You have probably read or heard many things about PTFE –or Teflon-, as it has been known as the non-stick coating public enemy number one during the last few years. In general terms, it has been told that PTFE is toxic because it contains a carcinogenic substance called PFOA. But there are two important things to clarify about this point. First one is PTFE coatings don’t include this substance anymore. We could stop writing this post here -no PFOA, end of discussion- but let’s go beyond to explain a little bit better what PFOA is and which was the real problem with it; also to let you know that you don’t have to throw your old pans away just in case they still have PFOA.
PFOA-Perflurooctanoic acid-is a substance with many industrial uses which was also used during the non-stick coating application during many years. Researchers are still analyzing the real toxicity of this substance, which concentrations can be really harmful and which negative effects may cause to people, but it has a high persistence in the environment and it has been found in animal’s and human’s blood. According to some researches, high concentrations of this substance could be harmful for human health. In fact, the USEPA – the Environmental Protection Agency of the USA- defined it as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans”.
Anyway, it is very important to remark that PFOA was only used to apply the non-stick coating to the cookware. This means its presence in the finished product when it reached the consumer’s home was already barely detectable. For this reason, using these products at home was not dangerous.
Even though there was no real danger for consumers, PFOA used to apply the non-stick coating to the pans remains indefinitely in the environment and it was breathed by people who applied the non-stick coating.
It it is very important to stop using this substance in any industrial process and it has already been removed from the process of applying PTFE non-stick coating to pans for this reason. Therefore, choosing PFOA free non-stick coating contributes to reduce PFOA emissions and, as a consequence, it also helps to reduce pollution.
We recommend you to read chapters 1 and 3 of our non-stick coatings manual to learn more about this component. You will find useful information about the main non-stick coating categories and how to take good care of them to make them last through years.