dangers of non-stick cookware

The  perils of non-stick cookware by Dr. Mercola

More evidence has emerged regarding the dangers of Perflurooctanoic Acid (PFOA), which is used in the production of non-stick cookware and stain-resistant snack food packaging. PFOA is currently found in the bloodstream of 95 percent of American men, women, and children.

It’s been exactly 70 years since non-stick coating was first introduced, and we’re now reaping what was sowed — most Americans test positive for PFOA in their blood, which the EPA has just recently identified as a likely human carcinogen.

Why is Non-Stick Cookware so Bad For Your Health?

Non-stick cookware has become enormously popular because of its convenience factor; foods don’t stick to the surface.

However, it has now been shown that once heated – which is bound to happen when cooking – non-stick pans will quickly reach temperatures at which toxic fumes are released.

The coating begins to break down and release toxins into the air at a temperature of only 446 degrees Fahrenheit.

After about three to five minutes of heating, when the pans reach 680 degrees, they release at least six toxic gasses, including:

  • Two carcinogens
  • Two global pollutants
  • MFA, a chemical deadly to humans at low doses

The leading non-stick cookware brand was found to reach 721°F in five minutes under the same conditions.

Now, if you heat your non-stick cookware to 1,000°F, a temperature that scientists from the leading non-stick cookware brand have measured from stovetop drip pans, the coatings will break down into a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWI “choking agent” phosgene gas.  

That puts a whole new spin on “healthy home cooking,” doesn’t it?

In animal studies, PFOA (sometimes also referred to as C8), which is the chemical that makes Teflon-coated aluminum slippery and non-stick, were found to cause:

  • Serious changes in organs including the brain, prostate, liver, thymus, and kidneys, showing toxicity.
  • Death of several rat pups that were exposed to PFOA.
  • Changes in the pituitary in female rats, at all doses. The pituitary controls growth, reproduction, and many metabolic functions. Changes in the size of the pituitary are considered an indication of toxicity.
  • An association with tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests.
  • An increase in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers.

Other unrelated studies have also found evidence of birth defects in babies from PFOA-exposed workers. In 1981, two out of seven women who worked at a non-stick coating plant gave birth to babies with birth defects.

How Do You Detox From PFOA?

That’s one of the most unfortunate parts of this mess. You can’t — at least not quickly.

We now know that once PFOA is released into the environment, it doesn’t break down quickly and disappear. According to Tim Kropp, a toxicologist with the Environmental Working Group, even if a person exposed to PFOA cuts off all future exposure, it still takes up to 20 years for the body to get rid of that initial contamination.

Other research has shown that four years after exposure, PFOA blood levels were still only reduced by half.

How to Reduce Your ExposureNeedless to say, your best bet is to pay attention to the products you use, in particular when it comes to your cookware. According to Dr Mercola, the best choice out there and one that he uses, is a new high tech ceramic cookware. .Ceramic cookware is not only extremely durable and easy to clean (even the toughest cooked-on foods can be wiped away after soaking it in warm water), it is completely inert, which means it won’t release any harmful chemicals into your home or your food unlike other sets of cookware.

Glass cookware is also a very suitable alternative as is enamel or Le Creuset pans.

Interesting Dr Mercola article on non stick cook ware  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/13/cookware-chemical-linked-to-thyroid-disease.aspx

Other articles – Thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)


Temporal changes in the levels of perfluorinated compounds in California women’s serum over the past 50 years


So all you cooks out there, female or male, young or old – ditch your non stick cook ware and go back to the old fashioned enamel, Le Creuset pans or glass cookware – much safer for you and your family.

Article compiled from information on Dr. Mercola’s site.

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