Saturday, December 11, 2010

☆ What's Going On: Cookware & Bakeware Beware ☆

So I've mentioned a couple time in my Vegan Recipes Segments that I use an Eco-friendly frying pan and cookware vs evil Teflon. It took a while for it to occur to me that lots of people don't know why non-stick pans are bad. 
I'd first heard it as a teenager from my mother who had said they kill baby birds. I didn't want to kill baby birds so it was an immediate no-no for me. Later I found out why...

The big problem is Teflon

First, what is Teflon? 
Teflon is a trademarked combination of fluoropolymers (produced by the DuPont company and licensed to many cookware manufacturers) that coats pans to give them a non-stick surface. 
Why is it bad? 
PFOA is the compound used to manufacture Teflon and ranks as nastier than pesticides like DDT when it comes to indestructibility in the ecosystem. It is bad for nature, bad for wildlife, and bad for you. 
Overheated non-stick-coated pans can release toxic fumes that will literally kill a canary if it were in your kitchen. Teflon claims that such high-temperature burning doesn't happen under normal circumstances and that otherwise, the stuff is safe. Still, who hasn't burned the bottom of a pan? And it is still advised that you should keep your pets out of the kitchen while cooking with the stuff. Safe huh? Plus, 95% of humans have the chemical tied to non-stick surfaces in our bloodstream. There are nearly a dozen studies that tie it to thyroid damage and as a likely human carcinogen (cancer-causing). Not to mention, every molecule you get in your system will be with you for life! Scary! 
What's worse is that the chemical is turning up in wildlife at alarming levels, even in the systems of polar bears way up north who have never been near the stuff! 

The stuff isn't just in your non-stick pans either. It is used in cookware, burger wrappers, popcorn bags, french fry cartons, and candy packing. 

There is no time like the present to eliminate the stuff from your life. 

There has been no official heed to toss out your old non-stick pans or product recalls, but the chemical is on its way out. Health Canada is in the process of phasing it out, but we all know how slow and backwards such processes can be, so better to do something about it yourself. 

As always, I won't leave you without any solutions. ~_^

There are lots of eco-friendly non-stick pans coming out on the market. Always make sure you know what it is you're buying though as companies can be tricky with the way they word their products to make them seem earth-friendly and healthy when they are not. 
I have "Earth Chef" brand that use a Ceramic surface instead. It is a tad stickier then Teflon but still great for cooking and much much more durable (and the surface doesn't flake off into the food!). 
Stainless Steel is always an option, just remember you'll have to add more oil to avoid sticking. Cast iron skillets and Glass are good options as well. Light-weight titanium is good, though can be pricey. Be careful though, some get their non-stick surface from the same chemicals as Teflon (sneaky bastards!), so make sure to do a little research on the manufacturer's corporate website to be sure. 
For Bakeware; Ceramics (make sure the glaze is lead-free though), stainless steel, and Silicone which is highly accessible-- they may look a bit weird and come in bright colors but are a great and safe alternative. 

Peace & Love,

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