Non-stick cookware is a popular choice for the kitchen, because people love the fact that they can decrease the amount of oil in the meal and they don’t have to worry about food getting stuck to the pan. Even though Teflon has become common, it doesn’t mean that it is good for your health. In fact, Teflon is quite controversial, since evidence has been uncovered that it is bad for your health.
Teflon contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) which has been found to be dangerous to human health. When a person comes in contact with PFOA, it can stay in the human body for a long period of time. It has been found at low levels in most people’s blood in the United States.
Although additional research needs to be done, it has been found that animals exposed to PFOA have an increased risk of various types of cancer, including pancreas, mammary glands, testicles, and the liver. Human research studies have shown that people have a higher risk of kidney and bladder cancer when they have higher levels of exposure to PFOA.
The long-term effects of PFOA and other similar chemicals aren’t completely understood, but it is best to avoid these chemicals if you want to protect your family. It is a simple change to switch out your cookware, and this change can reduce the chemical exposure to your family.
Keep in mind that it might be confusing to see conflicting reports, because there are claims by the product manufacturers that Teflon is perfectly safe to use. Don’t be fooled, because when the pan is heated up, toxic fumes are spread through your house. Within five minutes of heating up a non-stick cooking pan, it has been found that at least 6 toxic chemicals are released.
In addition to avoiding Teflon, there are also several other types of cookware products that need to be avoided as well:
Non-Anodized Aluminum: Most pots and pans are made today with anodized aluminum, but some of the older products were made with non-anodized aluminum. Be careful if you are accepting hand-me-downs or purchasing older, used cookware. This type of aluminum can cause a number of health problems. You can usually identify non-anodized aluminum pots by their appearance, because they seem to be pressed from a single piece of metal. The pans are very heavy, and you will see that both the outside and inside of the pan is the same color.
Copper: Symptoms of copper exposure from cookware might include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Most pans made with copper are lined with another type of metal, but that metal can break down over time and cause your food to be contaminated with copper particles.
Lead: Ceramic cookware might contain lead, which doesn’t meet FDA specifications. Watch for any type of ceramic cookware that is purchased in a different country, or something that is considered a collectible, antique, or craft. If you purchase these collectible items, they might be good for decoration but you shouldn’t be cooking with them.
So, which type of cookware is best? Here are two options that you can use on your stovetop, and have the peace of mind to know that you are protecting the health of your family:
Cast Iron: Used as cookware for many generations, cast iron is very durable and safe to use. This material has good heat retention, and it is great to cook with. Keep in mind that cast iron might start to rust over time, so you should season it with oil before using the pan. After using the pan, scrub it well without soap, using a nylon or cloth dish brush.
Stainless Steel: The advantage to using stainless steel cookware is that they are affordable and safe. Just use caution when you are cleaning the pans through, because you shouldn’t use abrasive materials which might cause the surface to get scratched.
If you are looking for bakeware, you might also consider glass because it is nontoxic, inert, and safe to use. Just avoid lead crystal glassware, because it contains lead.
One way that you can test your stainless steel cookware to make sure that it doesn’t include other dangerous metals is by using the magnet test. Hold a magnet to the pan, and if the magnet sticks then you know that it is stainless steel. If the magnet doesn’t stick, then it’s a sign that there is likely other types of undesirable metal in the pan.