One of the most shocking things we discovered is that a very common coating in cookware becomes toxic when heated to a certain temperature. Environmental Working Group (EWG) studies show a Teflon-coated pan heats up to approximately 750ºF in as little as five minutes. This leads to the release of a multitude of toxic compounds and toxic fumes that cause allergies and flu like symptoms!! And all of these toxic compounds find their way into your body when teflon becomes scratched and ends up in your food. Does anyone have a teflon pan that has not been scratched and/or heated to 750ºF? Even worse, these toxic compounds are persistent and will outlast our lifespan continuing to damage the environment.
PFOA, which is the chemical used to make teflon, has a disturbing profile (again, please look at the Environmental Working Groups studies referenced in the hotlink above) as it's effects include increased risk of heart attack and stroke, increased occurrence of a multitude of cancers, liver damage, dysfunction of the thyroid and immune system, and pituitary gland damage, to name a decreased ability to fight infection.
We did not know this! Imagine our reaction when we spent just a few minutes researching this subject. We were appalled, and frankly a little scared as we cooked with teflon pans for years and years. We continued our research more seriously, and found this emerging information to be compelling.
Our investigation led us to remove all of the teflon plans from our kitchen, and we removed all of our stainless steel cookware as well as the metals can leach into the food. Safer choices include cast iron, ceramic, and anodized aluminum. We ended up choosing ceramic as our go to choice, and we kept the few pans we had which were anodized.
Was this choice inexpensive? As we replaced a great deal of our pans (as you know, I am a foodie and have a well stocked kitchen), and we chose Le Creuset in many instances, it was not an inexpensive exercise. Outstanding quality, but higher on the price scale. However, when we compared the cost to the future health challenges and medical costs we could face by continuing to knowingly use cookware which isn't healthy for us, it was a steal.
For those of you reading this and reeling with this information and now faced the potential cost to re-trick out your kitchen, rest assured you can find some cost effective and safe for your family cookware. Our core stove top set is by Dr.Joseph Mercola (pictured above), and we love the lightweight ceramic stovetop pieces we now own, and the price is reasonable.
We continue to small yet significant steps to improve our health, more to come on our other changes in future posts.