Cooking with non-stick cookware is certainly easy and convenient, but has it ever struck you that it might be harming your health? Research shows
that the Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used to create these non-stick surfaces are toxic both in your body and in the environment.
When non-stick cookware is heated to 464°F, the coating begins to break down and releases toxins into the air. When the pan gets heated up to 680°F, it releases at least six toxic gases, including Perfluorooctanoic acid
(PFOA), a long-chain perfluorinated chemical that has been linked to a range of health problems.
Research conducted in 2010 found higher levels of PFOA to be associated with risks of thyroid disease, while other studies have linked exposure to the chemical to increased risks of heart disease and stroke, even at relatively low levels. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also ruled these perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) as ‘likely carcinogenic'.
While these are long-term health concerns, it can have a more immediate effect in your body from inhaling the gases released over your hot plate known as ‘polymer fume fever’
. Symptoms of this fever are similar to developing influenza, with headache, fever and chills, along with coughing and chest tightness. Dupont, the manufacturer of non-stick cookware, demonstrated what high levels of exposure to these gases can do to your body through a test that showed birds had died from exposure to these gases from non-stick cookware at just 536°F.
You can avoid a lot of these health problems by just keeping your temperature down when cooking with non-stick cookware. While you may not have experienced such extreme symptoms of polymer fume fever, PFOA is a very persistent chemical that is difficult to rid of once it enters your body. So you should consider reducing your exposure to non-stick cookware today.
Consider using ceramic and enameled cast iron cookware. Both are durable, easy to clean and completely inert, which means that they will not release harmful chemicals and toxic gases while cooking.