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Nonstick pans are sticky subject

Posted by: admin at 10:50 am on August 11th, 2016

I am retiring my nonstick pan and wonder if I want another of the same type or the new ceramic non-stick! Can you please explain the difference?

Great question, and one I get asked often. Many are opting to do away with the older nonstick pans because they are made with perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA's, and polytetrafluoroethylene, known as PTFE's, potentially toxic chemicals used in the coating. The problem with the PFOA's and PTFE's is when the pan is used with high temperatures, it emits fumes toxic enough to poison birds. In fact, the studies I did on the toxicity of PFOA's began when someone contacted me with health issues, and in the course of our conversation, mentioned that the family finch had died. After questioning the details about the bird's death, like where was the cage, and they mentioned it was near the kitchen, it was worrisome. I contacted a veterinarian, and asked if this was something their practice had ever heard of. When I was told yes, I became concerned on the safety and dangers of heating food in PFOA's. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it is not clear at what temperature the toxic fumes occur, but the manufacturer, has long acknowledged that heating nonstick cookware to temperatures as low as 464 degrees Fahrenheit is harmful to birds. While there is still controversy over the dangers of heating foods in pans that contain PFOA's and PTFE's, all ceramic cookware is chemical free. According to the American Cancer Society, ACS, studies have suggested an increased risk of cancer in people living or working in chemical plants exposed to PFOA's. ACS studies suggested an increased risk of testicular cancer, kidney cancer and thyroid cancer. Other studies have suggested possible links to other cancers, including prostate, bladder and ovarian cancer although more research is needed to clarify these findings according to the ACS. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, PFOA was detected in close to 98 percent of the population. Ceramic cookware, on the other hand, contains no metals, lead or cadmium. In the USA, ALL ceramic products have to pass the strict California Prop 65 before the product can be sold in the United States of America. When selecting ceramic cookware, I would recommend a stainless steel base rather than aluminum or anodized.

Thought for the week: What you tell yourself everyday will either lift you up or tear you down!

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant; email her at docphylis@gmail.com. This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.