Toxic? When non-stick pans mean non-“healthy” too…

An essential part of maintaining good health is doing plenty of cooking at home, so we can control and select our own ingredients and food choices.  But what cook doesn’t love their collection of non-stick cookware?  Well, what if I told you those conveniences can be hazardous to our health?

non stck cookwr(This is the part where we all sigh and our shoulders droop a little, I know!)

I just learned that non-stick pans can actually omit toxic fumes when they get too hot.  Yes, throw another log on the “disappointment fire”!  It seems these aluminum pans, coated in Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE (also known as Teflon), can emit fumes when subjected to high heat. Inhaling these fumes can actually cause flu-like symptoms. And although the long-term effects haven’t been extensively studied, we do know that exposure to PTFE can create problems like low birth-weight babies, thyroid and liver issues, elevated cholesterol levels, as well as weakened immune systems.

(A few years ago I remember one of my non-stick pans starting to flake away.  I tossed it out but, surprisingly, the flakes are actually inert.)

The better options for cookwares are actually stainless steel for stove-top cooking and glass bakeware for the oven. Cast iron is another safe choice. Unless you’re willing to replace all of your non-stick cookware, you can feel a little “stuck”, but there are guidelines (compliments of EWG) to lessen your exposure:cast irn pn

  • Cook at lower temperatures and don’t pre-heat your pans at high temps.  It may take a little extra time, but it’s worth it.
  • Never bake at over 500 degrees (some research even says not over 450 degrees).
  • Use your exhaust fan.
  • (A little side note too:  these fumes are highly toxic to birds, so keep your feathered friends far from the kitchen.)

If you’re like me, you’re probably not inclined or prepared to replace all of your non-stick cookware, but just use these tips to play it safe and the next time you’re in a position to buy replacements, make the wiser choices … and then invest in some good scrubbers!

We respect your email privacy

Please Support My Book: Save Green While You Go Green

23 Eco-Friendly Ways To Save Money While You Save The Planet

"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

There are so many more facets of going green in the modern day, and the definition of the term reaches far beyond simple recycling. But going green isn't just about installing solar panels on your rooftop... it's about all the little choices that make the biggest difference. From food choices, to cleaning your home, to saving money on your monthly utility bills and consumption; the choices are vast.

However, there is a popular misconception that "going green" will "cost you green." We're inundated with green products, eco-friendly formulas, organics and mountains of options, making it seem that going green is an investment rather than an opportunity.

Well, I'm here to help dispel that myth and actually show you all of the ways you can live green, keep your family healthy, and benefit the environment without sacrificing anything, including your money.

When you make wise choices to gain the most benefit, relieve the burden on the environment, and save money to use elsewhere, everyone wins. You've already taken the first step. You've come here for help to make it happen.

Put these tips into action, and you will soon find that you can "save green" while you "go green"!

11 thoughts on “Toxic? When non-stick pans mean non-“healthy” too…

  1. I had heard of this before, but I think I was in denial. I can’t afford to replace my non-stick cookware, but I did make the first step by purchasing a stainless steel skillet. I used its non-stick counterpart quite often, so I thought I would start with baby steps. Thanks for the reminder!
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Boy heaven =-.

  2. We made the switch mostly to stainless about two years ago. Making the switch on the stovetop is surprisingly easy, just get your pan hot and use a little extra oil (it doesn’t need a lot). Finding good stainless baking sheets is more difficult, most of the heavy ones have a nonstick coating.

  3. This is a topic that I was just talking to my husband about the other day. We have decided to make the switch to stainless steal as we can replacing pans a little at a time. I think that although most experts think that the risk is negligible I want to limit the chemicals in my family’s life wherever I can.
    .-= Jessica´s last blog ..A HearthSong Wish List =-.

  4. We made the switch a few years ago and slowly eliminated non-stick pots and pans and replaced with stainless steel and cast iron. We prefer Le Creuset – but they can be pricey. Martha Stewart has a similar cast iron/enameled collection for very reasonable prices (sold through Macy’s).

    Williams-Sonoma has a line called Gold Touch that uses ceramic non-stick technology (non-toxic) and they are awesome! I have one mini muffin pan and I just ordered a bunch more to be shipped to me in London. They have cookie sheets and jelly roll pans too! Those were the most difficult to find replacements for. These will last a very long time, so I think they are worth the price.

    In order to slowly change out your collection, tip off family and friends what you are wanting to do and perhaps you’ll get a non-toxic cookie sheet to bake Santa’s cookies on!
    .-= PureMothers´s last blog ..Can Environmentalism Go Too Far? =-.

  5. Karen & Jessica – like you, our change will have to be gradual!

    Garden PDX – you certainly have a jump on me, making the switch, but PureMothers has some great recommendations.

    PureMothers – thanks for the great recommendations! And yes! Thanksgiving will be the perfect time to drop some hints!

    Lisa – great switch!

  6. We made the switch as well a few years ago. I started to notice that my ‘high-end’ non-stick was losing it’s non-stick ability which made me wonder what was going into my food. I do it piecemeal. One piece at a time, and on sale AND with 20% off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond or an outlet. This past year I have fallen in LOVE with cast iron and have gotten some of those pieces. I cook with those more than my stainless, my husband is just getting the hang of it. But cast iron is inexpensive and easy to maintain.

  7. Pingback: » Simple kitchen tip: cook & conserve - Mom Goes Green

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge