Non-stick pans and other non-stick cookware are used a lot nowadays. And are recommended by many chefs as well. But what are they made? This is a question you should ask every time you buy new cookware. Most of these cooking products are made of man-made chemicals, and some chemicals might be bad for human health.
Teflon is one of those artificial chemicals. DuPont owns its trademarked name, and its production is still going on by them. But most of the production was moved to its branch company Chemours in 2015. Teflon was a significant part of the chemicals used to make non-stick cooking products. But you might know that heating non-stick cookware can release these chemicals, which are not entirely safe for human health.
Many studies have shown us that materials like Teflon can cause health issues like cancer, thyroid problems and much more. But even though it is not safe for health, much non-stick cookware still uses the name of Teflon, and its production is still going on. But why is that? Let’s find out that if Teflon is banned in UK or not.
Productions of Teflon required various other materials as well. And some of the most famous materials are PTFE and PFOA. PTFE or scientifically known as Polytetrafluoroethylene, was a part of the early production of Teflon. And while it alone was harmful to health, DuPont didn’t stop at just using PTFE. Instead, they added a new chemical which was also a man-made chemical and was known as PFOA or Perfluorooctanoic or more commonly known as C8.
PFOA and PTFE were both harmful chemicals, and they were a significant part of Teflon production. PFOA became a must-have material, and so it up till 2002. DuPont was buying it from a company called 3M, and with research going on in 2002, DuPont started making PFOA by themselves. And so, they became the need of Teflon production.
Is Teflon Safe?
No, Teflon is an artificial chemical, and like other chemicals, it is also not favourable to humans. However, with Teflon being used in most non-stick cookware, it is essential to know if it is safe or not. For the most part, there is no doubt that most chemicals are harmful to human health.
Teflon is produced by two chemicals called PTFE and PFOA. Unfortunately, these two chemicals also have some side effects. But the chemical that causes the most damage is PFOA. With studies done, it has been found that PFOA has led to many different diseases such as kidney problems, liver disease, Cancer, Thyroid disorders and some other chronic diseases.
And with PFOA being washed away into the natural water sources, more and more people were inhaling this material. But after knowing its side effects, many countries, including the UK, have banned Teflon from being used in cookware. Due to the ban, Teflon has not been used in the production of non-stick materials.
Is Teflon Banned?
Yes, Teflon is banned in many countries but only in the making of cookware. And its primary component, PFOA, has been wholly removed from cookware since 2013. Both DuPont and 3M knew about the harmful effects of using PFOA in Teflon production, but they still used it.
After knowing that chemicals of Teflon are not safe for human health, many countries have banned the use of chemicals like C8 in the production of Teflon. With the UK being one of the leading countries to ban it in 2005. Other countries, such as the United States, also banned it in 2014.
Teflon might be banned from these countries, but it is still produced to this day and is still used in making some other materials such as wires, clothing, etc.
Replacement of Teflon
Chemicals like PFOA have been banned from being used in the production of Teflon, but if they are forbidden them which materials are being used in the production of non-stick pans now? Are they safe?
So, after PFOA like chemicals were banned, new materials were found and are used in the making of Teflon and non-stick cookware. These materials are GenX and PFBS. They are said to be safer than PFOA and are used widely nowadays.
But they are still chemicals, and to be safe. Instead, you can use cookware made of other materials such as cast iron. Cast iron is a natural substance made from iron ore. By melting iron ore in a furnace, you can get cast iron. If you don’t want to use cast iron made products, then other products like Granite coated products are pretty good to use.
When should you change your non-stick cookware?
Good non-stick cookware can last for quite a long time, but it is not recommended. Over time, the surface and build of cooking products like stainless steel pans get damaged and weak. So, it often recommended changing your non-stick cookware after five years of usage. Or if you see that your cooking product is not in good conditions, such as the warped bottom, the coating is scratched, handles are damaged, or the surface is damaged.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
C8 or PFOA is a harmful material, which was used in the production of Teflon. But since 2014, it is banned and is not used in making non-stick materials and many products mention that it’s a PFOA-free product.
No, baking soda is not harmful to the surface of non-stick pans. But as a matter of fact, it is often used to remove other harmful stains such as grease. So, you can use it easily on a non-stick pan, without worrying about damaging the pan’s surface.
Ceramic is better than Teflon in quite a few different ways. For instance, it is even more non-stick than Teflon. And its surface allows the heat to spread evenly making it easier to cook. Its excellent non-stick surface is easy to clean and easy to cook on.
Non-stick pans are now a part of the cooking item and are being used for quite a time. With the removal of materials like PFOA, these products are even more helpful. Unfortunately, the chemicals used from the 70s in the production of Teflon, PFOA and PTFE had some side effects.
But nowadays, almost all non-stick cooking products are PFOA-free and are acceptable for human health. With its ban, new material like GenX and PFBS were found and are used in the production of Teflon now. So, now non-stick products are safer to use. And Teflon is still sold, not just for the production of non-stick pans but also for other items.