Nonstick pans have gained much popularity over the years as they have made cooking a breeze and cleanup even more so. The great thing about Teflon is that almost nothing sticks to it, making it quite difficult to willingly give up using it. The bad part of it is that it is a synthetic chemical treatment put on pots and pans that release toxic particles & gases when heated at high temperatures. While you may not necessarily notice any strong odor or fumes if you have ever used these, be aware that they are still toxic and can cause health issues such as birth defects, thyroid and immune issues.

Teflon is technically polytetrafluoroetheylene or PTFE, for short. Like many of these chemicals, a growing body of evidence has been mounting against the use of it. In fact, since it’s introduction in the 1940s, Teflon and it’s related perfluorinated chemicals, or PFC’s, have been shown to be dangerous, not just to humans, but to the environment and animals as well.

PFC’s are an advanced chemical developed for many different uses. They are known to be waterproof and chemically stable, meaning they do not react to many chemicals or degrade. They are also marketed as flame retardants and found in products like clothing, furniture and carpeting, which are items that stay in your home for many years.

PFASs (perfluoroalkyl substances) which are forms of PFC’s are linked to multiple issues including hormonal dysfunction, liver toxicity, obesity and disruption of fat absorption, neurological issues, and ulcerative colitis. With these various collection of troubling symptoms, you should be aware of the potential for toxicity with these chemicals if you use these products.

Avoiding PFC’s is difficult because of how pervasive they have become in our ecosystems. The best way to prevent your exposure is to avoid purchasing products that are treated with it.

This includes:

Nonstick pans coated with Teflon
Clothing coated with advanced waterproofing materials, such as Teflon
Stain resistant fabric protector sprays with Teflon

Switch to better options:

Cast iron pans
Stainless steel pans
Oven safe glass cookware
Organic carpeting or hardwood floors
Flame retardant free, household items

While it may seem challenging to avoid these chemicals, a great resource such as Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) can help with the process. You can access their database and search for safer products to use. The choices you make now will ultimately benefit the health of you and your family in the future. Stay informed and stay healthy.