The non stick cookware is extremely popular nowadays because it is perfect for cooking your fluffy pancakes, grilling your favorite sausages, and frying a perfect sunny-side egg. Cleaning up the non stick cookware is a breeze, thanks to a special coating that keeps food from sticking to the surface of the pan. The non stick cookware also allows you to cook with less oil or butter. But, the most asked question is, is non stick cookware safe? Fortunately, most non stick cookware in the market now has phased out perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, a suspected carcinogen. Nonstick cookware never was our most vital source of exposure to this chemical, but it's one less thing to worry about. However, overheating these pans can still create problems. When the pans get too hot, compounds in the coating can release as fumes. Overheating the pans can also make the coating of your nonstick cookware less effective. Polytetrafluoroethylene starts to dissociate at about 300 degrees Celsius or about 600 degrees Fahrenheit, releasing toxic fumes into the air. An empty pan can reach 500 degrees F in less than 2 minutes. Cooking foods over a high burner can also put you in the danger zone. Therefore, taking good care of non stick cookware can help keep your kitchen safe. It's always essential to remember to use your cookware on low-to-medium heat, and you don't use utensils that will scratch them.
Tips to Minimize Your Risk When Cooking
If you follow necessary safety precautions, cooking with non stick cookware is safe, healthy, and convenient.
1. Don't preheat an empty pan: Empty cookware can reach high temperatures within minutes, potentially causing polymer fumes release. Make sure you have some food or liquid in pots and pans before you preheat.
2. Avoid cooking on high heat: Cook on medium or low heat and avoid broiling since this cooking technique requires temperatures above those recommended for non stick cookware.
3. Ventilate your kitchen: When you're cooking, turn on your exhaust fan or open up windows to help clear any fumes.
4. Use wooden, silicone, or plastic utensils: Metal utensils can lead to scuffs and scratches on the non stick surface, reducing the life of your cookware.
5. Hand washes: Gently wash your cookware with a sponge and soapy, warm water. Avoid using steel wool or scouring pads since they can scratch the surface.
6. Replace old cookware: When non stick coatings start to visibly deteriorate with excessive scratches, peeling, flaking, and chipping, they are ready to be replaced.
Lastly, nonstick cookware is entirely safe for everyday home cooking, as long as temperatures do not exceed 570°F (300°C). So you can use them on the stovetop at low-to-medium heat, but don't use them at maximum heat or for hotter cooking methods like broiling. Nonstick cookware is a healthy and convenient way to cook your food that is safe for everyday use.