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The Truth Behind Your Cooking Pans & your health

The secret to a healthy lifestyle is not to be mindful of what you eat in terms of it being non-gmo or organic but to also recognize that our pans may be emitting toxins that are harmful to our health causing further detriment. Since the early 1960s, non-stick cookware has been welcomed enthusiastically around the world. In 1964, Mirro Aluminium Company’s advertising literally claimed that Teflon was a miracle.

Teflon is made with a specific kind of Perfluorocarbon (PFC) that makes the surface of cookware resistant to sticking, yet when the temperature reaches above 500 degrees Fahrenheit, the Teflon coatings break down, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. This has been linked to several public health risks such as cancer, environmental pollution, and various birth defects. To make matters worse, the chemicals in Teflon can easily kill pet birds when cookware overheats; imagine how much damage it is doing to us!

Many other problems include:

● Long-Term Exposure: breathing kitchen air polluted with fumes from overheated Teflon, is a risk for developing flu-like symptoms while the long-term effects of routine exposure to Teflon fumes have not been adequately studied, it is important to protect your lungs and health.

● Perfluorinated Chemical Family: PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. The side effects include smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, and weakened immune
defense against disease.

● Environmental hazards: When we talk about health, we need to include in the dialogue the health of our planet in the process. Manufacturing PFCs and products that contain them poses great risks to the environment and wildlife. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says PFCs present “persistence,
bioaccumulation, and toxicity properties to an extraordinary degree.”

The healthiest form of cookware is non-Teflon coated options or non-stick pans. Some of the best materials to choose from that are naturally non-stick include:

● Cast iron: This material used to make pans is durable, and has a long lifespan. Zero Waste Chef’s guide to maintaining and reviving cast iron pans is critical especially since iron can potentially leach into your food through the cooking process.

● Enamel-coated cast iron: To prevent cast iron leaching, this option is basically made of cast iron with a glass coating, the cookware heats like iron cookware but doesn’t leach iron into food which is a suitable option to cook acidic foods.

● Stainless steel: This material is durable and can be recycled which is important for our planet. Cookware with 18/8 or 18/10 stamped on the bottom is the least likely to leach into food but this pan is not the best option for cooking acidic foods as it can leach nickel and chromium into food.

● Lead-free ceramic: Choose the best option which is 100% ceramic pots and pans, not ceramic coatings or ceramic enamel. Yet, this pot does have a downside which is if exposed to extreme temperature changes, it will break.

● Glass: While this can’t be used on stovetops, it is an excellent option for bakeware and is considered one of the safest options to contain food in.

Health not only includes healthy diets but healthy lifestyles. We need to protect our health and well-being; often the sustainable option is the healthy option.

Blog Image Credit: canva photos

Written by Sarah Syed

 

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