Russell Setright Naturopath
Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Herbal Medicine, Remedial Therapies, Advanced Life Support Educator, Medical Writer, Consultant to Blackmores, accredited EMT.
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IS USEING NON-STICK COOKWARE SAFE?
Non-stick cookware has been a popular choice for many home cooks due to its ease of use and quick cleanup. However, there are some health concerns associated with using non-stick cookware that should not be ignored. In this article, we will discuss the confirmed health concerns of non-stick cookware and provide tips for using it safely.
The main health concern associated with non-stick cookware is the release of harmful fumes when the coating is overheated. The non-stick coating contains a chemical called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which can be released into the air when the pan is overheated. These fumes can be harmful to humans and animals if inhaled, and they can also contaminate the food being cooked.
Some non-stick cookware is coated with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to cancer and other health problems. PFOA is being phased out of production, but some older non-stick cookware may still contain it.
Polycarbonate exposure: Some non-stick cookware is made from polycarbonate plastic, which can release a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) when heated. BPA has been linked to hormonal disruption and other health problems.
Another concern with non-stick cookware is that the coating can scratch and flake off over time, releasing small particles of PFASs into the food being cooked. This can be a problem if the particles are ingested, as PFASs are known to accumulate in the body over time and have been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer, thyroid disease, and hormonal disruption.
Despite these concerns, non-stick cookware can still be used safely as long as certain precautions are taken. Here are some tips for using non-stick cookware safely:
Use low to medium heat: To avoid releasing harmful fumes, it is important to cook on low to medium heat.
Avoid metal utensils: To prevent scratches, avoid using metal utensils in non-stick pans. Instead, use wooden, silicone, or nylon utensils.
Don't overheat the pan: Empty or dry pans can get extremely hot and cause the non-stick coating to break down, so be sure to avoid overheating.
Clean gently: Avoid using abrasive sponges or steel wool to clean your non-stick pans, as these can scratch the surface. Instead, use a soft sponge or brush and gentle dish soap.
Store properly: Store your non-stick pans in a cool, dry place, and avoid stacking them with other cookware that could scratch the surface.
By following these tips, you can help minimize the health risks associated with non-stick cookware and enjoy its benefits safely. However, if you are concerned about the health risks of non-stick cookware, you may want to consider using alternative cooking materials, such as stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramics.
In conclusion, while non-stick cookware has some confirmed health concerns, it can still be used safely with proper care and usage. By following the tips outlined above, you can help ensure that your non-stick cookware remains in good condition and provides you with a safe and convenient cooking experience.