Weekly Health Tip: Is Your Frying Pan Safe?


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It can be overwhelming enough to keep track of which food & drinks are healthy, and now I’m talking about your cookware too? I feel the same frustration when I hear about yet another common food, drink or everyday item that’s no longer considered healthy or safe to use. That being said, I’d rather be informed so I can make the switch, and know that I’m doing everything I can to stay healthy.

Most things that are bad for us are convenient, ie: fast food, packaged food, processed food, etc. And Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is no different. It’s the chemical coating on most frying pans that makes it non-stick, and wonderfully easy to cook with.

Sadly, like most things convenient it’s not good for human consumption when it starts to decompose at temperatures of above 350F. Teflon toxicity can cause hormonal imbalance and cancer (1).

“In May, 2003, the environmental research and advocacy organization Environmental Working Group filed a 14-page brief with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission petitioning for a rule requiring that cookware and heated appliances bearing non-stick coatings carry a label warning of hazards to people and to birds” (2).

The alternative? Cook with stainless steel or cast iron pots & pans.

While John and I were in Florida we picked up the Le Creuset Iron Handle Skillet. It’s a bit different to cook with – you have to heat it slowly, and it retains heat very well so you can usually keep heat at medium, but other than that it’s great! Plus they’re available in a variety of awesome colours – we got the caribbean turquoise. Cooking with cast iron also adds a bit of extra iron to your food, which is a good thing!

Le Creuset is just one company that sells cast iron products; they’re also available at major grocery & kitchen stores at a lower price point (Superstore, The Bay, Canadian Tire, etc.).

Safe cooking!

(1) http://www.naturalhealth365.com/science_news/teflon.html

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytetrafluoroethylene#Safety



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4 Responses to Weekly Health Tip: Is Your Frying Pan Safe?

  1. Sarah October 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    So jealous of your Le Creuset! I agree, cast iron cooking takes some getting used to, but they get increasingly better with age.

    • Lauren October 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Thanks Sarah – good to know!

  2. Alaina October 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    So, it’s fine then to use a non-stick pan for something you will only cook on low-heat like an omelette? I find making an omelette (I make them often for Rowan) in a stainless steal pan so frustrating. But we do use stainless steal for everything else. They’re great for searing!

    • Lauren October 23, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Alaina – that’s right. Apparently they’re safe when used at low temperatures. When you cook at high temps that’s when the coating & chemicals start to break down, and seep into your food. To be on the safe side, I would recommend cooking with cast iron or stainless most of the time – especially when transferring from stove-top to oven.

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