Does a peeling nonstick pan with a black Teflon coat dangerous?
Teflon is often considered the generic name for nonstick cooking pans—but it is a brand name. Teflon is the nonstick 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 it’s the easiest way to describe it. Technically, its ability to reduce friction makes it nonstick, hence “frictionless.”
Since the molecular structure of food is 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 in the last few decades. However, concerns remain.
When is a nonstick coat dangerous?
Therefore, a nonstick pan, flaking or not, should not be used exceeding 300°C. Never let the 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.
Does a “peeling nonstick pan” with a black Teflon “sticker coat” dangerous?
Unaltered, PTFE does not react with other chemicals. Hence, organic food is like a pat on the 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 making PTFE and may be residual in nonstick coating components. Teflon is PFOA-free between 2010 to 2015.
After repeated heating and cooling, PFOA can transfer into food. PFOA may cause side effects such as cancer, 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 lung damage. You know you have when your chest begins to tighten after exposure. The fumes are fatal to pet birds.
What about its aluminum component?
Safety is still debated for the “in-between” components of your pans, such as aluminum. It means risks are considered in aluminum, aluminum oxide, and hydroxide. [NBCI]
What about a ceramic coating?
After months of daily use, the ceramic coating will wear out. Lead and cadmium are sometimes found in ceramic coats, 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 to replace your nonstick pan?
How long do nonstick last?
The average nonstick pan lasts one year or three at the most if you use it daily and at temperatures no higher than 350 °C. It deteriorates above 250 °C. Hence, it won’t be “slidey” for a long time.
The claims “diamond finish” or “lifetime warranty” are marketing strategies. Even the most expensive brands like Circulon or Calphalon have wear and tear, especially if you use them every day.
Replace if you can feel the scratches with your fingers and when deep lines become visible.
How to maintain your nonstick pans?
- Never use it at high heat (beyond 300 °C (572 °F)
- Never use metal utensils.
- Rinse and use a cloth to wipe it out clean.