If you look at the cookware options available on the market these days, you will probably notice that the non-stick cookware is one of the most popular ones, if not the most popular. Thousands of people around the world use it daily. However, what exactly is it and why have they become so widely used?
Non-stick cookware is nothing more but saucepans or fry pans coated with a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is also known by the name “Teflon”. It is made up of carbon and fluorine components. These materials help maintain cookware in good condition as they are easy to clean and require little oils. This type of cookware is ideal for frying eggs, or meat and making pancakes.
Although they are widely used, there are some unpleasant issues about them. They are said to be harmful, and some people link them with the worsening of health conditions and illnesses like cancer.
One of the main reasons for such an approach is that, in the past, it was the perfluorooctanoic acid that was used while producing nonstick cookware. It did not burn off entirely while cooking, so a small amount of this chemical remained in the food.
What is interesting, American study conducted between 2003 and 2004 showed that over ninety-five % of the representative sample (two thousand people) have PFOA in their blood. Nowadays, all the Teflon products no longer have PFOA.
Since 2002, the manufacturing practices for PFCs in the United States have changed considerably. Their usage was stopped seven years ago!
Even though Teflon cookware is no longer unsafe, there is a group of people who do not want to use it, and there is nothing wrong with this.
If you feel like you would like to use another type of cookware, read cookware reviews and find the one that suits your needs and abilities the best!
There is ceramic, stone, induction, or stainless steel cookware, so you will have a wide range of things to choose from.
But if you find yourself interested in this cookware area, you may take a moment to get familiar with a subject of nonstick cookware. You should also keep in mind that, while nonstick pans may be comfortable to use, they are not appropriate for all cooking types.
There are dishes for which they are ideal, especially delicate ones and more prone to breaking when placing a spatula underneath.
Dangers of Overheating
As it was said before, Teflon is safe to use. However, at really high temperatures (over 300°C), its coatings may start to break down, which leads to the release of toxic chemicals into the air.
The condition in humans is known as polymer fume fever and usually consists of flu-like symptoms and noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. It revolves, on average, within 24 hours. But you do not have to worry about the fume fever as long as you use Teflon in normal conditions, not for a few hours with cookware at a temperature higher than 300°C.
How to Minimize The Risk
If you want to cook safely and healthy, you should get familiar with these few tips. You can minimize the risk of release of chemical substances quickly. First of all, you should never preheat an empty pan.
Before you start cooking, be sure that you put some liquids on the pan, as the empty pan can reach a higher temperature within minutes. And that can lead, as you probably know, to the polymer release.
Second of all, ventilate your kitchen. You can open your window or turn on the exhaust fan to make sure that your kitchen is clear from any fumes. It is highly recommended to use wooden or silicone utensils, as the metal ones can easily scratch the nonstick surface.
After cooking, you should wash all the pots or pans that you have used carefully. It is better to use a sponge, not scouring pads, as they can damage your cookware. Lastly, if you see that the layer of nonstick Teflon is no longer there, you may consider buying a new pot or pan. Remember, it is all for you and your family’s safety!
As it was said at the beginning, there are lots of alternatives to Teflon based products. If you do not want to feel stressed or you would like to try something new, read about easy to use cookware types.
Stoneware is the most basic, popular, and even historical way of preparing food. The main advantage of it is that it can be heated to very high temperatures, and it is scratch resistant. Ceramic cookware is, on the contrary, a new product to the industry.
It has got nonstick parameters, but it is easier to be scratched. Stainless steel is the best choice if you are into sauteing food. It is scratch resistant and dishwasher safe, so it is much easier to maintain it in excellent condition.
The Bottom Line
Even though the non-stick cookware is one of the most widely used types in today’s world, as you can see, there are lots of issues connected with it, and more people are starting to question their safety.
However, as long as you are doing everything correctly, then you should have nothing to worry about, as the manufacturers stopped using perfluorooctanoic acid to produce it several years ago.
If you are on the other side of the spectrum, and you see nothing wrong with the non-stick cookware, and you want to buy it, there are some things that you should keep in mind.
While buying this type of equipment, you always need to think about your abilities, capabilities, and conditions in your kitchen. You should avoid cheap cookware, as its chemical structure may be unknown – that’s where the real danger is lurking, and not in the high-quality products.
No matter if you decide to buy non-stick cookware, or not, the only thing we can say at this point is Good Luck! We hope you find one that will satisfy your needs, and put your mind at ease.