Throw Out Your Nonstick Pans -- They're More Dangerous Than We Thought!

nonstick panYou know all those wonderful nonstick and greaseproof kitchen products we rely on to make our lives easier? They're dangerous and we probably shouldn't be using them. That's what a group of concerned scientists warned in a chilling statement this weekend.


More than 200 scientists from 38 different countries have signed what's called the Madrid Statement. In it they express concern over what's called poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Those are the chemicals applied to everything from nonstick pans to the insides of microwave popcorn bags.

Here's why we should be worried, according to the statement.

1. PFASs break down very, very slowly and stay in the environment for a long time. It's not just what ends up in landfills -- it's what's created in the manufacture of products as well. Your purchase of nonstick ware sends toxins even to people who choose not to purchase nonstick ware.

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2. They also linger in human tissue and bodily tissue for a very long time. They get into our drinking water. They get everywhere.

3. The list of health problems linked to these chemicals is scary long. In animal studies PFASs have been shown to cause "liver toxicity, disruption of lipid metabolism and the immune and endocrine systems, adverse neurobehavioral effects, neonatal toxicity and death, and tumors in multiple organ systems." They've also been linked to testicular and kidney cancers, liver malfunction, hypothyroidism, ulcerative colitis, lower birth rate and size, obesity, decreased immune responses to vaccines, reduced hormone levels and delayed onset of puberty.

4. Those alternative, "green" nonstick pans (and similar products) aren't much better. Basically they're made of what's called "short chain" PFASs, which are only slightly less horrible than regular PFASs. And what's scary about these green products is that we end up buying more of them because we think they're safe, and therefore we end up sending even more PFASs into the environment.

The scientists are calling on governments around the world to regulate the use of these chemicals, and they're asking corporations to reduce their manufacture of products using these chemicals. But of course there's something we consumers can do, too.

1. Whenever possible, avoid products containing, or manufactured using, PFASs. These include many products that are stain-resistant, waterproof, or nonstick.

2. Question the use of such fluorinated “performance” chemicals added to consumer products.

And there you go. All that nonstick kitchen crap really is too good to be true. Got one of those scraped-up nonstick pans on your stove? Toss it. I just threw one out this weekend. 

How much do you rely on nonstick, greaseproof, and waterproof products in your kitchen?


Image © Dana Hoff/Beateworks/Corbis

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