A long time ago, canaries were used by miners as a warning system. The canary was lowered into the mine, and if the bird was dead after a few minutes, they that there were toxic gases in the air and they would not be able to enter. This means that gases that harm birds are hazardous for our health too.
Recently investigations show that birds kept as home pets have died due to the gases released from heated Teflon. So, is that polluted air also unsafe for us? What if these chemicals get into our food?
The so called Teflon is a substance that contains PFOA, a very toxic and dangerous acid for humans and animals. This material is released into the air when the Teflon reaches high temperatures while we cook at home for example. As Teflon pans become hotter, the chemicals released become more toxic. It is also dangerous when it is heated dry or empty.
Specialists from the United States Environmental Protection Agency say that this PFOA is present not only in the environment but also in the human body because it cannot be decomposed by our body or Mother Nature. Studies indicate 95% of all Americans, including children, have small but detectable amounts of PFOA in the bloodstream. This substance can cause cancer and birth defects. Also, it is said to produce vomiting, nausea, headaches and internal bleeding.
So, what can we do from home to prevent this and protect our family and our planet?
– Stainless Steel: You can choose to use cookware made of stainless steel which is made with a combination of metals such as nickel and chromium. They are safe to use but only if they are not damage or pitted. If they are, those chemicals can leach into food.
– Cast Iron: If the cast iron is properly season, it is safe to use and the iron that does leach into the food is actually good for you.
– Anodized Aluminum: Since research into regular aluminum is not conclusive and cooking high-acid foods can leach metal into foods, it is best to choose Anodized Aluminum that has been created to make the aluminum stronger and to not leach into food.
– Ceramic or Enamel: Enamelware works like cast iron but is coated with enamel so it does not need to be seasoned.
– Copperware: Though copper can leach into foods while cooking, copper lined with stainless steel or tin is a safe option.
There are many options for cookware that is safe and practical, so do a little research and you will surely find the best option that fits your lifestyle and budget!