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6/27/2019 3:38:33 PM

How conventional cookware makes you sick

You may be thinking that your pots and pans do the job they need to do or they were pricey so they have to be good, but are you actually using healthy cookware?

For example, do you know that using nonstick pots and pans to heat your food could be putting your health in danger? It’s true. Nonstick cookware pretty much always contains a manmade chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8.

According to the American Cancer Society, “PFOA has the potential to be a health concern because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood.” Animal studies have also presented a link between PFOA exposure and cancer development.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In laboratory animals given large amounts, PFOA can affect growth and development, reproduction, and injure the liver.” So in addition to cancer concerns, we’re talking about some other highly serious health repercussions including liver damage, infertility, and delays in growth and development.

Nonstick cookware and its PFOA content is just one main example of why I want to urge you to reconsider the cookware you’re using. Many people think it will be a burden to get rid of their cookware and replace it all. But I ask you to consider the burden associated with cancers and other serious health problems being linked to toxic cookware products.

Let’s take a closer look at the cookware I recommend avoiding as much as possible (ideally, entirely!).

Toxic Cookware? These 6 Health Dangers Are Real

Unfortunately, if you go into a department store these days, it’s going to be very easy to pick up a pot or pan that may potentially be dangerous to your health. These are some of the most dangerous cookware options that I recommend avoiding completely:

Nonstick cookware is by far one of the most concerning forms of cookware. In just two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, nonstick cookware containing perfluorochemicals can exceed temperatures that cause a break down in its coating and hence the release of toxic particles and gases linked to bird deaths and human illnesses, according to tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Aluminum cookware is known for being highly reactive and leaching into food. I would avoid cookware with any type of aluminum as a cooking surface including nonstick anodized aluminum and ceramic nonstick aluminum.

Speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets have also been shown to leach aluminum. 

Silicone cookware is a synthetic rubber made of bonded silicon and oxygen. It is approved by the FDA and many people view it as safe, but personally, I avoid silicone cookware because there hasn’t been enough scientific research to confirm for sure whether or not silicone can leach out of cookware and possibly contaminate food.

Toxic cookware made from materials like these may lead to all kinds of seriously concerning health problems including:

1. Child Developmental Delays

According to a UCLA study led by Chunyuan Fei, prenatal exposure to perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) has been linked to developmental delays in offspring. The study found that mothers with higher levels of PFOAs in their blood have toddlers and babies who are less likely to reach developmental milestones early.

2. High Cholesterol

Research has shown that the chemicals used to make nonstick cookware may lead to some major health concerns. For example, high cholesterol has now been linked to cookware chemicals. A study of 12,000 children living in Ohio and West Virginia were tested for blood levels of the PFOA and PFOS (the two chemicals commonly found in non stick cookware). The researchers observed that the children with the highest levels of these two toxic chemicals also were more likely to have abnormally high levels of both total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol.

3. Neurotoxicity

Aluminum is often used in cookware because it is able to conduct heat quickly. What’s the problem? Aluminum can leach very easily, especially when it is exposed to heat and/or acidic foods.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry,

Eating large amounts of processed food containing aluminum additives or frequently cooking acidic foods in aluminum pots may expose a person to higher levels of aluminum than a person who generally consumes unprocessed foods and uses pots made of other materials (e.g., stainless steel or glass).

Aluminum’s controversial relationship with Alzheimer’s disease has resulted in many scientific studies evaluating a possible relationship between aluminum accumulation in the body and neurotoxicity. To be on the safe side, I would avoid aluminum cookware including nonstick anodized aluminum and ceramic nonstick aluminum. And as I already mentioned, speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets have also been shown to leach aluminum.

4. Thyroid Issues, Liver Inflammation and Weakened Immune System

There are some other major reasons to avoid nonstick cookware containing perfluorochemicals that can be leached into the food you eat. According to the EWG, “Perfluorochemicals are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation, and weaker immune defense against disease.”

5. Allergies and Flu-Like Symptoms

According to Olga Naidenko, a senior scientist at EWG, nonstick pans can produces toxic fumes that can create allergies and flu-like symptoms for users.

6. Cancer

If this list wasn’t bad enough already, cancer has to be included as well. Scientific research is demonstrating a possible link between PFOA and cancer.

The American Cancer Society points out:

Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands (breasts), and pancreas in these animals. In general, well-conducted studies in animals do a good job of predicting which exposures cause cancer in people. 

Final Thoughts

The results of toxic cookware studies thus far should make us question what these dangerous chemicals can do to our bodies, especially when exposure is on a daily basis.

I would avoid any cookware with a nonstick coating containing artificial toxic chemicals like PFOA and PFOS as well as cookware with any type of aluminum cooking surface.

Both nonstick and aluminum cookware are known for toxic leaching when used for cooking.

Speckled metal bakeware and enamel cast iron skillets don’t have “aluminum” in their name, but have been shown to leach aluminum.

Some cookware contains nanoparticles and to date, there are no long term studies to prove their safety.

It’s much healthier to create a nonstick cooking surface using grass-fed butter or coconut oil with nontoxic cookware rather using toxic nonstick cookware.

The best nontoxic cookware is going to cook your food as it should, but without posing major risks to your health and the health of your family.

The only nontoxic cookware options I use are made of cast iron, stainless steel, glass or copper.

If you have any questions or concerns about the cookware you already own or are thinking about buying new nontoxic cookware, I highly recommend contacting the manufacturer of the cookware directly. Also, look for third party evaluations of cookware brands./. 

  ( Annie Price )
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