What we eat is the key to wellness — and what we use to cook our food makes all the difference! Depending on what your pots and pans are made of, their age, condition, and how they are used, they can add unhealthy and unwanted toxins into your food as you cook. Pots and pans come in a wide range of materials and it can be difficult to navigate through the maze of safe, non-toxic cookware.
Cookware To Absolutely Avoid
Plastic, Copper, Aluminum (if it touches food), Stainless Steel made with Nickel (that leaches), Unglazed Clay Cookware (aka Earthenware), Non-stick Ceramic and Teflon (that contain PFAS)
It’s hard to beat the convenience and ease of nonstick cookware as not many people enjoy scrubbing pans covered in burnt or baked-on gunk. But the potential hazard of nonstick cookware is something to be aware of:
- Fluoropolymer coatings are commonly applied to cookware to give it an anti-stick surface. Teflon is the most well-known made with the main chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
- When heated to high temperatures, PTFE can start to break down and release toxic fumes. Breathing these fumes can be hazardous to both humans and pets (especially birds).
- Before 2013 Teflon was produced using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical that has been linked to a number of health conditions and is now present in most people’s blood. Although several non-stick cookware brands currently claim to be PFOA-free or Teflon-free, they may have been made with other fluoropolymers with similar properties, and therefore, similar concerns as PFOA.
- While PFOA and PFOS have been largely phased out of use in the U.S., these chemicals are only two of the more than 3,000 poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) still used in many consumer goods, including cookware.
- Some non-stick cookware may indeed be PFAS-free, but it is very difficult to find out what the coatings do contain.
If you’re determined to stick with nonstick, reduce your risks by:
- Disposing of old or damaged pans. Get rid of old Teflon or similar nonstick pans produced before 2013 along with cookware that is scratched, flaking, or peeling.
- Cook on low-medium heat only and ventilate well. Avoid high heat settings, use of “power” burners, and pan preheating.
- Purchase quality cookware from reputable companies. Look for high-quality products made to U.S. standards. Avoid low-quality, lightweight products made in countries with lax regulations, as there’s a greater chance they might contain harmful metals or toxins.
- Hand wash using a mild detergent and nonabrasive scrubber. Never clean a nonstick pan in the dishwasher. The heat and detergent can ruin the surface.
- Use wooden utensils. Metal utensils can scratch the surface.
- Store them correctly. Stacking pans can scratch them. To store, put a napkin or other cloth between them.
PFAS chemicals were known to be dangerous for decades but the risks were hidden from the public. As far back as 1950, studies conducted by 3M showed that the family of toxic fluorinated chemicals now known as PFAS could build up in our blood. By the 1960s, animal studies conducted by 3M and DuPont revealed that PFAS chemicals could pose health risks. But the companies kept the studies secret from their employees and the public for decades. Check out this timeline of internal memos, studies and other company documents detailing the two companies’ history of deception compiled by the Environmental Working Group.
A Note About Crockpots beware of lead After much research, recommendation is the InstaPot pressure cooker for fast, healthy meal prep for the family. After years of researching, (and saving) I finally found a cookware set that I feel good about. Not only can I cook an entire meal (similar to InstaPot) but the variety of styles and sizes allows me to use them like regular pots and pans for everyday use (eggs, soups, boiling water…)
I have only been using my new cookware for a few weeks and I absolutely love them (so much that I set up a wholesale account for friends and family). If you are ready to invest in non-toxic cookware for your family message me for discounted pricing.