Eating a nutritious diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But one thing that is often overlooked is how we’re cooking and storing nutritious food. Many people use non-stick cookwares like Teflon to cook their food, but these products contain a toxic chemical. So I thought I’d share some of the dangers of non-stick pans and other cookware.
Watch the video or continue reading below to find out more about the dangers of non-stick cookwares.
What are the dangers of non-stick cookwares and pans?
Non-stick cookwares have a class of chemicals known as PFOAs. You can also see PFOAs in things like waterproof clothing and stain repellants. These synthetic chemicals are good at repelling water and oil. They’ve been widely used since the 1950s. And now, they can find it in low levels across the world. They are in humans, in animals, in the water and in the soil.
PFOAs and Health Concerns
So why is this a problem? They are linking PFOAs to a few major health concerns. There are studies that link PFOA levels and ADHD in children. ADHD is a multifactorial condition, but PFOA exposure is one that you can control.
PFOAs are also classified as hormone-disrupting chemicals. This can affect not only your child’s health, but the whole family’s. Hormone disruptors are linked to problems like early-onset puberty, delayed growth and development, infertility, reproductive conditions, obesity and even cancer. PFOAs have also been identified as obesogens – chemicals that simulate the production and storage of fat in the body. This is obviously not a good thing to expose your family to!
PFOAs and Cancer
As if that wasn’t enough, PFOAs have also been classed as ‘likely carcinogenic’, or likely cancer-causing. According to Cancer.org:
Many studies in recent years have looked at the possibility of PFOA causing cancer.
Studies in the lab
Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands (breasts), and pancreas in these animals. In general, well-conducted studies in animals do a good job of predicting which exposures cause cancer in people. But it isn’t clear if the way this chemical affects cancer risk in animals would be the same in humans.
Studies in humans
Studies have looked at people exposed to PFOA from living near or working in chemical plants. Some of these studies have suggested an increased risk of testicular cancer with increased PFOA exposure. Studies have also suggested possible links to kidney cancer and thyroid cancer, but the increases in risk have been small and could have been due to chance.
Other studies have suggested possible links to other cancers, including prostate, bladder, and ovarian cancer. But not all studies have found such links, and more research is needed to clarify these findings.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be taking a chance with something that can likely cause cancer!
What manufacturers say about the dangers of non-stick pans and cookware
Manufacturers argue that the dangers of non-stick cookwares and pans are exaggerated, that PFOAs are used as part of the manufacturing process, but there is little left by the time we use it. However, Teflon and non-stick fumes cause symptoms such as headache, fever and muscle pains. They can even kill pet birds that are in the kitchen!
The jury is still out on the exact level of risk with these products, but I like to err on the side of caution. You don’t want to spend your time cooking nutritious wholefoods for your family on a potentially toxic pan.
What are the alternatives to non-stick cookwares and pans?
There are a number of alternatives, depending on which cookware you are replacing. Some of my favourites are:
Stainless steel cookware – these are great alternatives to non-stick saucepans
Ceramic and stone cookware – you will often find these as an alternative for baking dishes
Glass cookware – heatproof glass or Pyrex dishes are ideal for baking and for storing food
Cast-iron cookware – this is one of the best options for pans. However, many people avoid using it due to the weight and the need for seasoning to make it non-stick
What do I use instead of non-stick pans?
My favourite is a brand called Solidteknics, which I am in the process of switching over to. I started with a small iron pan to see how it went, and I loved it so much, I threw away my old pan and started cooking the family meals in batches in the Solidteknics pan! Since then, I’ve also purchased the larger 30cm pan.
For the quality, Solidteknics is actually quite affordable. My first small pan was around $120, and the larger one was around $190. You might need to save up a bit, but it saves you money in the long run. Solidteknics is available on the Biome online store, which also has a host of other products to help with reducing toxin and chemical exposure in the home.
Solidteknics is made of wrought iron. Wrought iron is half the weight of cast-iron, and can last for generations if cared for properly. You won’t need to throw out your pan every couple of years like you do with non-stick pans! Wrought iron does need some seasoning when you first use it, but the non-stick qualities build up with every season.
I hope this has illustrated the dangers of non-stick pans and cookware, and why it’s worthwhile to switch to a healthier alternative. You don’t have to change everything at once – sometimes health is about making one small change at a time. After all, lots of little changes add up to a healthier family.
IF YOU WANT TO IMPROVE HOW YOUR CHILDREN SLEEP, ADDRESSING THEIR GUT HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL.