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Poison in our pans

  1. Feb 19, 2007 #1
    In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG).
    In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736°F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721°F in just five minutes under the same test.
    Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000°F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.

    http://www.ewg.org/reports/toxicteflon/es.php

    House hold pet birds, are know to die of this. These particals don't vanish, they remain in our carpets and drapes. I just bought a non-stick pan, with a bird hazard on the lable, which caused me to look into this a bit more. If it kills birds, what is it doing to us?
    While I don't normally use them for high heat{mostly eggs}, there have been more then a few times I've accidently heated them too much.:yuck: Now I think I will take it back to the store. Both my iron and my popcorn popper need to be trashed now too.:grumpy:





    Some Products That Use Polytetraflouethylene
    Heat lamps
    Portable heaters
    Sole plates on irons
    Ironing board covers
    Burners on stove tops
    Drip pans for burners
    Broiler pans
    Griddles
    Many cooking utensils
    Woks
    Waffle makers
    Electric skillets
    Deep fryers, crock pots,
    Hot air popcorn poppers
    Coffee makers
    Bread makers
    Non-stick rolling pins
    Lollipop molds
    Corkscrews
    Never-Stick-Stainless Steel
    Stockpots
    Roasters
    Non-stick gingerbread molds
    Pizza pans
    Tortilla presses
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2007 #2
    Sounds to me like you only really have to worry about your pet birds, assuming they sit around the kitchen. Don't stir fry in teflon pans is my advice, not that you should need to anyway.

    I'd be interested to see exactly what toxicity is considered safe for humans, and whether these pans usually exceed this when used in normal cooking.
     
  4. Feb 19, 2007 #3
    Can't see that link while at work, but teflon is supposed to be stable to temperatures above 250degC. When actually cooking these temperatures are not reached, but if a pan were to get above that sort of temperature it can degrade and offgas.
     
  5. Feb 19, 2007 #4

    turbo

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    My wife and I don't use non-stick pans for that reason. We have well-seasoned cast-iron frying pans and skillets and a large heavy steel wok that is also well-seasoned. Once you have a good glaze on the cooking surfaces, stuff tends not to stick, anyway. Our stock pots and kettles and pots are all stainless steel.
     
  6. Feb 19, 2007 #5

    ZapperZ

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    I don't have any non-stick pots and pans. All of mine are either the Calphalon Commercial with the anodized surface, or Le Creuset, which are enameled cast iron. If one is making pan sauces, non-stick pans are useless because one does not have the brown bits and pieces sticking to the pan that are essential in making good sauces and gravies.

    Zz.
     
  7. Feb 19, 2007 #6

    turbo

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    Many people in this open-a-can culture are blissfully unaware of the role of carmelization in producing delectable foods. Before I start adding liquid ingredients and seasonings to a New England boiled dinner, every surface of that roast (rubbed with salt and pepper) has been scorched, and the pan has a nice layer of carmelized juices that will find its way into the wine and water that the meat and vegetables will be simmered in. :tongue2: I learned to cook by working with my mother and grandmother in the kitchen, and the old ways are the best.
     
  8. Feb 19, 2007 #7

    russ_watters

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    700F??? If you are heating your pans to 700F, your principle safety concern is fire, not teflon fumes.
     
  9. Feb 19, 2007 #8
    thats why you shouldn't use non stick pans at high heat and use metal utensils on them. everything these days can kill you. i stopped using deodorant since that too causes cancer.
     
  10. Feb 19, 2007 #9

    radou

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    Are you for real? :tongue:
     
  11. Feb 19, 2007 #10

    Moonbear

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    I agree. I also can't think of any reason you'd want to use a non-stick pan to cook at high temperatures at all. As the whole point of using them is to NOT burn food to the pan, you generally would use them for lower temperature cooking. I have a couple teflon-coated pans, and I use them for cooking eggs or pancakes mostly. Most cooking oils have hit their smoke point by the time you reach 500 degrees, so you wouldn't even use that high of a heat to sear meats.

    Generally, the only real risk is if you forget a pan on the stove, but as Russ points out, the house fire is the bigger danger of that sort of mistake.
     
  12. Feb 19, 2007 #11
    Naa I'm just joking, I trust Dupont:eek:, with my life. They have a great history of environmentally friendly poisonings.
     
  13. Feb 20, 2007 #12
    If the teflon coating on my pan is going to statistically shorten my life span by half a year, I am willing to cope with it so that I can have good eggs every morning.

    It is my understanding that teflon passes right through your body without absorption, although I don't know whether this is accurate. And temps above 700^ are very unlikely, so is this the only time we should worry? Is it safe otherwise?

    I cook almost everything in a stainless steel pan/wok for stirfy, but sometimes use the non-stick for eggs.


    I bet the stress from worrying too much about these things has more of an effect on peoples life span then teflon does. :tongue2: (I understand why people are concerned though, of course)
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
  14. Feb 20, 2007 #13

    Moonbear

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    Teflon itself isn't a risk...it's even commonly used in medical devices intended for implantation (i.e., stents in blood vessels, artificial joints). The gas released as teflon breaks down at high temperature is toxic, but so are the gases released by melting your aluminum pan at similar high temperatures. It's really not a household risk, because there's no reason for anyone to ever heat a pan that high of a temperature, and if you did manage to do that once, it would only be a single, low-dose exposure that wouldn't be much of a concern medically. Where it IS a risk is occupationally for those working in the plants manufacturing teflon and teflon-coated products. Those workers are routinely in the presence of the gases released during heating in the reaction process to get the teflon to stick to the surface it's being adhered to. There has also been concern about high levels of other reaction products winding up in the water supply near the plant.

    This topic has previously been discussed in the biology forum, but I haven't looked it up to provide a link to the previous discussion. I suggest looking for that thread and reading it, especially the comments that were made by DocToxyn, who is a toxicologist, regarding toxicity risks (and if you find it, please post a link in this thread so others can see it too...it should be a year or two old).
     
  15. Feb 20, 2007 #14

    ZapperZ

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    What about digesting such a thing?

    Cheap pans with the teflon coating often flake off over time, especially if the user used metal utensils.

    Zz.
     
  16. Feb 20, 2007 #15

    J77

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    700F - what's that in proper money?

    e2a: 371C - can a conventional gas-hob get to that temperature?
     
  17. Feb 20, 2007 #16

    Evo

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    I melted an aluminum pan once. It was on an electric burner set on high. When I discovered it, there was no longer a pan, it melted and fell into the burner pan.

    Aluminum has a melting point of 1,220 degrees F. I checked and a source said the aluminum is sometimes mixed with zinc which has a melting point of 785 F, so I'm wondering how hot that pan got to disintegrate that way.
     
  18. Feb 20, 2007 #17

    turbo

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    I don't know how hot stove-tops get, in general, but I know that I have to throttle back the damper on the wood stove to keep the flue temperature from soaring past 600 deg F when I get a fire going.
     
  19. Feb 21, 2007 #18

    J77

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    I searched on the web but couldn't find a temp figure for hobs - would still be interested if anyone's got some...
     
  20. Feb 21, 2007 #19
    ummmm lol whats a hob?
     
  21. Feb 21, 2007 #20
    A gas hob is what he means, it's a cooker, you make food on it:tongue2: :smile:
     
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