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The Dangers of Non-Stick Cookware

Written by Print  E-mail

People have a tendency to forget security and safety issues whenever a new technology provides a great convenience. This is especially true regarding health and diet products. There are consequences to that carelessness, and people tend to forget about potential consequences until the consequences actually manifest themselves. A good example of this phenomena is the broad acceptance of non-stick cookware. It is quite convenient, but it is far from safe.

If a bird inhales the toxic PFOA fumes that are produced by heated non-stick pans, its lungs will ulcerate, and it will suffocate in its own body fluids. This is due to it having inhaled either polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Birds were used for centuries as an early warning system in mines, because they rapidly die whenever they are exposed to even small amounts of poison gas. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are both fluoride compounds. Fluoride is a poison that depresses the thyroid, which can cause hypothyroidism, particularly with repeated exposure. It accumulates in the bones, teeth, and pineal gland. It has been linked to brittle bone disease, and it causes cognitive problems. Fluoride is the main ingredient in some rat poisons.

We discovered studies that vastly contradict the marketing of the companies who sell non-stick pans. The E.P.A. reported that PFOA accumulates inside humans for years, and it has been verified to produce cancers in laboratory tests. It noted that the chemical particularly damaged the livers of rats, and it furthermore had a tendency to raise the triglyceride levels in humans. PFOA has been registered with the E.P.A. as a potential human carcinogen.

Dupont, the inventor of Teflon, was sued for withholding safety information about the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in non-stick cookware. The Environmental Protection Agency filed the suit, claiming that "DuPont concealed its own 1981 research". Dupont records demonstrated that traces of this chemical were detected in a pregnant employee's unborn child, which proved that the company knew of the danger, since it had been pre-emptively testing for it in its own employees before anybody supposedly knew of the danger. In 1991, the company likewise omitted reporting its evidence that PFOA had contaminated the water supply of around 12,000 people. It was again sued by eight of the effected families. One of the plaintiffs was a DuPont factory worker who bore a son with only one nostril and other facial defects. His son has since had about 30 surgeries. He and his spouse have opted not to have further children, lest they risk passing on the condition.

It is impossible to determine exactly what the fumes of the non-stick pans are doing to our bodies, because the research is so sparse. Although, Gary Craig ran into some obvious problems with the pans.

"About three or four years ago, I began having to urinate too often, including getting up five or six times at night. Gradually it got worse until it reached a peak a few months ago when I was urinating two or three times an hour all day long... [kidney failure] I noticed, however, that the problem went away when I left home to go on a trip. Within 24 to 48 hours of walking out my front door, my system returned to normal... Although I never used high heat (nothing above medium heat) I recalled that three or four years ago (about the time all this started) my mother gave me a Teflon frying pan... which I began using regularly. I stopped using the Teflon frying pan and BINGO! About 24 to 48 hours later the problem vanished."

This is far from the "flu-like symptoms" that many of the producing companies admit will occur when the pans are "overheated". They have defined "overheated" as reaching 500 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). It is important to remember that 500 degrees Fahrenheit can be reached with merely the medium temperature setting on some stoves, and some pans will emit the poison gases at much lower temperatures than is admitted by the manufacturers.

What does PFOA do to the body?

Perhaps the hushed studies that have been done by DuPont since the 1950's will provide some enlightenment. Studies which used animals as test subjects revealed that non-stick cookware produces health issues in the following categories:

  • Children's health and development
  • Risks of liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors
  • Altered thyroid hormone regulation
  • Generalized damage to the immune system
  • Reproductive problems and birth defects

We additionally recommend that people avoid aluminum cookware. Aluminum is a soft metal that will flake toxic metallic particles into foods being cooked with it; especially if metal utensils are being used. Stainless steel is always a better option; both for its low reactivity (low toxicity), and because this hardened steel will practically never output particles into food. Aluminum is an accumulative heavy metal that is known to lead to many degenerative diseases. Old fashioned cast iron pans are an even better alternative, and cast iron is naturally non-stick. Its inherent non-stick property means that cast iron is often easier to cook with than stainless steel, and it has the best heat distribution. Men who regularly eat food that is cooked with cast iron cookware should drink grape juice on a routine basis, to prevent excess iron build-up in the body. High quality cookware is essential for baking healthy food, so special care should be taken when purchasing cookware to ensure that none of it came from China.

 

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Comments (17)
  • Barb

    I stopped using non stick pans when I saw small chips come off in the coating. That was in the 70's. I have been using cast iron fry pans ever since,and stainless steel pots. Nothing was said about cast iron fry pans, are they ok??

  • Barb

    Sorry I just notices the notify option, please answer me about cast iron fry pans. Nothing was mentioned about their saftey in the above story. Are cast iron fry pans safe, I have been using them for years and years...

  • mommyg05  - Wow!

    Thanks for the info. I read this a year ago by doing my own research but forgot about it when Hubby and I went to buy pans the other day. I insisted on getting stainless steel over non-stick and now I remember why! I'm definitely passing this on to him via FB. Thanks again! Jesus loves you and I do too! God bless you!

  • rudy vejar  - safe pots

    can you reccomend some safe pots & pans

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)
    avatar

    You can't go wrong with stainless steel and cast iron. The spatulas should not be aluminum or non-stick either.

  • Dee L Voelkel
    avatar

    I understand that a magnet will not stick to true stainless steel or aluminum. I have some cook ware that is supposed to be stainless steel on the exterior and interior with aluminum in between. A magnet sticks to the interior and exterior of the pan and it is rated for induction stove tops. I know that nickel and chromium is in the stainless. Magnets don't stick to nickel. Does it stick to Chromium? Is Chromium toxic? These pans are made in China. What is it that makes the magnet stick?

  • Anonymous  - Ceramic pans

    Are ceramic pans safe?

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
    avatar

    Only if they are not made in China. Ceramic is naturally non-stick, so it makes a great cooking material. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of ceramic pans are made in China, so there is a good chance that you will actually be cooking with lead or cadmium.

  • Marysia de Klerk  - stone dine

    Is Stone Dine cook ware safe?

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
    avatar

    I couldn't find anything on their website about where the pans are made, other than this deceptive notice:

    "StoneDine was developed and invented in Germany over a decade ago."

    That's great, but where are they being made now? They are almost certainly being made in China, so we cannot possibly recommend them. There are lots of pans on the market that would be ideal if they were made in a reputable country. The risk is that every food that you cooked would get rubbed in lead or cadmium. It is not worth taking the chance.

  • Diahann Moyler  - Anodized cookware

    Is anodized cookware safe. When I researched the name, it stated that it was safe for cooking and cheaper than stainless steel. Is this true?

  • Michelle Dill  - Cast Iron and Alzheimer's

    Dr. Barnard was on Dr. Oz - he lost both parents to parkinson's disease and has done much research on the brain and its diseases. Dr. Barnard feels that Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by the build up of metals like copper, zinc, and iron in the brain. He said that cooking with cast iron skillets can cause a buildup of metals in the brain over time. When they reach a “toxic” level they release free radicals which attack your brain cells.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
    avatar

    Alzheimer's Disease is often caused by metals, but the one that has been directly tied with Alzheimer's Disease is aluminum. Aluminum is used as a food additive and can be found in a lot of processed foods. It is also in some baking powders, and commercial breads. We recommend that people avoid aluminum cookware when possible, and use stainless steel or cast iron. Iron has no known effect upon the brain, so the "expert" is playing very loosely with the facts in order to make a bigger name for himself. In any case, iron should not be a problem with a balanced diet. For example, vitamin C and resveratrol allow the body to purge excess iron.

    It has also been shown that Alzheimer's Disease is sometimes caused by untreated Lyme Disease. We don't currently have enough data to know how often that happens.

  • carol saunds  - anodized cookware

    Hi Sara, I am not clear on your response to the question about anodized cookware being safe or not. The brand is Calphalon.

  • Diana Hols  - tip..Lodge Cast Iron

    Thank you for this article. I am switching my non-stick coated pans to cast iron. By switching, I hope this will also help with my hyperthyoid issues because I love to cook. I wanted to share a shopping tip..I found quality USA made cast iron at http://www.lodgemfg.com/. However, I ended up buying from Amazon because they have better prices than buying direct.

  • Jen Hitzelberger  - Green Pans

    Just wanted to check in and find out about the new non stick green pans. Are they safe, or are they pretty much in the same category as teflon?


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