Non-Stick Cookware: A Worthwhile Convenience?

Non-Stick Cookware

I can remember the days before my family had a microwave. Days when our meals were sometimes slow-cooked for hours in order to bring out all of the flavors. I can also remember a family trip to the mall one Saturday when I was five years old, where a product demonstrator fried egg after egg – noting the convenience of the non-stick pan.

All of our cookware was almost immediately replaced by the magic Teflon pans. And, as time went by, we continued to upgrade to more and more un-stickiness.

Since then, I can recall countless times that the DuPont company and other makers of this cookware have been in the media regarding the dangers of toxic chemicals used in production. Claims range from damage to pets, cancer caused by inhaled fumes from the chemical plants and other diseases, like Alzheimer, are caused by using the cookware itself. So many cases settle out of court, and the ones that prove this stuff is detrimental to our health don’t seem to scare consumers enough.

How Many Cases will it take Before We ALL Wake up?

Mercury is poison, right? So why cook with it? Why cook with materials that are known poisons to humans and the environment? We can choose to simply close our eyes and pray that we never personally feel the downside of these chemicals. But, each day, more adults are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, more children with autism – and we are constantly reminded that cooking destroys our food.

Well, perhaps if we cooked with healthy materials at correct temperatures, food enzymes wouldn’t be destroyed and poison would leach into our food.

Dr Mercola describes the dangers of non-stick. Yeah, he is selling an alternative – but he is not a salesman. I know people who buy expensive cookware for look or brand name. But, if you really want your kitchen to have an image of peace and health, you will consider ditching the Teflon and scouring outlet shops for enamel coated cast iron.

Most pans get too hot in our day-to-day cooking, releasing PFOA and other toxic substances. Then, as they age and wear the coating can flake off into our food. PFOA is a suspected carcinogen and hormone disruptor that we know stays in the body and our environment forever. About ninety-five per cent of us have PFOA in our bloodstream, including newborn infants. It has also been detected in marine animals and our cherished polar bears.

How to avoid toxic non-stick cookware – David Suzuki Foundation

Finally, Health Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration advise that if you use non-stick cookware, avoid high temperatures. The highest suggested temperature to go up to should be 350° Celsius or 650° Fahrenheit, according to them, and broiling or high temperature baking or cooking should be avoided while using non-stick cookware.

 

Gina LaverdeGina Laverde is a Chicago-based writer, researcher and health coach whose expertise in natural health stems from her experiences recovering her son from autism.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great article, Gina. What are your thoughts on using aluminum foil / pans to cook with? I’ve read studied that there are correlations between Alzheimer’s and aluminum. Would you suggest using steel pots and pans?

  2. says

    I don’t suggest aluminum or even alumonum foil. I wholeheartedly believe in a correlation between aluminum and Alzheimer’s. I hear stainless steel is safer… but I’m still studying it. I recommend enamel coated iron, glass (like pyrex) or natural stomeware. I’ve seen adverse studies on glass as well. So, I think that’s why its important that we really study this further.

    Part of the reason that raw food is so good for us is because it doesn’t have to be mutilated by all of these poisons on our stovetop.

  3. says

    Thanks Gina, this helps a lot! I need to study up. For the oven — I’ve been using those ceramic-like pots to bake things — are those okay? Just found this interesting article.

    This was also informative

    How am I exposed to aluminum?

    Because aluminum is present throughout the environment and is used in a variety of products and processes, it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to aluminum on a daily basis.
    Food

    Aluminum occurs naturally in many foods, but usually only in low concentrations. The tea plant is an exception, as it accumulates large amounts of aluminum, which can then leach from the tea leaves into brewed tea. Aluminum can also leach into food from cookware, utensils and wrappings, but studies to date have shown that the amount of aluminum leached from these sources is generally negligible. Certain foods, such as dairy products, grains and grain products, desserts and beverages, may contain levels of aluminum that are higher than naturally-occurring background levels owing to the use of aluminum compounds (e.g., sodium aluminum phosphate) as food additives. Food additive use is controlled to prevent the use of higher than necessary levels of additives.

    The intake of aluminum from food for an adult amounts to about 8 milligrams per day, although higher daily intakes have also been estimated. In general, approximately 95% of the normal daily intake of aluminum for an adult comes from food. For infants, daily intakes of aluminum are usually less than 1 milligram per day. – Aluminum and Human Health

    Which concerns me about my tea intake (upwards up 3 cups per day at times — organic, decaffeinated green tea)

  4. Gina says

    Are the pots ceramic or do they justlook ceramic? If they are made from natural clay and coated with enamel I don’t think there should be a hige problem. Some problems may arise frompaints or dies used inthe coating, temps you cook at. I cook a lot on a pizza stone. I dehydrate food (like crackers) at 100 degrees on the stone in my oven. I also use glass (pyrex) which are very inexpensive. Then of course, there is the crock pot, as long as it is made from natural stone. If you want to fry and don’t have the expensive pots you can oven fry in a glass pyrex at about 350 deg

  5. Cooktop says

    I’ve been reading about how bad the chemicals are on the teflon pans. However, I’ve also found a few eco-friendly alternatives – which are supposed to be non-stick as well. We’ll see how those work for us.

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