Is Nonstick Cookware Safe? Find Out!
Do you use nonstick pots and pans to cook your food daily? It definitely makes cooking food a lot easier. The Teflon coating on the cookware prevents food from sticking to the pan. However, there is a controversy here too! Some experts say that Teflon coatings are harmful and can even cause cancer. On the other hand, there are those who say that cooking with nonstick cookware is quite safe.
To know what the truth is, keep reading!
What is Teflon?
Teflon is actually polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic chemical made up of carbon and fluorine. The surface of the utensil becomes nonstick, nonreactive and almost frictionless. It is easy to use and clean. Also, it is a healthy way of cooking as you will need very little oil or butter to make your food.
However, questions of its safety have always been popping up due a chemical called PFOA that was used to make Teflon previously. It has been associated with health conditions like kidney disease and liver disease. But you can relax as 2013 onwards all Teflon products are PFOA-free.
What can happen due to overheating?
On the whole, Teflon is a stable and safe compound. However, when it is heated beyond 300°C it starts breaking down and releases toxic chemicals. Upon inhaling these fumes, you can suffer from polymer fume fever also called Teflon flu.
The symptoms are similar to a flu such as fever, chills, body ache and headache. It usually subsides after 12 to 48 hours. In rare cases, there are more serious side effects such as lung damage.
In all the cases, victims were exposed to fumes from Teflon cookware that was heated to extreme temperatures like around 390°C for about 4 hours. You can avoid this situation by being cautious while cooking.
How to minimize risk while cooking?
1) Do not heat your nonstick cookware when it is empty
An empty pan can reach high temperatures in a matter of minutes. It can lead to release of polymer fumes. So, your pan should have food or fluid in it before it is heated.
2) Don’t cook at high heat
It is advised that you cook on medium to low heat and avoid broiling. Broiling requires high temperatures that are not suitable for nonstick cookware.
3) Keep the kitchen well ventilated
While cooking, turn on the exhaust fan or open the windows to get rid of the fumes.
4) Wash nonstick cookware carefully
Use only sponge and soap water to wash you Teflon coated pots and pans.
5) Replace old Teflon cookware
If you notice peeling, flaking or chipping in your cookware, it is time to replace it.
Take home message
Teflon cookware is completely safe for normal cooking. Just ensure that temperatures do not exceed 300°C. Using non-stick cookware is a very healthy as well as convenient way of cooking food.
What are your views on using Teflon coated cookware? You can share them in the comment section below.
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