Let Teflon Slide…Sticking with GreenPan

A big part of my kitchen purge included the ditching of my non-stick pans.  This hurt as I love to cook and for years, I’ve relied heavily on Teflon to reduce grease in my pancakes, omelets and dosas (among other dishes).

So for about a year, I’ve been slugging it out with stainless steel Jamie Oliver pans.  I absolutely love the weight of them and they’re great pans but I’ve started to tire of the baking soda scrub routine to get the residues off the bottoms and sides.  I found the Universal Stone was a great cleaning agent but still, it takes a lot longer to clean these pans. I frequently lament about the losers that decided to make non-stick out of PFOA and then not innovate to fix the massive issue it has become.

PFOA is worse than DDT when it comes to its inability to break down into the ecosystem. Here’s a quote from Environmental Health News of 29th May 2007:  “The very persistent PFOAs can contribute to thyroid problems, immune changes and cancer (testicular, liver and pancreatic) in laboratory animals. People exposed to PFOA at work may be at higher risk for pancreas, testis and prostate cancers.

Alarmingly, about 95% of humans have the chemical in our bloodstreams.  More alarmingly still is that polar bears are starting to get it into their bloodstreams.

This is not just about the non-stick cookware.   It’s in our burger wrappers, french fry cartons, microwave popcorn bags, candy packaging and pizza wrapping.  Basically, anyone trying to prevent food from sticking to a surface or trying to contain grease leaks is probably using the chemical.  Note that when we’re talking about plastic wrappers on foods there’s another substance called DEHA widely used which is linked to liver, kidney and spleen damage as well as irregular bone formation and it is also classified as a possible carcinogen.  I digress…

3M announced in 2000 that they would be phasing out the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate used in Scotchguard and perfluorooctanoic acid used in non-stick pans.  It says a lot when giants like this say that a chemical is just too hazardous.

Health Canada has also banned the import of any new related chemical.  Unfortunately we don’t really have a disposal plan for all of the items that need to be replaced.  All I knew is that they needed to be replaced with either stainless steel or cast iron.

However….this weekend I found another option.  I picked up a GreenPan at Sears after seeing it at the Green Living Show last weekend here in Toronto.  Green Pan uses Thermolon; an environmentally friendly, mineral-based, non-toxic coating that brings back the joy of flipping pancakes.  Along with this I picked up an OXO flipper made of silicone that is heat resistant up to 315˚ C

So I made a batch of pancakes this morning and I can’t tell you how nice it was to get back that consistent, golden (not blackened) end product.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my stainless steel cookware but nothing beats the non-stick for breakfast cooking.  The added bonus of next to no time cleaning makes the GreenPan a very welcome house guest.

I’m so happy with my new find.  It’s the little things in life right?

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2 responses to “Let Teflon Slide…Sticking with GreenPan

  1. Hi Sonia — I applaud the idea of creating a greener home, and because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions. Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at Teflon. This article highlights what they found — the bottom line is that you can use Teflon without worry.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/kitchen/cookware-bakeware-cutlery/nonstick-pans-6-07/overview/0607_pans_ov_1.htm

    In regards to PFOA and cancer – The weight of evidence gathered from a number of significant health studies continues to indicate to us that there is no health risk to the general public from exposure to PFOA. Additionally, no authoritative body has designated PFOA as a human carcinogen. The U.S. EPA stated that it is premature to conclude that PFOA causes cancer. For more information, please visit http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/pfoarisk.html. http://www.teflon.com/Teflon/teflonissafe and http://www.pfoa.dupont.com can provide you with additional information.

    I’d truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Cheers, Ross.

    • Hi Ross,

      All information is welcome here and thank you for reaching out. I appreciate the reports that you attached and I am so happy that DuPont agreed to phase out PFOA use by 2015 – amongst all the “inconclusive” results, it certainly seems like the right thing to do.

      My effort here is largely to talk about 360 degree toxins that are in our environment on a daily basis. While PFOA alone may not pull the trigger on cancer or any of the other health issues its been implicated with, it is generally classified as a toxin and it has been found in the majority of the population that-have-been-tested’s bloodstream. I approach toxicity from an accumulative perspective. The impacts of the combination of PFOA in the bloodstream with other suspected carcinogens that have also been ruled “inconclusive” are unknown. Awareness is so important. With awareness we can start moderating our exposure to the “cocktails” and give our bodies a break.

      Again, I am thankful for your outreach and for DuPont’s leadership in phasing out PFOAs.

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