are probably unhealthy for other pets or for humans, especially if someone has asthma or other breathing problems.

 

 

Another problem with nonstick cookware concerns perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, a chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan. Just two to five minutes on the stovetop may be enough for PFOA to leach. Studies have shown the chemical to be present at low levels in the bloodstream of nine out of ten Americans, and in the blood of most newborns (though we do not understand the significance of this). Scientific studies link PFOA to birth defects and possibly to raised levels of cholesterol. Scientific advisors to the EPA have called it a likely carcinogen. In early 2006 the EPA asked eight American companies, including DuPont, to work towards the elimination of PFOA by 2015.

 

 

So what’s the best choice for cookware? Not unlined copper, a soft metal which can leach into food causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. And not aluminum, a heavy metal which can be absorbed by food, then ingested. Research in the 1980s found a possible relationship between aluminum deposits found in the brain and Alzheimer’s disease, though that research has become controversial. The role (if any) of aluminum has yet to be fully understood. To be on the safe side consider other alternatives, such as cast iron, tin-lined copper, porcelain-on-steel, enameled-steel, stainless steel, ceramic, and thick glass cookware that can withstand high temperatures. Stainless-steel-lined aluminum cookware is acceptable because the stainless-steel layer forms an impenetrable protective barrier between the food and the aluminum.

 

(Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Healthy House Institute, LLC.)

 

 

HHI Error Correction Policy

HHI is committed to accuracy of content and correcting information that is incomplete or inaccurate. With our broad scope of coverage of healthful indoor environments, and desire to rapidly publish info to benefit the community, mistakes are inevitable. HHI has established an error correction policy to welcome corrections or enhancements to our information. Please help us improve the quality of our content by contacting allen@healthyhouseinstitute.com with corrections or suggestions for improvement. Each contact will receive a respectful reply.

The Healthy House Institute (HHI), a for-profit educational LLC, provides the information on HealthyHouseInstitute.com as a free service to the public. The intent is to disseminate accurate, verified and science-based information on creating healthy home environments.

 

While an effort is made to ensure the quality of the content and credibility of sources listed on this site, HHI provides no warranty - expressed or implied - and assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product or process disclosed on or in conjunction with the site. The views and opinions of the authors or originators expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of HHI: its principals, executives, Board members, advisors or affiliates.

Is Nonstick Cookware Safe?:  Created on May 28th, 2007.  Last Modified on January 11th, 2010

 

We do not strictly control Google ad content. If you believe any Google ad is inappropriate, please email us directly here.

About Linda Mason Hunter

Linda Mason Hunter

Linda Hunter is a pioneer in the home ecology/green movement. Her first book, The Healthy Home: An Attic-To-Basement Guide(1989, Rodale Press) was the first book on home ecology written for the layperson. Linda was featured in The New York Times and on "Good Morning, America." She has since authored two more "green" books: Green Clean (Melcher, 2005) and Creating a Safe and Healthy Home (CPI 2005). Linda is a field editor for national magazines and a consultant. Linda Mason Hunter's Website is www.hunterink.com. She also founded Healthy Home Designs.

 

 

Information provided by The Healthy House Institute is designed to support, not to replace the relationship between patient/physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

Education Partners

 

 

Popular Topics: Air Cleaners & Air Purifiers | Allergies & Asthma | Energy Efficiency & Energy Savings | Healthy Homes | Green Building
Green Cleaning | Green Homes | Green Living | Green Remodeling | Indoor Air Quality | Water Filters | Water Quality

© 2006-2017 The Healthy House Institute, LLC.

 

About The Healthy House Institute | Contact HHI | HHI News & Media | Linking Resources | Advertising Info | Privacy Policy | Legal Disclaimer

 

HHI Info