Discover the Secret Ingredient that’s been Ruining your Nana’s Recipe through this examination into why we should all we using non-toxic cookware for every meal.
By Stuti Shree
You eat organic fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water, and avoid junk food. While these things are undoubtedly crucial to your health, what you store and cook your food in is just as essential to well-being. Cookware, such as nonstick pots and pans, is used in everyday cooking worldwide. The nonstick coating makes flipping pancakes, and frying eggs easy. It can come in handy when cooking delicate foods that would otherwise stick to the pan, and cleaning them is a breeze.
But do you know that most of these cookwares contain toxic chemicals that may harm you and cause various health concerns? Here, in this article, we’ll go over the chemicals your Cookware has and how you can avoid them, along with alternatives to use so that you stay safe.
What Chemical Compounds are Found in Cookware?
Numerous chemicals are discovered in Cookware that are highly toxic and dangerous in our bodies and the environment. Multiple chemicals are released into the air when it is heated. One is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), linked to thyroid disease, reproductive issues, cancers, and other serious health issues. Other cookwares have polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. Common symptoms of Teflon exposure include the risk of flu-like symptoms and other health problems. Remember that these chemicals are also harmful to the environment. According to the EPA, PFCs have “extraordinary persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity characteristics.” We’ll now talk in detail about these chemicals and several others.
The chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been associated with infertility, weight gain, and learning impairment. PFOA has been classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. However, there is some good news. DuPont, the company behind Teflon, and several other U.S. companies pledged a few years ago to eliminate the chemical from Cookware by 2015.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic polymer, and Flu-like symptoms have been observed in people who have inhaled fumes from an overheated PFOA-coated pan. Pets have also died as a result of inhaling the fumes. According to an Environmental Working Group report, cookware-coated nonstick surfaces can surpass temperatures at which the coating breaks and releases toxins in food in a short time.
BPA is a hormone-mimicking chemical found in water bottles that have been linked to cancer, poor brain and heart, and even infertility. BPA-laced plastics are also used in a variety of Cookware, storage bags, pitcher-based water filters, and food containers. When heated, the chemical’s toxic effects become even more dangerous. Foods that have been heated in plastic increase the migration of BPA into food. A Harvard University study discovered a link between BPA consumption and obesity, even in people who consume only a minimal quantity.
Vinyl Chloride & Polyvinyl Chloride:
Vinyl chloride, a component of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), has been identified as a human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program, a branch of the National Institutes of Health in the United States. It’sIt’s commonly found in products labeled “BPA-Free,” such as cans and food storage bags.
Polystyrene, which can enter your food, is a possible human carcinogen found in Styrofoam cups and bowls if you use the clear plastic cutlery that many restaurants include in the delivery bag.
Phthalates are chemicals that can be found in soda and water bottles. Beverages wear down the plastic bottle over time, causing toxic leach chemicals like phthalates into the drinks. According to research, estrogen-mimicking chemicals can cause respiratory problems and developmental, learning, and behavioral issues in children. Inflammation and metabolic syndrome have also been related to phthalates.
Brominated Flame Retardants:
Bromine, a constituent of brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, is used to coat cooking utensils. While the compound may prevent your spoon from catching fire if left too close to the burner when given access to friction or heat, as many kitchen utensils are, BFRs can be ejected and end up in your food. According to a 2014 study published in the journal Environment International, when pregnant mothers are exposed to BFRs, their babies may have lower birth weight and length and smaller head and chest circumferences.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) contains carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting phthalates that leach into your food. A study published in Environmental Health linked higher levels of exposure to chemical toxins to metabolic syndrome, a disease commonly associated with increased levels of inflammation.
Risk Reduction Tips while Picking Your Cookware
- Preheating an empty pan is not a good idea. Empty pans can quickly reach high temperatures, potentially releasing polymer fumes. Before preheating, make sure you get some food or liquid in the pots and pans.
- Ventilate your kitchen. Turn on your exhaust fan or open the windows while cooking to help clear any fumes.
- Cooking on high heat should be avoided. Cook on medium or low heat and avoid broiling, as this technique necessitates temperatures higher than those recommended for nonstick Cookware.
- Utensils made of wood, silicone, or plastic should be used. Metal utensils can scratch and scuff the nonstick surface, shortening the life of the Cookware.
- Hand washes only. Wash pots and pans gently with a sponge and soapy, warm water. Steel wool and scouring pads should be avoided because they can scratch the surface. Replace worn-out Cookware. Teflon coatings should be replaced when they worsen with too many scratches and chipping visibly.
Healthiest Non-toxic Cookware to Look For
After learning about all the chemicals, you might eat with your food; we’re sure you’re already looking for best nontoxic Cookware to use for your good health.
Ceramic Coated Cookware:
Ceramic Coated Cookware is nonstick and does not leach chemicals into the food or off-gas when heated to high temperatures. When properly cared for, it can last for multiple years. The manufacturing with this material is also more eco-friendly, as the PFAS chemicals used in conventional nonstick production are being closely monitored for public health.
Because of its versatility, carbon steel has been used in professional kitchens for many years. It combines the heat retention of cast iron with lightweight stainless steel. Seasoning is required for carbon steel to develop natural nonstick properties. Although acidic foods remove this coating, the pans can be reseasoned. Overall, however, it is considered safe.
Ceramic Cookware is the best type of Cookware available; it is made of only one material. Ceramic is ideal for low and slow cooking, and it also has a low carbon footprint.
Cast iron endures like no other and is an expert at searing. While cooking with cast iron cookware is generally safe, those prone to iron overload should consult with their primary care doctor and use it with caution.
It is a workhorse for professional and home kitchens because it can last a lifetime and withstand a beating. Look for reliable brands that use food-grade stainless steel and third-party research facility testing to ensure Prop 65 compliance.
Cookware Brands to Go For
Health is Wealth, and therefore, we’ve compiled a list of the best cookware brands that you go for and use without thinking twice. These are the brands:
Caraway is a ceramic cookware set that is perfect for all health-conscious cooks out there. All of the fantastic cooking benefits without the toxins you want to avoid. It has excellent heat retention and heft, leading to a better distribution of heat with no hot spots, which most conventional lightweight nonstick pans lack. And the ceramic-coated nonstick surface lasts for more than a year.
Staub cookware has the incredible heat retention of cast iron and the acid-resistant, smooth surface of glass enamel ringed with quartz crystals that can withstand metal utensils. It is heavy-duty, long-lasting Cookware that will stand the test of time. They are excellent at keeping moisture inside the pot during a long braise, resulting in a more flavorful stew. These are heavy and sturdy, and they are built to last a lifetime in your kitchen.
GreenPan’s signature Thermolon ceramic coating is the first nontoxic alternative to traditional nonstick and the first to be free of plastic, PFAS, PFOA, lead, or cadmium. There’sThere’s no need to be concerned that it will ever emit toxic fumes, even if overheated. The ergonomic stainless steel handles of the collection are contoured for a comfortable grip, and the tempered glass lids provide a clear view of what’s cooking.
GreenPan has also taken steps to make its manufacturing processes as environmentally friendly as possible, emitting 60% less CO2 during the curing phase of the nonstick coating when compared to traditional coating. When feasible, they also use upcycled stainless steel and aluminum.
Made in Cookware:
It is made of carbon steel and has a high heat capacity, heat control, and even cooking capabilities. Perfect for searing and blistering greens, the natural nonstick properties that develop as the pan ages make clean-up a breeze. To use as kitchen staples, you’ll also want the 5-ply food-grade stainless steel pieces. Not only is stainless steel safe and long-lasting, but the company also recycles scrap metal.
Final Thoughts on Avoiding Toxic Cookware
As it goes, what you don’t know–might hurt you. And, food is the most important component of your everyday life, no matter what. If something as inherent as this becomes toxic, it might become harder to pinpoint the causes of many hardships regarding your health. With this little synopsis of a thorough guide to buying better, save yourself from dangerous hazards that evade the naked eye.
I am Stuti Shree, I’ve been working as an Content Head at Be Zen. As a published poet and writer, my work has also been published in several publications online and in-paper, encompassing multiple countries such as The U.S, The U.K., Canada, India and many more.