Are Non stick Pans Safe – Facts You Must Know

are non stick pan safe
are non stick pan safe

If you are health conscious then question always comes in mind are non stick pans safe? Well this detailed guide will explore real facts about non stick pans.

Since the revival cookware industry, there have been so many techniques; methods, and man-made chemicals are involved which are unknowingly become part of our lives and health.

This is the reason why many of us, always seem confused about is non stick pan harmful to health or seeking the expert’s opinions are non stick pans to be used and do not cause any health risks.

Page Contents

Best Non Stick Safe Pan

Product Features Buy On
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Safe Pan

Hard-anodized body

Heat conduction and scratch resistance

Oven safe up to 430°F/220°C

Compatible with most stovetops
GreenPan Lima Healthy Safe Pan

PFOA free

Hard Anodized body is scratch-resistant

Hand wash only

Compatible with all cooktops
Calphalon 2 Piece Classic Nonstick Frying Pan

Hard-Anodized Nonstick Cookware

straining covers allow you to cook efficiently and better

uses 2 nonstick layers to create a cooking surface

What Is Nonstick Cookware?

what is non stick cookware

Hearing about non stick, what is the first thing comes to your mind naturally? “Is non stick pan harmful to health?” Yes! and this is almost every one of us concern.

Mostly nonstick cookware are made with a substance called as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE); that is commonly known as Teflon.

Teflon is actually a synthetic substance made up of carbon and fluorine atoms that offers a nonstick, slick and nonreactive surface.

This nonstick surface made out of Teflon makes the cookware incredibly easy to cook almost all kinds of food and offers effortless cleaning.

Moreover, it requires less grease or oil, making it a healthier option to prepare and fry food.

For over a decade, people are no more concerned about the non stick coating of the cookware they use; the reason is the presence of toxic chemicals or possible presence of PFOA that was used initially in the beginning of non stick cookware.

However, mostly manufacturers now phased out the option of PFOA from their cookware; but still there are other health compromising factors and elements that could be involved.

The chances of quality compromising are maximum in low quality less expensive cookware which seem to be all perfect and beautiful but are potentially harmful to health.

Considering the risks involved in non stick coating; and avoid people wonder are non stick pans safe that they use.

People these days are more inclined towards organic non stick coatings. This is the reason that made the manufacturers introduce PTFE and PFOA free cookware.

There are so many options available; its just that how much you can spend in your pursuit for finding the best non stick pan or how much you are concerned about buying the toxic free non stick pans.

Is Teflon Safe?

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or commonly known as Teflon is actually a synthetic fluoropolymer that has various application one of which is to be used in the making of non stick coatings.

Pans with PTFE or Teflon non stick coating are not harmful to health. Although there has been a time when PFOA was used in the manufacturing of PTFE; which was highly poisonous but it has been banned.

Teflon is actually a kind of soft plastic with low frictional resistance; and is used to make non stick coatings.

It keeps your food from sticking and is good with uniform heat distribution compared to stainless steel and cast iron.

If you find your Teflon non stick is damaged or warped then it is possibility it is prone to flake the chemical particles into your food.

Some suggests that it is not dangerous if those particles get ingested; but there is no proof either that supports that they are not harmful at all.

The fact is they are not supposed to eat in any case then why risk your health. This is why mostly manufacturers mention in their product manual not use metal utensils and do not appreciate to use dishwasher.

Even if you are using the best non stick pans or pots it is best not to use metal utensils and regularly clean your cookware gently  by hand; doing this adds life to your cookware.

When to Throw away Non stick Pans?

When to Throw Way Non stick Pans

As per the experts even your using the PTFE and PFOA free cookware; a good rule of thumb is to replace your toxic free non stick pans or pots after every five years or more.

However, there are few signs that you should frequently check and if exists then stop using cookware.

Let’s find out what are these signs when is your non stick pan harmful to health and should not be used furthermore.

If your Non Stick is Found warped

If your non stick is found warped

If you have a practice to expose your non stick cookware to extreme temperatures; like if you submerge it in the sink filled with dishwashing soap and water right after cooking meals or you use them for storing food in the refrigerator and put them on the stove right after taking out.

It can warp your toxic free non stick pans and pots early before time.

Warping is not always dangerous, though it means that you will not provide the expected food quality.

Warped cooking surfaces do not help in even cooking and unfortunately there is nothing you can do to fix it.

When a pan is actually warped its cooking surface gets uneven and then the food do not evenly cooked.

In order to make sure your whole food all cooked and uniformly prepared; you may need to replace your pan.

When your PTFE and PFOA free cookware is scratched

You might have bought the expensive and best non stick pan; but that doesn’t guarantees it is scratch resistant or it would not get scratched.

This is the reason experts advise us not to use metal utensils and dishwasher cleaning method even the manufacturer claims it to be sturdy enough.

The reason is the frequent usage of metal utensils and everyday dishwashing technique may leave the impact even on the durable non stick coatings as well. 

Non stick pans ones scratched they are not recommended for cooking anymore. Even the best non stick pan for health could be harmful to your health.

As it can leach or flake parts of its coating that include chemicals which should not be consumed.

These chemicals impact badly on your health and can cause different kinds of tumors, severe damage to your liver, kidneys and stomach.

So whenever you found that you most favorite and the best non stick pan in your kitchen is scratched then it means your food is not healthy any more and it is time to find the best non stick pan for health again!

If your Non Stick Pan is Discolored

Pots and pans get discolored with the passage of time; but not all discoloration is harmful.

But once you find that your PTFE and PFOA Free cookware badly discolored and is dark in color; it means that is badly burnt and getting rid of that burnt mark may cause further scratched to build. Means now it is buy a new skillet for your kitchen.

Pros of Non Stick Cookware

  • Since it is a non stick coating, it saves time and energy and we do not have to worry and pay attention to that the food would get stick just like any other cookware.
  • If you like to use limited grease and oil in your food, non stick cookware is the best option. IT does not need excess oil or butter to keep the food from sticking to the surface yet cook the food evenly without getting burned.
  • Mostly non stick pans are made of aluminum that is an affordable material which makes the rice of the pots and pans quite reasonable. However, there are other options as well if you want to spend more.
  • Non stick pans and pots are highly convenient to clean; you can even wash them with warm water without making much effort.
  • Non stickcookware are mostly suggested to novice cooks, as they are less likely to burn or stick food.
  • You do not have make efforts fort tossing, turning and releasing food with non stick pots and pans. Searing, sautéing, braising and simmering are more like a breeze.

Cons of Non stick Cookware

  • Non stick pan are not safe to be used with metal utensils; as they can be scratched easily.
  • Unlike other pans, you cannot guarantee about non stick pans whether they can withstand dishwashing or not. Mostly they are not dishwasher safe even the manufacturer claims it to be sturdy enough.
  • Non stick pots and pans cant withstand high heat; the maximum temperature they can withstand is 500F. If you ever try to challenge your nonstick cookware with the extreme temperature they will start to decompose and start emitting fumes that are injurious to health.
  • All non stick pots and pans aged within few years; and as they do they begin to flake or chip. Once you find that your non stick has started to chip it is better to stop using it.
  • Non stick cookware is not made to withstand thermal shock; so never submerge your non stick pot or pan in to the sink right after cooking while it is still hot. You may end up warping your cookware.
  • Cookware is not made to store food and for the extreme cold temperature of your refrigerator. It will compromise the cooking surface in the long run.

Handling of PTFE and PFOA Free Cookware

tips to Handle PTFE and PFOA Free Cookware
  • Empty non stick pans when heated are potentially harmful when heated empty; resulting In flaking, chipping or releasing toxic fumes that are injurious to health. This why never preheat your non stick pots or pans without containing food.
  • No matter how much the manufacturer ensure you about the sturdiness of the cookware and claim it to be dishwasher safe. Always prefer to wash your cookware by hand using soft sponge and dishwashing soap.
  • If you ever found the food stick to the surface of your non stick cookware; do not ever try to get rid of it with abrasive washing pads or using steel wool. You may able to remove the food residue or stains but abrasive washing would bring scratches to the cookware. Using scratched non stick cookware is not at all a wise decision as it is prone to peeling or flaking chemicals in the food that are not supposed to be ingested.
  • Are non stick pans safe to be used on high heat? No! As per the experts non stick pans should always be used on medium to low heat. Non stick pans are not made for broiling or any cooking technique that require high temperature. The reason is high heat may warp the cooking surface or cause it to flake or chip. Teflon coated non stick pots and pans cant take heat up to 500F. It is best to consult the manual before start using your cookware. 
  • Always use wooden or silicone utensils. We have seen claiming many manufacturers that their cookware is metal utensil safe but the reviews say otherwise. Using metal utensils increases the risk of scratches and reduces the life cookware.  
  • Whenever you find that your non stick coating is deteriorating, peeling or flaking; replace your cookware right away. There is no way healthy reason to keep using it.

Alternatives to Non stick Cookware

Stainless Steel

A lot of people find it difficult to prepare with stainless steel pans; but stainless steel cookware offer much longevity and durability compared to non stick cookware.

All they need from you is to learn the secret techniques how to make the most of it without letting food stick.

Unlike cast iron, cast iron cookware stainless steel cookware is not that heavy and don’t need regular maintenance and great deal of seasoning.

Unlike non stick cookware, with stainless steel pan you do not have to worry about the cooking temperature which means you are free to try different foods and cooking techniques in your kitchen.

With stainless steel you can use dishwasher cleaning technique without any fear of scratch, damage or warping. 

Though stainless steel cookware requires certain techniques to cook food; but compared to other cookware there are no hazardous risks involved with stainless steel.

Like it does not leach, flake or react with foods or release toxic fumes on high temperature.

Cast Iron

cast iron cookware set

If you do not mind high maintenance and heavy weight then you can consider cast iron pans as the alternative to non stick cookware.

A cast iron pan is no doubt a good option for roasting, braising and searing. Just like stainless steel and unlike non stick pans cast iron pans are not potentially harmful when you choose to cook on high temperature.

In addition, it is much reasonable in price and could last for a much longer time. While you need to replace your non stickcook ware; cast iron pan gets better with age.

Though there are no health risks involved with cast iron cookware; however there are some factors which needs to be considered before buying cast iron pan.

Many people do not like the heavy weight of cast iron skillet and it makes it quite difficult to maneuver, toss and turn with such a weight.

Moreover, it is prone to rust; you need to be careful and cant just leave to dry on its own and let it soak into the sink water.

And not only this, it requires regular seasoning if you want to enjoy its non stick performance. So if you are not ready to do that much care for your cast iron then it is better to go for stainless steel.

Ceramic Cookware

ceramic cookware

Ceramic cookware is regarded as the safest and healthy cookware, as it is made out of organic materials and is free from toxic chemicals such as Lead, Cadmium, PTFE and PFOA.

When it is about ceramic cookware then it generally means as ceramic coated cookware and not about the pure ceramic cookware.

Original ceramic cookware are not durable and do not possess good non stick features.

Ceramic coated cookware mostly carries aluminum core inside otherwise it could be copper and stainless steel as well.

They offer plenty of options to its consumers in terms of size, materials, and pieces of cookware. 

Just like any other non stick cookware not all ceramic coated cookware are induction compatible so if you are looking for induction compatible then better to check the features before buying your ceramic coated cookware.

Just like the other two alternatives and unlike the Teflon coatings ceramic coated cookware are good at high heat resistance without leaching, flaking or reacting; whereas non stick coatings can withstand up to 500F.

You can also read this: 3 Best Alternative to Non Stick Pan – Comparisons & Guide

Are Non Stick Pans Safe to be Used when Scratched?

(Courtesy by shutterstock.com)

The non stick pans can be scratched easily so you need to be careful while cleaning them and choosing the right utensils to use with them.

If you use the utensils in rough manner or choose metal utensils or use abrasive scrubbing pads and steel wool to scrape off the food residue stick to the surface; then your pan is likely to damage soon and may not be able to cook healthy food.

Small particles from the scratched non stick coating of your pan can leach into your meal and release toxic fumes at high temperatures; both of these things are not at all safe.

Cooking in scratched non stick pans contaminated the environment you breathe in and make your food hazardous.

Cooking in scratched non stick pans lead to crictical health conditions; such as kidney issues, liver malfunction, respiratory issues, and cancerous diseases.

Related Articles:

Are non stick pans safe to be recycled or fixed?

How to Fix non stick pan

Is non stick pan harmful to health? Yes! if you keep using it after it is starting to flake or peel.

The common issue everyone of us face with non stick pans is that no matter how much we care they get scratch easily.

To be honest, being an expensive kitchen tool no body wants to throw it right away. This is why we always seek answers that are non stick pans safe to be fixed or recycled?

There are many debates and discussions available online in the favor of recycling/ fixing and against it.

Some prefer it to season and others suggest it to spray.No matter what you choose or like to do with your non stick pan,  the concern that always on top is that are non stick pans safe to be treated at home to bring them back in use?

If you are wealth conscious then you can try almost anything but if you are health conscious then you should better go for seasoning.

Lets find out how it can be done.

Seasoning with Vegetable Oil 

  1. Before starting the process, make sure your pan is thoroughly cleaned and there are no debris or food particles on the surface. Wash it properly and dry it with soft cloth.
  2. Once it is completely cleaned and dried, pour oil on the surface of your non stick pan, make sure to use vegetable or canola oil. Try to cover the surface with thick layer of the oil.
  3. Now place lit on your stove, and place the pan carefully on it.
  4. While maintain low heat, let the pan stay there on the stove top for about 5 minutes to 6 minutes.
  5. No turn off the stove, and bring your pan to the kitchen counter and let it there for some time to cool down at room temperature.
  6. Now after your pan is completely cool down, use a paper towel to wipe off the excess grease and dry it.
  7. Remember while removing the excess grease, do not scratch off the naturally made greasy layer. This is what you were actually wanted to achieve!

You can try this method as many times you want, as it is safe and does not involve any chemicals and toxins. However, there is one other way that is to be used when you want to remove the burnt food from your non stick pan without being too harsh.

How to Clean and Season the Pan with Burnt food

If you ever get a situation where you find that the food is burnt and stick to the non stick surface of your non stick; then do no try to scrape it off using spatula or utensils.

Rather try this method to make it get rid off the suborn food stains without causing much damage.

  1. Do not rush to submerge your pan into the sink. Wait until it is completely cools down.
  2. Now with a soft sponge and dishwashing soap remove the soft debris and grease that can be easily removed.
  3. Make a mixture of water and vinegar in ratio of 1:2 and stir it until fully mixed and pout it into the pan.
  4. Now place the pan on the stove top and let the mixture boil on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. When it starts to boil, add 2 table spoons of baking soda. Baking soda is used as a cleaning agent; when it reacts with vinegar helps cleaning deeply and releasing the stubborn food stains from the surface.
  6. After giving 3 to 5 minutes to the whole mixture, turn off the stove and take the pan off he stove and let the mixture cool down on room temperature. After the mixture is completely cools down; throw that mixture and wash your pan by hand using warm water, dishwashing soap and soft sponge.
  7. Let the pan dry or dry it using soft cloth.
  8. Now season it the same way we discussed above using any canola or vegetable oil.