How often throughout your day do you give yourself a twinge -or maybe even more than that- when you start to wonder what you’re going to make for dinner? It can be a real problem for a lot of us. We often try to be creative or healthy or cater to picky eaters in the family. These all lead to stress and anxiety in the decision of what will end up on the table. Now I’m going to compound that anxiety with a warning about your cookware. Pretty awesome of me, huh?
All the Rage
About 30 years ago, Teflon coated pans became THE thing to have. You could barely turn around without seeing another ad for some. Manufacturers made them seem like the best thing since sliced bread!
The ad campaigns were genius. They promised us better lives in so many ways. These pots and pans would be easier to clean. They are easier to use because the food doesn’t stick. Probably the biggest push was the health benefits due to not needing so much butter or oil while cooking! Who would have ever thought pots and pans could save humanity?
Maybe Not Quite Perfect
Several years ago the safety of these coated marvels started coming into question. The primary concern was an acid used in the manufacture of Teflon called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. This stuff breaks down into the environment, but never completely breaks down, meaning those particles are ending up in our oceans and rivers. The gasses given off are well known to kill birds as well.
As if that’s not bad enough, PFOA was linked to several health problems including thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, and testicular cancer. It has also been linked to infertility and low birth weights.
From 1999-2000 in the US a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey study was conducted. PFOA was found in the blood of 98% of the people in that study!
Are We Doomed?
A program was launched in 2006 by the EPA to eliminate this acid from Teflon. All companies eventually met the program requirements, so all Teflon products have been free of PFOA since 2013. We are safe from Cookmageddon!
We may not be completely out of the woods. I for one have old cookware still in my cupboards predating the actions of the EPA. Obviously I cannot speak for anyone else, buy my old pans have dings and chips in the finish.
Knowing what I now know, I don’t think I feel real comfortable continuing to use these old battered pots and pans. I don’t necessarily need to buy and entire new set, but the most frequently used pans should definitely get replaced. We ingest enough chemicals without adding some that can be avoided.
There are so many varieties of non-stick pot and pan sets available to choose from. Obviously the prices range greatly as well. Many reviews recommend ceramic cookware for the easy clean-up and non-stick you may be used to with your older Teflon pans. There are safe Teflon pans since 2013 of course, too! If you want to feel like a fancy chef with fancy pans, use the set Gordon Ramsay recommends! That set is high end as you might imagine.
At the very least, inspect your cookware. If you don’t know how old it is, as in which decade it was purchased, it’s probably time to get some new stuff. Don’t take unnecessary risks with your health when you could instead practice some self care retail therapy!
Comments and questions are always welcome!