Nonstick pans cause cancer

Pan with coating harmless to health?

Teflon is a trade name for the plastic PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Because of its non-stick properties, many frying pans are coated with this plastic.

Organofluorine compounds such as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) or GenX (2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2- (heptafluoropropoxy) propionic acid (HFPO-DA)) or related substances are used to manufacture PTFE. In principle, there could still be residues of these harmful substances in the pan from production. Some manufacturers recommend rinsing the coated pan and boiling it with water before using it for the first time.

If pans with a PTFE coating are overheated, poisonous fumes can be produced (according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, they decompose into poisonous gases at over 360 ° C). PTFE-coated pans should therefore never be heated empty. These fumes can even be fatal to birds. As soon as there is water-containing food in the pan, it is unlikely to overheat.

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, if the smallest parts of a scratched PTFE coating detach and are swallowed while eating, this is not a health hazard. These particles are not digested and are excreted unchanged from the body.

To ensure safe use, please also note any information provided by the manufacturer on the use of PTFE pans (e.g. special information on first-time use).

PTFE prepares less in its use phase - e.g. B. as a frying pan - problems, but even beforehand in the manufacture of the plastic. Perfluorinated auxiliaries such as PFOA or GenX are used for this purpose, which have already led to pollution of water and soil in the vicinity of industrial sites. "PFOA-free" on your pan simply means that not PFOA, but most likely another fluorinated auxiliary such as GenX was used in the production.

These chemicals are extremely long-lived and are therefore also known as "Forever Chemicals" and can get back into our body via the food chain, for example. In Germany, almost all children examined in a study by the Federal Environment Agency were exposed to PFOA.

PFOA is believed to cause cancer and harm the unborn child and is therefore on the list of substances of very high concern.

A disadvantage of the PTFE coating is that the anti-stick effect diminishes over time and many frying pans end up in the garbage as a result.

Alternatively, you could use extremely durable uncoated pans made of stainless steel or cast iron. Cast iron pans should also have a certain anti-stick effect after baking.

In addition, other materials are used for the coating, e.g. enamel or ceramic. Unfortunately, most manufacturers hide the chemical composition of their coating behind bland trade names, so that consumers cannot tell which material it is.

Danger: Some manufacturers advertise pans with "ceramic coated", although they do not use pure ceramic but PTFE with ceramic particles. If you want an alternative coating, you should pay attention to the note "PTFE-free" as a precaution.

The non-stick effect can also decrease with ceramic pans. To delay this, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions for ceramic pans about which oil is suitable for frying in a ceramic pan.