Everyone has some type of cookware in their homes. Some of it can actually harm you. Yikes!
I remember my Mom using her cast iron skillet that cooked absolutely everything that wasn’t baked in the oven. When I grew up and started my own home and stocked my kitchen, imagine my delight at discovering the latest in non-stick, lightweight cookware coated with some stuff called Teflon. No more needing two hands and all the strength I could muster to lift that cast iron skillet!
Was I wrong about my choice!
Years passed and sporadic reports started coming out about how birds were dying in homes that cooked with Teflon. Something about the fumes. And as time went by the Teflon coating got old and started discoloring and flaking.
Buying new pots and pans was really expensive, so we cleaned the old ones as best as we could to get the loose flakes off and continued to use them… for awhile.
Then more news came out saying that pans coated with Teflon were for sure emitting fumes, flaking, killing pet birds and causing illness in humans as well.
Cookware manufacturers, not to be derailed from this lucrative market, came out with new non-stick surfaces that were touted as being safe and harmless to pets and humans.
Over the years, I personally went through several sets of non-stick cookware… trying to find the safest, yet most convenient to use. I was wrong again. All of it according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) contains polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE, which is made from perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA) and has been found to be toxic. It is one of the main sources of endocrine disrupters (thyroid issues).
The best description of this new travesty came in an article from a terrific website naturallysaavy.com that features all things good and healthy for us. To quote an excerpt from the article:
“…similar coatings such as Anolon, Caphalon, Circulon, Silverstone, and Tefal, among others, came to market. Non-stick surfaces coated with polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE, which is made from perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA) release toxic fumes at high temperatures that can kill pet birds and cause flu-like symptoms in people. PFOA has been associated with high cholesterol, thyroid problems, male infertility, and pregnancy difficulties. Non-stick cookware is the number one item to eliminate from your kitchen!”
So goodbye all coated pots and pans. My mother using her cast iron skillet was right all along.
The story doesn’t end here. The use of Aluminum for cookware is also a huge health risk. The website I mentioned above, naturallysaavy.com gave an insightful description of the dangers of using Aluminum in cookware.
“Aluminum has the advantages of being lightweight and relatively inexpensive. That’s where it ends, however. Aluminum can leach into your food and this mineral has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease, autism, and asthma. Although you’ll see claims that anodized aluminum will not leach as much aluminum if the surface is not damaged, there is still a risk. (Anodization is a chemical process that increases the oxide layer, making it more durable and less likely to corrode.)”
Ok… That pretty much eliminates both coated and aluminum cookware. So what should we use? Go hunting for uncoated stainless steel, and start seasoning a cast iron skillet if you don’t already have one.
As difficult as this news is to take in, it’s clearly worth it to heed the danger. Why spend big dollars on buying healthy, organic natural products and then damage our bodies anyway by preparing the foods in dangerous cookware?
I’ve sadly given up on my coated pans and am now moving to heavy stainless cookware. I’m buying just one at a time because of the high cost, but I now know it’s the right choice to make.
This is information to take really seriously.