First, what does the nonstick black coat made of?
The most common and reputable brand of this “coating film” is Teflon. Teflon is the brand name of a compound discovered by Roy J. Plunkett in 1938. It was introduced commercially in 1946 by DuPont. Teflon is polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE. [Teflon molecules]
To call it nonstick is a misnomer, but its the easiest way to describe it. Technically what makes it nonstick is its ability to reduce friction, hence “frictionless.”
Since the molecular structure of food bigger than PTFE, it repels it. Creating a hydrophilic and superhydrophobic surface.
Is the black Teflon sticker coat safe?
Teflon is used not just for cooking pans but a wide variety of “nonstick” products like nail polish, carpets, and solar panels. Like all other chemical coats, it wears out. Tiny microns can migrate to your food and get ingested.
Unlike PFOA and PTFO, PTFE does not pose a health risk after research done in the last couple of decades. However, concerns remain.
Does a “peeling nonstick pan” with a black Teflon “sticker coat” dangerous?
Unaltered, PTFE does not react with other chemicals. Hence, food which is organic is like a pat on its back. Even if ingested when it begins to flake, the amount is insignificant to cause side effects.
Teflon is PFOA-free
However, another fluorinated compound, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid or C8), is commonly used in the process of making PTFE and may be residual in non-stick coating components. Teflon is PFOA-free since in between 2010 to 2015.
After repeated heating and cooling, PFOA can transfer into food. PFOA may cause side effects such as cancer, affect hormonal balance and fetal development (White, 2011 & Post, 2012).
Teflon fumes and flu
At very high heat, these pans can release toxins known as “Teflon flu.” This invisible fume can cause headaches, chills, and damage to the lungs. You know you have when your chest begins to tighten after exposure. The fumes are fatal to pet birds.
What about its aluminum component?
For the “in-between” components of your pans, such as aluminum, safety is still debated. It means risks are considered in aluminum, aluminum oxide, and hydroxide. [NBCI]
What about ceramic coating?
After months of daily use, the ceramic coating will wear out. Lead and cadmium are sometimes found in the ceramic coat, especially those made in China.
It can end up in food and, when ingested, can lead to slow poisoning. Cadmium is toxic even in the tiniest amount. [SJWEH]
When is a nonstick coat dangerous?
PTFE is entirely safe for home cooking, as long as temperatures do not exceed 570°F (300°C). Just like air fryers touted safe, high heat emits acrylamide emission on an air fryer, which poses cancer risks.
Therefore, nonstick pan, flaking or not, should not be used exceeding 300°C. Never let oil stay steaming hot in your pan. There is peace of mind when you “deep-fry” in stainless steel rather than coated pans.
Never let oil stay steaming hot in your nonstick pan.
When to replace your nonstick pan?
Usually, an average nonstick pan lasts one year. If you use it every day, the coat breaks down unnoticed. It’s not as “slidey” as it was, even if it cost a hundred dollars.
Replace if scratches and lines visible. It means your coat lost at least 50 percent of its original thickness gauge. Imagine the wear and tear of paint outside your house; it’s the same principle.
How to maintain your nonstick pans?
- Never use it at high heat.
- Never use metal utensils.
- Refrain using it in deep-oil frying.
- Use a cloth to wipe it out clean.