Nonstick cookware can be seen in most households due to its several advantages which include easy surface cleaning and the use of less oil and butter in cooking. But in recent times, it has been majorly criticized over its contributions to toxic chemical emissions and danger to health.
This has raised a lot of fears about the safety of the nonstick pans. But after making a lot of research, we are able to come up with a few facts on nonstick cookware…
Nonstick Cookware Facts
- Nonstick cookware is safe to use as long as they are not overheated or exceed a temperature of 500 degrees recommended by DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon.
- Nonstick cookware is not the major source of PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) or only source of the substance. PFOA can also be found in fast-food packaging, shampoo, carpeting, and clothing, literally everywhere.
- Scratches on nonstick cookware do not mean the end of its lifespan or reduction in performance.
Nonstick Cookware Mistakes
Nonstick pans are safe to use as long as you use them in the right way. Food that requires high temperature (over 500 degrees) is not safe to cook on nonstick pans. But the likes scrambled eggs, pancakes and much other food that cook on low or medium heat are an exception. Some of the few mistakes people make in the use of nonstick cookware are:
- Preheating an empty pan: GHRI (Good Housekeeping Research Institute) conducted tests on three empty nonstick pans of different grades and they discovered that the pans hit a temperature of 500 degrees within 5 minutes of high heating. This can lead to degradation of the pan’s surface and release of potentially toxic fumes.
- Cooking on high heat: for the same reason you shouldn’t preheat an empty pan, don’t cook on high heat.
- Broiling or searing meat using nonstick pans: this is quite dangerous as the temperature required for these techniques is above what a nonstick can handle
- Using sharp or abrasive objects on the pan: using metal utensils or cleaning objects on the pan can cause chipping of the nonstick coating and may trigger the release of chemical compounds. To avoid this, use wooden or silicone spatulas to stir food and avoid steel wool (use a non-metallic sponge).
Tips for Taking Better Care of Your Nonstick Cookware
- Avoid putting a hot nonstick cookware into cold water immediately after taking it off the stove. This change in temperature can cause the cookware to warp, leading to an imbalance in heat distribution. Leave it to cool for few minutes before dipping into the cold water.
- Don’t cook acidic food on nonstick cookware. Acidic contents in a tomato based meal or lemon based meal corrode the nonstick coating and result in flaking.
- Avoid using aerosol cooking spray on nonstick cookware, instead, use the self-pump oil or the regular oil.
- Clean and hand dry your nonstick pans immediately after use. Don’t leave them over time before washing as left-over oil can form a coat over the surface.
- Use softer detergents to wash nonstick pans. Avoid the use of bleach or dishwasher detergent, they can damage the nonstick coating.