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What's the verdict on non-stick pans?

  1. Feb 8, 2010 #1
    There seems to be lots of contradictory rumors about non-stick pans lately, and I cannot tell fact from fiction. Are they safe to use? Am I supposed to be wary of some dangerous chemical in them that might be carcinogenic? How long can I use them.

    Google search turns up lots of advertisements for non-stick pans, and they all claim to be safe, but there is only so much trust one can put into the marketing agencies.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 8, 2010 #2
    http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/F...rotection/FoodCode/FoodCode2009/UCM188552.pdf
     
  4. Feb 8, 2010 #3
    To help maintain the integrity of your nonstick pan avoid using the highest temperature settings of your stove, and also avoid cooking very acidic foods in them.

    If your dish requires a high temperature (seared surface of a hashbrown maybe) stick to using stainless steel. Personally, I think its best to have both around for different cooking applications
     
  5. Feb 8, 2010 #4
    Who needs non-stick when you have butter and oil!

    The non-stick fry pan we have at our shack lost all of its coating. Sometimes you would get chunks in meals and the like. I'm not dead so no worries
     
  6. Feb 9, 2010 #5
  7. Feb 9, 2010 #6

    turbo

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    Non-stick pans have PFOA, which has been called a likely carcinogen. When non-stick pans are overheated they release harmful gases. It is not known at what level these vapors are harmful to humans, but they kill birds, even at temperatures that can commonly be reached during cooking. I like stainless steel for cooking, and cast-iron for searing, pan-frying, etc. A nice smooth cast-iron pan that has been properly seasoned is pretty non-stick if it is taken care of. Never use soap in it - scour it out with coarse sea-salt after use, and if the interior finish is scratched or scraped, oil it well after scouring, and heat the pan to renew the surface.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  8. Feb 9, 2010 #7
    Oh no! That puts me back at square one. Should I get one or not?

    Turbo-1, do you have any material to support that claim? Seeing that the FDA has guaranteed it safe to use, I was about to go get one of those.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2010 #8

    turbo

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    Just Google on "non-stick pans" and you'll find out more than you'll ever need to know. The FDA cannot guarantee that anything is safe to use, though they can certify it as "safe" within the limits of their abilities to test.

    I believe you will find that DuPont has agreed to phase out PFOA in non-stick cookware by 2015, probably though a consent agreement. If you have ever spent time on bird-enthusiast sites you should already know about the lethality of fumes from over heated non-stick cookware in our avian friends. Ever heard of the "canary in the coal mine"? Birds (probably budgies) were sometimes taken into coal mines because with their high metabolisms and small mass, they would be likely to die before the build-up of toxic gases could be very harmful to the miners.
     
  10. Feb 9, 2010 #9
    Like others have said, DO NOT cook at high temps with non stick pans. Also don't use metal utensils. I pretty much only use non-stick pans for cooking eggs and that's about it.
     
  11. Feb 10, 2010 #10
    As far as I can tell you should be fine so long as you do not overheat the pan which is when the apparent possible health risks occur (possibly as well with chipping and flaking). Unless you are doing stir fry or searing you really have no reason to heat the pan all that much that I can think of.

    Other types of pans are better over all cookware though as you can probably tell from Turbo's post they require much more care.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2010 #11
    I use circulon ceramic titanium non stick pans, they don't have teflon in them and are completely safe from what I have found. They also cook very well.
     
  13. Feb 10, 2010 #12
    Because if it can be found on google, it must be true. :rolleyes:
    And it wouldn't have anything to do with popular misinformation that is available online? The common perception that a chemical is "bad" is enough for a company to want to remove it.

    If you are going to make claims like this, at least support it with a valid reference. I know we're in GD, but you're making a scientific claim.
     
  14. Feb 10, 2010 #13

    turbo

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    You could have found this on DuPont's own web site, had you looked.

    http://www2.dupont.com/Sustainability/en_US/positions_issues/pfoa.html

    [unacceptable link deleted]

    If you google "DuPont PFOA" they are hits #2 and #3 respectively, after a sponsored "hit" paid for by DuPont.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
  15. Feb 10, 2010 #14
    Thank you! :approve: I guess I'll get one, but use it sparingly. It's just that certain veggies such as potato, yam, beet-root turn out much better on these than on stainless steel.

    So hopefully, I have comprehended right. If not, correct me. It's okay to use these things so long as I don't turn the flame too hard or scrape the pan using sharp objects. Right?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2010
  16. Feb 10, 2010 #15

    lisab

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    That's right. And I wouldn't worry too much about it...if you weigh all the risks we face in our daily lives, the risk posed by your cookware is way down on the list, IMO.
     
  17. Feb 10, 2010 #16

    russ_watters

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    These are the kinds of things you need to get the ability to judge: do you trust the FDA or an unsubstantiated rumor?

    Essentially all of the negative commentary in this thread is unsubstantiated scaremongering. Teflon pans are safe and the main reason to be careful with them is so you don't destroy them.
     
  18. Feb 10, 2010 #17
    Okay. Now you're just freaking me out on purpose. :tongue2: What risks in daily lives?
     
  19. Feb 10, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    That article does not support any of your claims. Heck, in the same link, you find this:
    anirudh215, read the entire link. What it essentially says is that such products are safe and there are no known (much less calculable) risk factors associated with the chemical. Nevertheless, scaremongering of the type that turbo-1 is doing has prompted the EPA to push for elimination of the chemical on a voluntary basis.

    And the second link you posted is questionable at best.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  20. Feb 10, 2010 #19

    russ_watters

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    Does your house contain stairs? A shower? You should stop using both of them immediatly if you consider your teflon pans to be a risk worthy of worry. How about hardwood and linoleum floors? There is a significant risk of brain damage associated with them.

    And your car? Don't ever go near that deathtrap again!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  21. Feb 10, 2010 #20

    Borek

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    Risk of dying of skull fracture when you fall after stumbling on the ball left by your dog/kid on the floor?

    I eat things prepared on the non-stick pans for over 30 years, I am still alive. In the meantime I have been to many funerals and I don't remember anyone dying because of non-stick pan. I remember reading about a person killed with a frying pan during family quarrel; I am not sure if identity of the pan (stick or non-stick) has been revealed.
     
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