Here’s a sign that Teflon coating could cause serious health problems: It gives off fumes that kill birds! Veterinarians call it “Teflon Toxicosis” and it happens because birds develop powerful respiratory reactions to Teflon fumes.
Reports of Teflon-Killed Birds
When a Teflon-lined oven was used to bake biscuits at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, an owner reported the death of his parrots.
When four stovetop burners lined with Teflon drip pans were preheated for a meal, 14 birds died within15 minutes.
With accounts like these, it’s astonishing anyone still uses Teflon.
In April 2003, the Environmental Working Group filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action against Dupont for an 18-year cover-up regarding the dangers of Teflon”s chemical – PFOA. DuPont was fined 16.5 million dollars for failing to report the dangers of this chemical.
Toxic Fumes from Heated Teflon
According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), fumes from heated Teflon are made up of four “extremely toxic” gases:
PFIB – Was used as a nerve gas during World War One.
MFA – Described as a gas that “can kill people at low doses.”
PFOA – A carcinogen in animals, causes birth defects and infertility.
PTFE – Classified as carcinogenic to animals, and “likely carcinogenic to humans”.
What’s shocking is that most of the fears about Teflon don’t even discuss PFIB and MFA. These bird-killing, toxic gases have gotten very little notice. Instead, the focus has been on another chemical altogether: PFOA. PFOA has been investigated the most and linked to cancer and infertility. PTFE is found in many brands such as: Silverstone, Fluron, Supra, Excalibur, Greblon, Xylon, Duracote, Resistal, Autograph T-Fal, and several others.
No “Safe” Non-Stick Coatings
A common misconception of non-stick coating dangers is that it has to be heated to a high temperature to emit dangerous gases. This is not so. New reports say that non-stick coatings heated at even very low temperatures have caused the death of many pet birds.
Birds (and humans) are not safe in anywhere non-stick products are used. The gases and fumes travel through the air, and move from room to room. The fumes can stay on surfaces such as carpets or curtains for a long time. There is no such thing as a “safe” non-stick coating.
Unhealthy Cookware: Danger in Disguise
Many cookware types are said to be safe, yet in reality, their effects are either unknown or downright dangerous:
Anodized Aluminum – is dark gray-black and has a smooth surface, but doesn’t feel coated. The electro-chemical anodizing process locks in the cookware’s base metal, aluminum, which makes it non-porous and non-reactive. However, the anodization known to break down over time, at which point you will be ingesting the toxic metal aluminum.
Ceramic – As far back as 1990, the New York Times reported on the lead poisoning dangers associated with ceramic cookware. The lead itself is contained in the ceramic glaze. According to the New York Times, the lead in the glaze is sealed in during firing, if the process is done correctly.
If there is an error made during the process, the lead will actually leach out of the cookware set and into the food. Slow but consistent lead poisoning is the result.
Thermolon – is being billed as the first environment-friendly, PFOA-free, PTFE-free non-stick cookware and uses a ceramic-based nano non-stick technology. The safety of nanotechnology used for cooking is still unknown.
Enameled Cast Iron – Some older enamel cookware may contain cadmium or lead, both considered by the FDA to be toxic substances. These chemicals are most likely found in brands manufactured by foreign companies and cookware that is lined with red, yellow or orange pigments.
According to the FDA, all enamel cookware manufactured for the United States today is safe from cadmium and lead, and we all know trusting the FDA is like trusting an armed robber that you find in your house when you get up to go to the bathroom at night. Additionally, enamel from these pans can chip over time and contaminate your food.
5 Choices for Safe and Healthy Cookware
From our research we have concluded that the following types of cookware are safe:
1. Glass – Glass is the most inert of all cookware, meaning that it doesn’t leach metals or other ingredients into the food.
2. Cast Iron – Although many people do not know, cast iron pans are beautifully non-stick when properly seasoned (cookware-speak for lightly oiled and baked). They hold heat wonderfully and are a joy to cook with–I’m pretty sure they’re the best kept secret in the cupboard. They require some extra maintenance but they are inexpensive and add a little iron to your diet as well.
3. Clad Cookware – Layered cookware is called clad–think of those lovely, and costly, All-Clad pots and pans. Typically, stainless steel surrounds a sandwich of other metals, such as aluminum or copper. The inert stainless steel provides the cooking surface, while the aluminum or copper improves the heat conductivity.
4. Stainless Steel – Stainless is a very good choice for healthy cooking because it is one of the most inert metals. It reportedly does leach a small amount of nickel. One drawback is that it doesn’t conduct heat evenly, so consider stainless “clad,” described above, for this purpose. Scientist Dr. Ray Peat suggests that your stainless steel cookware is safe if a magnetic will stick to the bottom of it.
5. The cookware I use is stainless steel, coated with eco-ceramic. It has all the benefits of ceramic, without being contaminated by lead.