I'm hearing a lot about the harmful effects of Teflon lately (the slippery, not-stick coating on your pans). Usually, I take these scare tactics with a grain of salt and use my own instincts on what the media and government tell me is harmful.
But after looking at all the numbers, I have decided to switch to Cast Iron.
Dupont (the manufacturer) states that with Teflon, "significant decomposition of the coating will occur only when temperatures exceed about 660 degrees F (340 degrees C)".
But studies conducted by a university food safety professor revealed that the same non-stick pans reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds.
I don't know about you, but when it comes to my health, I have a tendency to not put my faith in the manufacturer of the product. Call me crazy.
Why is Teflon hazardous? Dupont themselves have discovered that at least six toxic gases that include two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA (a chemical lethal to humans at low doses) are released from their Teflon material. (Okay, I'll believe them on that one...)
This synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene releases toxic particles and gases which contribute to a number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). (I'm not even going to get into the fact that our every-day cookware kills hundreds of household birds each year who are very sensitive to the fumes - weird.)
Also, the FDA has NO restrictions relating to this matter when it comes to cookware. Not good.
For now, I'm switching to Cast Iron which, if anything, may add more iron to your diet. If you have high iron levels, perhaps you'll want to switch to Stainless Steel.
Bought one yesterday for $30 and had our first meal with it last night. I loved it! Reminded me of my Auntie Alice and all of the cottage breakfasts she'd serve up with her heavy-duty cast iron pan. Not to mention the workout you get lifting one of these babies, wow!
Other pluses with cast iron:
- Retains heat. Awesome for searing.
- Heats evenly.
- Nonstick if seasoned properly (I bought mine pre-seasoned)
- You can pop it right in the oven
- Awesome for pancakes (thanks, Auntie Alice!)
- Inexpensive and lasts forever