After establishing how the released toxic chemicals can have a severe effect on our planet and atmosphere, it’s made clear that other alternatives can help get human actions back on the right track.
How often do you cook with non-stick pans? Whatever this answer is may severely impact our environment. To discover why this might be the case, read on.
What Are Non-stick Pans and PFOS?
Non-stick equipment, usually in the form of frying pans or saucepans, gets coated with materials that stop food from getting stuck to them. Commonly known as Teflon, this synthetic chemical is constructed of fluorine and carbon atoms and creates an almost frictionless surface.
PFOS, or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, is an anthropogenic fluorosurfactant, otherwise now known as a worldwide pollutant. The compounds are solvents utilized to affix Teflon to your pans. Elsewhere, this material has been used in fire-fighting foams, stain-resistant materials, food packaging, and within industrial procedures.
Why Are These Materials Harmful To Us?
In most cases, Teflon is a stable compound. Despite this, when it experiences temperatures of about 260°C or higher, these coatings on non-stick pans begin to break down, thus releasing harmful chemicals into the surroundings.
Inhaling the toxic fumes can lead to polymer fume fever, a condition featuring shortness of breath, high fever, and general weakness. After all, the emitted small particles released in the process can lodge themselves into human lungs.
At high temperatures, scientists have found non-stick coatings to release a range of greenhouse gases and neurotoxins into our atmosphere, adding to the multitude of pollution already present.
Why Are They Bad For The Environment?
At high temperatures, scientists have found non-stick coatings to release a range of greenhouse gases and neurotoxins into our atmosphere, adding to the multitude of pollution already present. Harmful chemicals like those released tend to be highly persistent, meaning that once in the environment, it refuses to leave. This can be a colossal issue considering our soils, drinking water, and seafood.
Though it is believed that many carcinogenic chemicals get eliminated during the manufacturing process, tiny amounts could still remain. Thus, when Teflon is overheated, the chemicals can enter the food you are cooking and, therefore, get inside your body. These chemicals have even been known to be toxic to birds, damaging our biodiversity.
Due to the concerns about the environment and human health surrounding these materials, many manufacturers are avoiding them, including the Teflon brand itself. The fantastic news for both companies and consumers is that some excellent alternatives exist.
Stainless steel is an exceptional low-tech, and cost-effective alternative to PFOS. While it isn’t actually non-stick, it can be easily cleaned with a bit of elbow grease and a scouring pad without emitting the issues that broken-down Teflon would. It would help to ensure the pan is well oiled and heated to the correct temperature before placing your food in it. Also, utilizing a metal spatula instead of a plastic one can reduce any mess.
This can be a decent material to cook with as long as you keep the pan well-oiled and don’t use acidic foods until it is well-seasoned. Cast iron pans will last a relatively long time!
Ceramic coatings are considered a lot safer than previous coatings since they don’t contain any toxic chemicals or emit fumes when heated to high temperatures. However, you may find that it is less durable than other options.
There are many things you can take away from acknowledging this information.
It’s evident that we are constantly developing products that strive toward sustainability. Without this innovative thinking and replacement of toxic products, the world would be in a much worse position.
Secondly, it’s obvious that businesses can benefit from utilizing sustainable materials rather than harmful ones. With some materials being toxic enough to put companies out of work, it’s crucial to consider every aspect of your manufacturing process.
Finally, you, as one singular individual, can undoubtedly make a difference in our world. Just stop and think every time you choose to fry an egg with a non-stick pan: you could be having a severe effect on our planet.