I was cooking the other day, mindlessly stirring up my scrambled eggs with a fork in my non-stick pan, when my friend gasped and enlightened me, “NEVER USE METAL UTENSILS ON NON-STICK PANS.”
Using metal utensils on non-stick pans can scratch the surface and expose you and your family to unwanted chemicals. The main concern is Perfl Uorooctanoic acid (PFOA) also known as C-8, a chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan. In early 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency labeled PFOA a likely carcinogen and wants its use to be eliminated by 2015. Studies have shown the chemical to be present at low levels in the bloodstream of 9 / 10 Americans, and in the blood of most newborns. There is also a toxic gas known as Perfl Uoroctanoic Acid that can be emitted from Tefl on coated non-stick pans when heated a high temperatures. This has been linked to the airborne poison, which was killing household birds. Both DuPont and the EPA reassure cooks that they have little to worry about if they use nonstick cookware PROPERLY. So here are some guidelines.
1. Don’t use metal utensils on your nonstick pan. This is the most important rule to remember. Metal utensils will easily scratch and expose chemicals in the nonstick pan’s surface. Never cut anything in the pan or use metal spatulas or forks!
2. Clean your nonstick pans with safe scouring pads. This is another big deal. Nonstick pan surfaces are sensitive to steel wool, metal scouring pads, sharp scrapers, and harsh cleaning detergents.
3. The nonstick coating in bread pans is made for that – breads. Don’t cook meats or highly acidic foods in these pans.
4. Avoid high heats when using your nonstick frying pans. Don’t use your nonstick pots or pans under a broiler!
5. Keep pet birds out of the kitchen.
You know when you are getting old when you get excited about getting a new set of pans for Chrimbo, but it might be a good way to go if your non-stick are looking a little non slick and all scratched up.
A Cast Iron Pan is a great alternative, if you can keep up with the oiling upkeep.
Image Credit: Benedicte Lechrist