I still remember getting my first teflon frying pan. It was like a rite of passage. I had moved out of my parents’ home and bought my first thing for my new place, which happened to be a frying pan! What’s not to love? Frying up an egg in that baby was like a dream! I mean a Teflon pan is conveniently non-stick, easy cooking and easy cleaning.
Fast forward 10 years and you couldn’t pay me to fry up an egg in a teflon pan! What’s changed? A lot. Let me fill you in…
1. Teflon was created by accident?
Yup, true story. Dr. Roy Plunkett accidentally invented Teflon while being tasked with creating an alternative refrigerant to sulfur dioxide and ammonia. The chemical is called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) AKA C-8 and it is what gives an aluminum pan its non stick coating.
2. Teflon fumes can kill a bird!
There are countless documented cases of birds dying from inhaling fumes released from a Teflon pan. In response, Dupont has included these 4 recommendation when cooking with Teflon:
- Always keep your bird out of the kitchen while cooking. (Ummm ok?)
- Never leave heated cookware unattended.
- Never preheat your cookware on high heat.
- Always turn on the exhaust fan or open a window before cooking. (*sound alarm bells*)
IS ANYONE ELSE CONCERNED??
Now, I’m no expert but if small animals are dying, wouldn’t there be a cumulative risk to us humans as well? The following are documented health effects of Teflon on humans:
- Flu like symptoms (AKA Teflon Flu) caused by inhaling the fumes. These symptoms can last for several days.
- Fever in children from exposure to off gassing
- Linked to birth defects in DuPont plant workers and cancer and birth defects in lab animals.
- Linked to elevated cholesterol, thyroid disease, and reduced fertility in people.
- Higher risks of bladder and kidney cancers.
The bottom line is, Teflon is made of chemicals. Our body was not meant to inhale or ingest chemicals, particularly in these frequent quantities AND with 95% of Americans having PFOA in their blood stream it’s a reason for concern.
3. Important to note…
Dupont insists that chemicals are not emitted unless a pan reaches 446’F. A 2003 study done by EWG found that a Teflon pan will reach 680’F within 2 to 5 minutes which in turn emits 2 carcinogens, 2 global pollutants and MFA (a chemical lethal to humans at low doses). Over heating of non-stick pans and any scratching or chipping of the materials can cause these chemicals to be released. In 2005, an independent panel reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared PFOA a likely human carcinogen.
4, 5 & 6. Need more convincing?
PFOA has been used in other products besides Teflon, including waterproof clothing or fabric protectors (ie. Gortex), fire-resistant casings and tubing, and sealing tapes. Because this chemical is so widely used, it should come as no surprise that it is found in our environment.
A group of residents in Ohio and West Virginia who have cancer and other diseases have filed lawsuits
Nine Ohio and West Virginia residents who have cancer and other diseases have filed federal lawsuits against chemical giant DuPont, alleging the company knowingly contaminated drinking-water supplies with a chemical used by one of its plants.
Give me solutions, Libby!
There are many types of ‘eco’ cookware on the market now, as well as plenty of cast iron. You may be surprised to learn that I only use stainless steel pots and pans (like these) for cooking AND when it comes to baking, my girlfriend gave me a stoneware muffin pan (like this) that I also LOVE!
WHAT TYPE OF FRYING PAN DO YOU USE?