When it comes to kitchen tools, I am a huge fan. I love my pressure cooker, food processor, and air fryer, and they all play a part in making my life easier by saving me both time and effort.
However, some kitchen tools can seem a little too good to be true. And the perfect example of that is non-stick cookware.
When anything from eggs to cheese is able to slip right out of a pan without adding butter or oil, non-stick pans can almost seem like magic.
But it also raises the question of whether those pans are completely safe. Is it possible that non-stick coating is harmful to our health?
A number of years ago, I started to worry that my pans contained toxic chemicals that I should potentially be avoiding. This led me to do a little digging of my own.
I learned that the “bad guy” in many non-stick coatings is perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. This chemical is known to be unsafe and was even the subject of a lawsuit against DuPont, the makers of Teflon.
Does Non-Stick Cookware Contain PFOA?
The good news for lovers of non-stick cookware is that PFOA has not been used in Teflon since 2013.
In my search for information, I learned that both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have weighed in on the topic.
We can thank the EPA for pushing DuPont to remove PFOA, and the FDA for continuing to test these products for safety.
The only concern that leaves is what happens to that Teflon surface when exposed to high heat?
Is Non-Stick Cookware Safe at High Temperatures?
It turns out DuPont recommends using their nonstick products at medium heat only, generally up to about 450 degrees.
The good news here is that most non-stick cookware is safe to use when cooking eggs, poultry, vegetables, and bacon.
The downside is that anything requiring heat over 500 degrees Fahrenheit should be avoided. Cooking at this temperature and above can result in the release of harmful chemicals.
That means that when searing burgers and steaks or similar foods, non-stick cookware isn’t the best choice. Stick with cast iron or a grill.
How Often Should I Replace My Non-Stick Cookware
It’s worth nothing that non-stick pans can sometimes begin to flake. The FDA says that there’s no need to be concerned if a small flake of the non-stick coating ends up in a dish.
But when non-stick pans start to flake eccessively, it’s time to replace them. The chips in the pan reduce the non-stick capability of the pans, and nobody wants bits of their pan in their food!
So what’s the final verdict on these convenient kitchen tools? When used in accordance with the instructions, non-stick cookware is safe for everyday use.
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and use a low to medium heat when cooking with a non-stick pan, and you’ll get years of enjoyment out of your cookware!