Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Dangers Of Cooking With Non-Stick Pans

People have a tendency to forsake security and safety for convenience. This is often seen in regards to computing, health, and diet. There are consequences to our complacency, and people tend to forget consequences until they surface.  A good example of this is the public's overwhelming preference for non-stick cooking pans. These pans are convenient, but they are far from safe.
Whenever a bird inhales the toxic PFOA fumes from a heated non-stick pan, its lungs will ulcerate and then it will suffocate in its own body fluids.  This is the effect of inhaling either polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  Birds were used for centuries as an early warning system in mines, because they rapidly die whenever they are exposed to poisonous gas.
We discovered studies that contradicted the public marketing that has been done by the companies who produce non-stick pans.  The EPA has reported that PFOA stays inside humans for years, and it has been found to produce cancers in rats.  It noted that the chemical particularly damages the livers of rats, and it furthermore has a tendency to raise the triglyceride levels in humans.  PFOA has been registered with the EPA as a potential human carcinogen.
In fact, Dupont, the inventor of Teflon, was involved in a lawsuit due to its withholding of safety information about the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in non-stick cookware.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed the suit, claiming that DuPont concealed its own 1981 research, which demonstrated traces of this chemical in a pregnant employee's unborn child.  In 1991, the company likewise omitted reporting its evidence that PFOA had contaminated the water supply of around 12,000 people.  It was again sued by eight of the effected families.  One of the plaintiffs was a DuPont factory worker who bore a son with only one nostril and other facial defects.  His son has since had about 30 surgeries.  He and his spouse have opted not to have further children. lest they risk passing on the condition.
It is impossible to determine exactly what the fumes of the non-stick pans are doing to our bodies.  Gary Craig ran into some personal problems with the pans.
"About three or four years ago I began having to urinate too often, including getting up five or six times at night.  Gradually it got worse until it reached a peak a few months ago when I was urinating two or three times an hour all day long...  I noticed, however, that the problem went away when I left home to go on a trip.  Within 24 to 48 hours of walking out my front door, my system returned to normal...  Although I never used high heat (nothing above medium heat), I recalled that three or four years ago (about the time all this started) my mother gave me a Teflon frying pan...  which I began using regularly.  I stopped using the Teflon frying pan and BINGO!  About 24 to 48 hours later the problem vanished."
This is far from the "flu-like symptoms" that many of the producing companies admit will occur when the pans are "overheated" (above 500 F). It is important to remember that 500 F can be reached with merely the medium temperature setting on some stoves, and some pans may emit the poison gases at much lower temperatures.
So, what does PFOA do to the body?
Perhaps the hushed studies that have been done by DuPont since the 1950's will provide some enlightenment.  Studies which used animals as test subjects revealed that non-stick cookware produces health issues in the following categories:
  • Children's health and development
  • Risks of liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors
  • Altered thyroid hormone regulation
  • Generalized damage to the immune system
  • Reproductive problems and birth defects
We additionally recommend that people avoid aluminum cookware.  Aluminum is a soft metal that will flake toxic metallic particles into foods being cooked with it, especially if metal utensils are being used.  Stainless steel is always a better option; both for its low toxicity, and because this hardened steel will practically never output particles into food.  Aluminum is an accumulative heavy metal toxin that is known to lead to degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's.  Let us never forget the link between heavy metals with autism either.