Is Teflon Coating Harmful?
Teflon coated dishes can now be seen in every family. It is not surprising, because it has excellent non-stick properties. Teflon is applied as a top layer on the dishes used for cooking. Food thanks to this material does not burn, the need to use large amounts of vegetable oil disappears.
But over the past decades, more and more articles and reviews on the Internet about the dangers of Teflon. In this regard, it is worthwhile to understand - what kind of substance is Teflon, how is it dangerous, can they be poisoned by cooking in dishes with this non-stick coating, what harm does it have?
What is teflon
Teflon was invented by an American scientist in the 1930s. In the 40s, it was patented by the American company DuPont. Teflon is a trademark. The real name of the substance is polytetrafluoroethylene. In Russia, this material is called - Teflon.
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 effects of such a mixture as "royal vodka".
Where is Teflon applied? The scope of its application is not limited to kitchen utensils. Teflon can be found in the composition of outerwear, including children’s. It is used to impart water-repellent and air-tight properties to fabrics. In the production of automobiles and teflon technology are used in the composition of 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 PTFE (Teflon). Heating appliances, iron surfaces, razor blades, boilers, hot plates, toilet bowls, rolling pins, corkscrews - may also contain this material.
Is teflon harmful to humans?
Is Teflon Harmful? The polymer from which Teflon is made is inert in itself and until some time it was considered harmless. Teflon has been tested many times by order of WHO. It was proved that the ingestion of Teflon in the amount of up to 25% of the total food intake does not harm human health. But a study by Californian scientists disproved this fact. They monitored the 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 perftoran, and more specifically perfluorooctanoic acid contained in teflon coatings, is able to accumulate in the body.
What is harmful Teflon? - because above it was said that the material is inert. Harmful effects occur if the dishes are 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. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is toxic to the body and is harmful to health, is released in this case. Damaged Teflon is able to excrete PFOA even at lower temperatures.
Perfluorooctanoic acid has repeatedly attracted the attention of researchers. And it was proved the unambiguous harmful effects of this substance in large doses on living organisms. Especially PFOA poisoning affects the liver, hormonal glands, the reproductive system, the fetus. And, indeed, women with a high level of polytetrafluoroethylene in the blood for a long time could not get pregnant, and IVF attempts (in vitro fertilization) ended in failure. Diabetes, thyroid cancer, obesity can be the result of PFOA poisoning. 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. Its effect on the occurrence of prostate cancer, female genital organs, and leukemia has been proven.
For the first time, an alarm about the harm of Teflon coating was sounded by the American Society of the Environmental Working Group. It also conducted research and eventually made the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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% by 2010, and by 2015 by 100%. But why do we still see frying pans with a harmful Teflon coating on the market? This is happening as the company DuPont stated that it could not find the absolute analogue of Teflon by properties. They assure that searches are ongoing.
On which kitchen utensils can you find Teflon coating?
- Frying pans in most cases have a Teflon coating.
- Multivarki have bowls, the inner surface of which is covered with Teflon.
- Pots and pans can also be coated with this material.
- The heating surfaces of electric grills, boilers, press devices, for example, waffle irons, or devices for making sandwiches, are probably covered with Teflon.
- Drawing on teflon rolling pins does not pursue the antiprigarny purposes. In this case, it is needed to create an anti-stick surface.
Is Teflon coating harmful in a pan? Using a Teflon coated pan is harmful under the following conditions:
- heating the pan more than 230 ° C;
- use a frying pan with a damaged coating.
With a strong heating of the pan, polytetrafluoroethylene in the form of volatile gas perfluoroisobutylene will start to stand out. In humans, it causes "teflon" fever. Even with the removal of the source, this substance may be on the surfaces of the room for a long time, especially on carpets, walls, flat surfaces, gradually poisoning our body. Foundry fever is rare when using utensils with Teflon. This disease is more characteristic of people working in its production.
Polytetrafluoroethylene released can have a negative effect on feathered pets, such as canaries or parrots, as their respiratory systems are very sensitive to harmful gases. There are cases of death of birds in the vicinity of the pan, emitting polytetrafluoroethylene.
Is Teflon coating harmful in a multicooker and other similar devices? Here the same rules apply as with frying pans. Not without reason, plastic or silicone spoons are included in the set for most multicookers. They prevent the bowl from being covered from damage and thus retain not only its non-stick properties, but also the health of its owner.
How to avoid teflon poisoning
If there is no alternative option to replace Teflon-coated cookware, you should follow some rules so that the operation of such items is the most harmless.
- While cooking in Teflon dishes, it is better to use plastic, wooden or silicone spoons, as iron can scratch the surface.
- If the pan or bowl of the multicooker is scratched, it is recommended to replace them immediately.
- Do not heat the pan too much or leave food to brown for a long time.
- When washing dishes with thin or low-quality Teflon, you should not use abrasive detergents or hard sponges.
Do not buy frying pans at the lowest prices. As a rule, they are very thin and can be deformed when heated, and the Teflon layer cracks. In addition, cheap tableware is often not of high quality. Be sure to check the place of attachment of the handle. It is there that a manufacturing defect in the form of Teflon damage is possible.
Whether or not to buy Teflon-coated kitchen items is everyone’s business. But if there is damage to the Teflon layer, then such dishes should definitely not be used. As long as companies that manufacture teflon and environmental protection companies argue with each other, the average consumer needs to look for alternatives on his own or follow some simple rules for using such dishes.
The pan can not be overheated, you need to cook over low or medium heat. It is preferable to use a frying pan with a heat-sensitive indicator. It signals that the pan has reached 180 ° C. Do not damage the dishes with Teflon coating, and in the case of scratches immediately replace it. Even with the refusal of the use of dishes with Teflon coating, this material will still be present in everyday life or in the surrounding air.