Is the Teflon coating harmful?
Tableware with Teflon coating can now be seen in every family. Not surprisingly, because it has excellent non-stick properties. Teflon is applied as the top layer on the dishes used for cooking. Food due to this material does not burn, the need to use a large amount of vegetable oil disappears.
But over the past decade, more and more often there are articles and reviews on the Internet about the harm of Teflon. In this regard, it is worth investigating - what kind of substance is Teflon, what is it dangerous for, can they get poisoned by cooking in a dish with this non-stick coating, what harm from it?
What is Teflon?
Teflon was invented in the 30-ies of the XX century by American scientists. In the 40s, it was patented by the American firm DuPont. Teflon is a trademark. The real name of the substance is polytetrafluoroethylene. In Russia, this material is called fluoroplastic.
Teflon refers to plastics. This heat-resistant material can withstand up to +270 ° C. It starts to melt at a temperature of 270 to 350 ° C. Teflon is not exposed to most acids and alkalis, it is resistant even to the effect of a mixture such as "royal vodka".
Where is Teflon used? The scope of its application is not limited to kitchen utensils. Teflon can be found in outerwear, including children's clothing. It is used to impart water repellent and airtight properties to fabrics. In the production of cars and equipment, Teflon is used in valves, pumps, filters. It is part of the high-pressure hydraulic systems in the aviation industry. In electronics, Teflon is used as a dielectric. Medical implants are also made using fluoroplastic (Teflon). Heating appliances, iron surfaces, razor blades, boilers, plate hobs, toilets, rolling pins, corkscrews - can also contain this material.
Is Teflon harmful to humans?
Is Teflon harmful? The polymer from which Teflon is made is itself inert and has for some time been considered harmless. Teflon was tested many times by order of WHO. It was proved that getting into the body of Teflon in an amount up to 25% of the total intake of food does not harm the health of a person. But a study conducted by Californian scientists, disproved this fact. They monitored the course of pregnancy of 1,240 Danish women. One of the professors drew attention to the presence of perfluorocarbons in the blood of many of them. This meant that perfluorane, and more specifically perfluorooctanoic acid, contained in Teflon coatings, is capable of accumulating in the body.
Why is Teflon harmful? - in fact it was said above that the material is inert. The harmful effect occurs if the cookware is heated to a temperature of 230 ° C or the integrity of the Teflon surface is broken, that is, the coating is damaged, for example, scratched. In this case, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is released, toxic to the body, which is harmful to health. Damaged Teflon can release PFOA even at lower temperatures.
Perfluorooctanoic acid has attracted the attention of researchers many times. And it has been proven unambiguous harmful effect of this substance in large doses on living organisms. Especially poisoning PFOA affects the liver, hormones, reproductive system, fetus. And, indeed, women who have a high level of polytetrafluoroethylene in the blood, for a long time could not get pregnant, and attempts to IVF (in vitro fertilization) ended in failure. Diabetes mellitus, thyroid cancer, obesity can be a consequence of poisoning PFOA. The immune system is also very sensitive to perfluorooctanoic acid, which can damage most types of defense cells.
Perfluorooctanoic acid is a strong mutagen. It can cause the formation of cancer cells. Proved its influence on the occurrence of prostate cancer, female genital organs, leukemia.
For the first time, the American Society Environmental Working Group has been alarmed about the dangers of Teflon coating. It also carried out research and eventually forced the US Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) to recognize the harm of this substance. As a result, EPA manufacturers of non-stick cookware were instructed to reduce the use of PFOA in production by 95% until 2010, and to 2015 by 100%. But why do we still see frying pans with harmful Teflon coating on the market? This is because DuPont has stated that it can not find an absolute analog of Teflon in terms of properties. They assure that the search is ongoing.
On what kitchen utensils can you find a coating of Teflon?
- Frying pans in most cases have Teflon coating.
- Multivars have bowls, the inner surface of which is covered with Teflon.
- Pans and baking trays can also be covered with this material.
- Heating surfaces of electric grills, boilers, press devices, for example, waffle irons, or a device for making sandwiches - are surely covered with Teflon.
- The application of teflon on the rolling mills does not pursue non-stick purposes. In this case, it is needed to create an anti-slip surface.
Is the Teflon coating in the frying pan harmful? Using a pan with Teflon coating is harmful under the following conditions:
- the frying pan is heated more than 230 ° C;
- use a frying pan with damaged coating.
When the frying pan is heated up, polytetrafluoroethylene will start to form in the form of a volatile gas of perfluoroisobutylene. In humans, it causes a "Teflon" fever. Even with the removal of the source, this substance, can, for a long time, be on the surfaces of the room, especially on carpets, walls, flat surfaces, gradually poisoning our body. Foundry fever is rarely found when using dishes with Teflon. This disease is more typical for people working on its production.
The released polytetrafluoroethylene can have a negative effect on feathered pets, for example canaries or parrots, since their respiratory system is very sensitive to harmful gases. There are known cases of death of birds that are located near a frying pan that emits polytetrafluoroethylene.
Is the Teflon coating harmful in the multivark and other similar devices? Here the same rules apply as with frying pans. Not without reason in the complete set to the majority of multivarches there are plastic or silicone spoons. They prevent the coating of the bowl from damage and thus preserve not only its non-stick properties, but also the health of its owner.
How to avoid Teflon poisoning
If an alternative option for replacing dishes with Teflon coating is not found, some rules should be followed to ensure that the operation of such items is most harmless.
- During preparation in teflon ware it is better to use plastic, wooden or silicone spoons, since iron can scratch the surface.
- If a frying pan or bowl of multivarkers is scratched, it is recommended that they be replaced immediately.
- Do not heat the frying pan or leave the food brown for a long time.
- When washing dishes with a thin or defective Teflon, do not use abrasive detergents or hard jaws.
Do not buy frying pans at the lowest prices. As a rule, they are very thin and can become deformed when heated, and the Teflon layer breaks. In addition, cheap dishes are often not of high quality. Be sure to check the place of attachment of the handle. It is there that production defects in the form of damage to Teflon are possible.
Buy or not kitchen items with teflon coating - everyone's business. But if there is damage to the Teflon layer, then such utensils should not be used unambiguously. While companies producing Teflon and environmental societies are arguing with each other, the average consumer needs to look for alternative options on their own or follow the simple rules of operating such utensils.
Frying pan can not be overheated, it is necessary to cook on low or medium heat. It is preferable to use a frying pan with a temperature-sensitive indicator. It signals that the frying pan has heated to 180 ° C. Do not damage the dishes with Teflon coating, and in case of scratching immediately replace it. Even with the refusal to use dishes with Teflon coating, this material will still be present in everyday life or in the surrounding air.