We grew up on “fast,” fast food, microwaves, fast downloads, and even fast cooking. Teflon, while an amazing invention, has made cooking easy, quick, and non stick. With the release of Teflon, cooking took on a whole new meaning and made clean up a snap. However, very few actually know the dangers of Teflon. What does it do to your health, what affect does it have on your animals and what if you get it in your food (heaven forbid). Read the research below and then re-evaluate if your “easy clean up” and cheap cookware is worth the dangers to your health.
Why is Teflon Dangerous?
While cooking with Teflon , it releases gasses known as PFOAs. PFOA stands for Perfluorooctanoic acid. It has been used in non stick surfaces for many years. While most companies are trying to phase out PFOAs. These toxic chemicals are most commonly released while cooking at high temperatures. 680 degrees Fahrenheit, has been the temperature that induces the most toxic gas. However, even at 464 degrees, there has been particles present containing this chemical.
Another danger is using metal utensils on your non stick. If toxins are released into the air can cause harm, think about what ingesting them in your food could be doing!
Not matter if your pan is chipped or scrapped, heating Teflon to a high temperature or leaving it on the stove for long periods of time, creates a dangerous environment.
The Health Risks of Teflon
So what if you didn’t know Teflon was dangerous? What can these PFOAs do to your health over time? Research has linked the toxic gases to carcinogens. Carcinogens have been linked to various diseases, one of the most prominent being cancer. Another finding showed that these toxins could also be linked to thyroid disease which has had HUGE increases over the past several decades. Heart disease and stroke are other diseases that have been linked to the exposure of Teflon chemicals as well.
Those are the long term affects of the dangers of Teflon. But there’s more! While cooking using Teflon for extended periods of time or at high temperatures, you may be exposed to what’s called the “Teflon flu.”
Teflon Flu – Do you have it?
These symptoms of exposure can come on several hours later and mimic symptoms associated with influenza, headaches, chills, coughing, fever, and tight chest. In order to release these strong gasses, you would have to heat your pan to over 500 degrees, but this is a normal heat for frying or searing meats, such as steaks and bacon.
The Old Bird in the Mine Story
My mom is always ahead of her time. She’s like a sponge for every interesting fact you’d ever want to know about life, and health. She used to tell me about the canaries in the mines. They would release birds (usually canaries) into the mines. If the bird flew in and back out, they knew it was safe. If the bird flew in and never returned, they know that there was hazardous gases in the mines. Not, the most humane story but definitely an interesting one!
The same goes for Teflon. In a study done by Dupont, they showed that birds died when Teflon was heated to 536 degrees. Mental note, never turn your frying pan up to high while using Teflon. Don’t forget that even if you aren’t always “frying” something with your non stick pans, the gases are still released. They are also stored over time. This means that we are all walking around full of PFOAs. The more you have the more you are at risk.
It’s been shown that 98% of the population has PFOAs in their system.
So how do you avoid the demon gas that’s silently making us sick?
Avoiding the Dangers of Teflon
Well if you can afford it start buying one piece of ceramic cookware with every paycheck. If you’re rolling in it, buy a whole new set STAT! You can also use cast iron, although it’s more expensive and harder to clean.
Make sure that while shopping for ceramic cookware, you look for labels that tell you it’s 100% Teflon and PFOA free.
If you are going to cook with teflon, then make sure you are cooking at low temperatures. Use pans without teflon for high heat cooking and try to phase out and get rid of teflon completely when you can. The dangers of teflon can be easily avoided with these easy fitness tips.