Non-stick cookware coating stays on the pan, not in your food
Posting in Food
Sumi Das gets cooking in this first video of the Kitchen Gadgets series. SmartPlanet's own gourmand-at-heart shares PFOA-free pans, a shape-shifting...
Sumi Das gets cooking in this first video of the Kitchen Gadgets series. SmartPlanet's own gourmand-at-heart shares PFOA-free pans, a shape-shifting grater and a rolling pin that's destined to become a baker's best friend.
Aug 24, 2011
PFOA is used in the MANUFACTURING of non-stick pans (primarily as an "emulsification surfactant". i.e. it keeps things, such as PTFE from clumping together). It isn't the non-stick coating itself, though it can be hard to remove the PFOA after manufacturing. The non-stick coating is PTFE (also known as Teflon) and exposure to PFOA through PTFE non-stick coatings "is considered an insignificant exposure pathway" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PFOA). In other words, you are highly unlikely to get harmful levels of PFOA exposure via PTFE-based non-stick cookware. In fact, you are probably far more likely to get a higher PFOA exposure from, "Fluorotelomer coatings ... used in microwave popcorn bags, fast food wrappers, candy wrappers, and pizza box liners..." which are estimated to provide up to 20% of the PFOA exposure found in humans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorotelomer). Also, I'll bet that if you read the fine print on the "ceramic" cookware you showed, you will find that it uses PTFE as its non-stick component. In all ceramic cookware I have researched, the ceramic coating is porous and the PTFE resides in these pores, making it technically "non-stick". Because it is in the pores, the ceramic, which is typically harder than metal cooking utensils, protects the PTFE from abrasion, theoretically extending its life on the cookware. In actual practice, the cookware is probably more accurately described as "mostly non-stick" and the "non-stickiness" does wear out over time like any other non-stick cookware, despite manufacturer claims. I say "mostly non-stick" because food will stick to the areas where PTFE is not present (i.e. the ceramic areas, not the pored areas). The main difference is that you will pay ~$100+ for cookware that will last a bit longer than the cheap non-stick cookware you can find in Wal-mart for $30 or so. Certainly, no longer than twice as long. (This also applies to "diamond" cookware.) With many brands of non-stick cookware offering "life time warranties" at a lower price than most "ceramic" cookware, you aren't saving any money with the ceramic type. Besides, PFOA is only released when PFTE non-stick cookware is exposed to temperatures of over 500 degrees F (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2003/AN/b212658c , though I have heard some experts say as high as 650 degrees F). If you want to avoid that, you can get an infrared thermometer and when it says your pan has reached between 450 and 500 degrees F, you can begin cooking. 450-500F is high enough to sear meat and do most cooking. Besides most fats begin to break down into carcinogenic compounds at temperatures as low as 500 degrees F, so you probably wouldn't want to go any higher than those temperatures anyway. Disclaimer: I do not have any financial interest in any company that uses or manufactures any products described above. I have just researched cookware because I wanted to find a PTFE-free non-stick cookware... I haven't found any, so I'm still looking.
It's really unfortunate that Smart Planet's owners (CBS_ place such a low value and thresh hold on the accuracy and quality of Smart Planet's articles which are primarily at the middle school level and generally based on the respective companies press releases rather than the authors verifying research. Informed commenters such as yourself are the only reason to read Smart Planet IMO. Thank you.