Cooking with oil and butter were common practices to keep the food from sticking to the pans. The problem was that the flavor of these ingredients would be left behind, could make the food seem heavy and greasy and both added additional calories. They were not diet-friendly or useful for all meals. Teflon coated pans eliminated these issues but the coating has since been determined to be a health concern.
Teflon is the company name for the chemical that provides the non-stick coating. Its original name is Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This chemical is a concern because when it reaches a certain temperature it releases another chemical that is used in its manufacturing process. This chemical is known as Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Scientific studies were performed to determine in PFOAs contributed to causing cancer. The research determined that laboratory animals were more likely to develop certain types of cancer when exposed to PFOA. These included cancer of the breasts, liver and pancreas and testicles. However, human-based studies were not as conclusive. There were some indications that an increased risk of developing prostate, bladder and liver cancer did exist. However, there was not enough definitive proof to label the chemical as a known carcinogen.
PFOA is released and eliminated during the manufacturing process of Teflon pans but there is a concern that some of the chemical may remain behind and could be transferred into food as the pan is heated. The pans were not banned because the link could not be proven 100 percent but many health professional urge people to be cautious about using products that contain the chemical.
One of the easiest ways to avoid any risk of PFOAs in food is to choose alternative pans. It is also important to realize that Teflon is not the only material that is risky. Copper toxicity is a health risk and a possibility when copper coated cookware is used. Aluminum pans also release chemicals as they are heated. The best option is to use pans that are known to be coated in materials that are 100 percent free from all PFOAs and potential metal toxicity. This means visiting stonefryingpans.com and learning more about cookware coated with stone, diamond or other innovative materials. These products do not change the flavor of the food or potentially expose consumers to questionable chemicals.