HEADLINES Published January26, 2015 By Staff Writer

Are Non-Stick Pans Bad For The Health?

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Teflon
(Photo : Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News) Non-stick pans are widely used worldwide, but are they safe?

Today, people are becoming more health conscious. They prefer cooking with non-stick pans to reduce the use of oils in cooking. However, last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released limitations on the use of long-chain perfluorinated chemicals that are used in making Teflon pans.

According to The Guardian, cookware has often been linked to many health threats including aluminum based pans back in the 1970s. Aluminum pans were associated with the formation of plaques in the brain that can lead to Alzheimer's disease. Then, copper pots were made which caused the chemical to seep into food causing diarrhea. Then, in the modern times, Teflon become popular because everyone believed it was safe.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8 or perfluorooctanoate, is a synthetic perfluorinated carboxylic acid and fluorosurfactant. Now, based on animal studies, this chemical has been linked to tumors of the liver, pancreas, testicles and reduced fertility. Also, this chemical is used in the manufacture of non-stick pans or Teflon.

Yet, even if Teflon or non-stick pans have been linked to long-chain PFCs, they are considered safe because during manufacturing of these products, the coating has been heated to high temperatures. Hence, PFCs are eradicated even before the pan is assembled. When researchers tested non-stick pans under extreme temperatures and none of them released any harmful chemicals.

What was reported were cases about Teflon being linked to flu-like symptoms experienced from people who inhale fumes released by overheating pans. This is called polymer-fume fever but these fumes do not contain PFCs.  Thus, to avoid these, cooking on medium heat is recommended.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, the probable problem that comes with non-stick pans is the use of perfluorooctanoic acid that has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Also, this chemical was linked to elevated cholesterol and thyroid disease in people. But they reiterated that there is still no research showing that PFOA blood levels will rise upon using non-stick cookware.

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