24 September 2008

non-toxic non-stick

Nonstick pans are generally safe if you use them with care. But they do contain certain chemicals that, if the conditions are just right, can cause serious health problems.

When cooking with conventional nonstick, be sure to use plastic, wooden, or silicone utensils. Metal utensils create flaking, so chips can end up in your food. Also, according to Consumer Reports, flaking can lead to uneven heating, which in turn may elicit toxic fumes.

If polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, or most commonly Teflon) is heated too high (over 500° F), the coating releases hazardous fumes. One of the chemicals used to make nonstick coating, called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals and could also be dangerous to humans, according to Consumer Reports. PFOA is also found in the blood of 95% of the US population.

The fumes from overheated Teflon have been known to kill pet birds and produce flu-like symptoms in humans -- so be sure to keep your bird out of the kitchen, keep your kitchen well-ventilated, or replace your pans.

[Source: Environmental Working Group]

This is where Starfrit's Eco Chef Pans come in handy. They don't contain Teflon -- what gives them their nonsticking power is a chemical-free ceramic powder called Ceram-ECO. Made from natural resources, Ceram-ECO also retains heat better than Teflon. The Eco Chef Pans are also supposedly easy to clean (just don't put them in the dishwasher).

What makes these pans even more eco-friendly is that they're made from 99% recycled aluminum.

You can get a whole 9-piece set for $149.99 at Amazon.

[inspired by CNET]


Alison said...

i totally want this!

Anonymous said...

I think that aluminum leads to alzheimer's doesn't it? I thought that the only thing that was safe to cook in was glass or stainless steel. I could be wrong though.

Liz said...

I think the verdict is still out on the aluminum/Alzheimer's link.

But I think these pans should be safe because the aluminum is covered with the ceramic coating. If the coating chipped down to the aluminum, then maybe it would be time to replace the pan.

You can read more about the aluminum/Alzheimer's link here:


and here: