If you haven't noticed already, I cook a lot. Since I do, I own quite a bit of cookware and none of which is non-stick. Often people notice this because it's a bit unusual and ask my why.
Here is why…
Non-stick cookware contains a coating that contains PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are used to make grease-resistant food packaging and stain-resistant clothing as well. The widespread use of these toxins is having an impact. The first study to investigate temporal changes of PFCs over the past 50 years found there was an approximately 10-fold increase in blood levels of PFOA from the 1960s to the 1980s, followed by a slight drop in 2009.
Why is non-stick cookware dangerous?
You might be wondering, what is so dangerous about PFOA and other PFCs? As stated by the CDC:
“PFOA can remain in the body for long periods of time. In laboratory animals given large amounts, PFOA can affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to PFOA.”
The Environmental Working Group, writes about a study done by the EPA which found exposure to PFC's may have caused low birth weight, damage to organs, reproductive effects, and damage to major organs of offspring.
EWG also reports that the federal government considers PFOA to be carcinogenic — causing liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors in rats. Three of these four cancers have been increasing in the US population in recent years.
There is also evidence that shows PFA's can cause damage to the thyroid. In eleven studies conducted between 1978 and 2002, scientists have documented damage to the thyroid gland following exposure to PFOA and chemicals that break down into PFOA, in monkeys and other animals. The damage includes cellular effects on the thyroid and hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by low levels of thyroid hormones that control growth and metabolism and that are critical for proper brain development.
Based on all of this, and a long list of other studies, we can assume that non-stick cookware is not the ideal choice. It is important to do everything we can to reduce toxins in our food by eating organic whenever possible, using safe toxin-free cookware, storing food in non-plastic containers, etc. to avoid the possible health effects of all of these toxins.
What types of cookware are safe to use?
There are a lot of healthy cookware choices that do not use non-stick coatings. These options are easy to use and easy to clean. Here are my favorites:
With all of these options in cookware, non-stick cookware is easy to give up.
What is your favorite type of cookware?