Who doesn’t love scrambled eggs that slide easily out of the pan, leaving behind nothing but a faint glimmer of grease? Cooks across the country relish this moment made possible by Teflon, the most common non-stick surface that infallibly produces this magical moment of culinary delight. So, why try to cook without it? Read on to find out.
What is Teflon?
Teflon is a coating typically made from polytetraflouroethylene (PTFE) and manufactured using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8) – both of which come from the perfluorochemical (PFC) family. PFCs have become a regulatory priority for scientists and EPA officials due to a growing body of evidence showing them to be highly toxic, extraordinarily persistent chemicals (some never break down in the environment) that pervasively contaminate human blood and wildlife all over the globe.
Although manufacturers will tell you that Teflon pans do not release these chemicals “under normal conditions,” even they admit that overheating can cause the chemicals to off-gas. Manufacturers also argue that U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports tests have shown that any potential PFC exposure from Teflon pans would be nominal. But, since there are safer options, why take any chances with “nominal” exposures?
Teflon is used on more than just fry pans, so here are some safer substitutes that cover a wide variety of cookware and bakeware.
Curious about teflon alternatives? Safe cookware options include cookware or bakeware made of glass, ceramic, porcelain,
Tip: If you want to prevent your food from sticking in any kind of pan, heat up the pan first, then add oil to the hot pan, and let the oil warm up before you put in the food. Ta-da! It shouldn’t stick. This may take some practice, but be encouraged by the fact that it can be done!
Note: More significant sources of PFCs include clothing, upholstery, and carpeting marketed as “stain-resistant;” greasy, packaged foods like take-out and microwave popcorn bags; and even personal care products like dental floss and eye make-up (look out for products made with Teflon or containing ingredients that include words “fluoro” or “perfluoro.”)