Lately I have been writing a lot about how your health depends on sustainable practices and manufacturing. Today’s blog post isn’t any different. I recently invested in some top-notch non-toxic cookware. If you have been using the same pots and pans for years, you might want to consider the same.
Many conventional and nonstick cookware contain chemicals and pollutants like cadmium, lead, and nickel that can leach into your food. As per nonstick coatings, many are made using PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl), PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFCs (perfluorinated compounds) that can release carcinogenic harmful fumes when pans are overheated, which has also been reported by the Environmental Working Group. Additionally, if the nonstick coating is damaged, it can peel off into your food while cooking, and you are directly ingesting these compounds.
What are PFAS?
PFAS are also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because the chemical bonds that hold the compounds together don’t break down easily in the environment and last a very long time. They are linked to a multitude of health problems, such as cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, increased risk of asthma, thyroid disease and learning delays in children. The public became more aware of them recently due the water contamination crisis with these chemicals in Michigan and other states in the US.
For decades chemical companies have manufactured PFAS for use in consumer products and as manufacturing aids. The characteristics of these compounds offer heat, stain, and water resistance. At least 4,000 PFAS are or have been on the market according to the US government.
The two best-known PFAS, - PFOA (perfluorooctanoic) acid and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) - aren’t made deliberately in the US anymore, though they are the most widespread pollutants of concern.
Even though the FDA and EPA reaffirmed that products with nonstick coatings are safe to use when used as intended, the environmentally and health-conscious consumer wants to be cautious, because it wouldn’t be the first time that those agencies demonstrated willing blindness to toxic chemical exposure.
With all that in mind it was time to get some new pots and pans. My choice of non-toxic cookware is GreenPan. Their healthy ceramic non-stick coating called Thermolon™ is made from a sand derivative that does not require the use of toxic chemicals like PFOA or PFAS during the production process. They also collaborated with goop for a chic non-toxic cookware set in blush pink.
Thermolon™ is heat resistant up to high temperatures (as high as 450°C). So, if you accidentally overheat your pan, it won’t blister or release toxic fumes. It has excellent heat distribution and allows you to cook mostly at low to medium temperatures, which also reduces energy use. I was really impressed by the thermal conduction, the quality and how well made the cookware is.
Their products are also free of cadmium and lead. GreenPan uses upcycled stainless steel and aluminium whenever possible. Also 60% less CO2 is emitted during the curing phase of production of Thermolon™ coatings, compared to the emissions during the curing phase of production of traditional coatings.
The best part, they currently offer a 40% discount site wide. Ad Vitam is not affiliated with GreenPan, we just love their products.
If you don't want to invest in new cookware, make sure to follow these rules to avoid potential toxic exposure when cooking with nonstick pans:
Avoid overheating, use low or medium heat for cooking and do not preheat an empty pan. (Teflon and other coatings can begin to break down when the temperature reaches 450˚F.)
Use wooden, bamboo or silicone utensils on the pan to avoid scratching or chipping the finish.
Dispose pans that are damaged immediately.