What Are PFOA-Free Pans and Why It's Important
by HexClad Cookware
These days, plenty of information is available about the risks of certain chemicals — and how to avoid them. This situation even extends to our cookware. Today, we want to tell you all about PFOA and why you don’t want it in your pans.
But we won’t stop there. We are going to give you everything you need to ensure that your home and cookware are PFOA-free and how to ensure that you don’t buy anything in the future that uses PFOA.
What Is PFOA-Free Cookware?
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a man-made chemical with resistant qualities. These resistant qualities are used in a variety of manufactured goods, including nonstick cookware, and help whatever product or material it’s added to resist sticking or stains.
In short, PFOA gives many brands of stainless steel or cast-iron cookware their non-stick coating.
What’s the Problem With PFOA?
In short, you don’t want PFOA in the nonstick surfaces of your cookware set. While other man-made chemicals are safe in all aspects of their use, unfortunately, PFOA isn’t one of them.
The next section will give you several reasons why it’s important to stay away from PFOA when shopping for non-stick cookware. Think of it like that first date you had where your potential love match freaked out at the server for no reason. PFOA also has plenty of red flags.
PFOA Isn’t Eco-Friendly
PFOA from pots and pans isn’t something we want entering the environment. Like other products used for any given purpose, PFOA will affect other areas of our daily lives.
These chemicals can seep into our water, food, and atmosphere just by being created and used in factories. When this occurs, there are impacts on the environment that can be seen for generations to come.
More than just their ability to seep into the water supply — including drinking water — PFOA will remain in the environment for years after exposure. Similar to the lasting power of toxic chemicals like DDT, any soil or water contaminated with PFOA will remain this way for a long time afterward.
Environmentalists are taking mitigation steps to rectify the contaminated areas. However, it is unlikely that they’ll be able to eliminate all risks.
PFOA Is a Cancer Risk
According to studies conducted in 2017 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), PFOA is a known carcinogen when studied in candidates with chronic or high exposure levels.
Using these products to create non-stick surfaces on ceramic cookware and bakeware can inevitably lead to them entering our systems as toxic fumes. In fact, studies found clear and concise evidence that the chemicals had leached into food cooked at high heat enough that most of the participants in the study had PFOA in their bloodstream.
As the PFOA used in the cookware manufacturing process is a known carcinogen, the fact that we have ingested enough for it to show up in our bloodstream is chilling.
PFOA has been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and thyroid disease, but with high enough levels, there is an increased risk of other cancers becoming linked to PFOA in the future.
PFOA Can Cause Liver Problems
PFOA also has a known risk of causing tumors in the liver. This means that in addition to being a known cause of kidney cancer, liver cancer can is also associated with heightened exposure to PFOA.
PFOAs are also known to cause increased levels of fatty acids in the liver, which increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Unfortunately, there aren’t any typical symptoms of fatty liver disease. Most of those diagnosed with this disease have nothing to report before doctors identify the issue.
Of any symptoms that occur, most report fatigue, weight loss or gain, lethargy, and flu-like symptoms.
How Do You Make Sure Your Pans Are PFOA-Free?
For these reasons, it is imperative that you find pans that are PFOA-free and non-toxic. These aren’t just small or insignificant issues. The risks associated with PFOA are severe.
The best way to eliminate the risk associated with ingesting PFOA is to eliminate the chance of ingesting it. That starts with ensuring that any pans you use don’t have PFOA as the non-stick agent.
Below are the top ways to ensure that your kitchen is PFOA-free.
Get Rid of Old Pans
PFOA became a staple ingredient to make TEFLON in 1951 when Dupont started using it in all their cookware. At this point, any pans that boasted a non-stick TEFLON coating contained levels of PFOA.
This means that if you have some pans that were passed down to you from your grandparents, chances are you’re cooking with PFOA. Moreover, PFOA was an ingredient used to make TEFLON until 2013. You may think that if you bought non-stick pans in the last 10 years, it won’t affect you.
That’s unfortunately not the case.
In summary, if you bought pans or own pans that were created between 1951-2013, your best bet is to get rid of them. These pans more than likely feature PFOA in the surface coating, and you and your family may be at risk of exposure.
Since 2013, the standard for non-stick coatings has become PTFE, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene. This synthetic polymer is used to create PTFE pans and metal utensils that are safe to use when cooking at high temperatures.
As a bonus, cookware with a PTFE coating is typically dishwasher-safe.
Avoid Buying Pre-Owned Pans
While you might not have been gifted your grandma’s saucepan or saute pan, if you ever bought pans at a garage sale or estate sale, it’s the same concept. These older pans might look like they’re in good shape, but if they are non-stick quality, there’s a high probability that the cooking surface contains PFOA.
It might seem like a cheap and easy option, but there’s nothing easy about it. Instead, find a good-quality hybrid pan that can function in multiple roles. This way, you can buy one pan at a time and get the most bang for your buck when you’re able to spend it.
Invest in the Latest Hybrid Cookware
Good quality hybrid pans, like a HexClad pan, made from hard-anodized carbon steel can function in multiple roles. They’re durable, so they can go from range to oven with ease.
You’ll be able to saute, sear, and fry all in one amazing pan. These pans are strong, so you can stovetop-fry a fish filet and use a metal spatula to flip it without worrying that it will flake or scratch. Hybrid pans can go into the dishwasher, making clean-up and stewardship a breeze.
Better yet, top-quality hybrid pans are PFOA-free and still feature non-stick qualities. Food made in these pans will slide from pan to plate with a quick flick of the wrist.
Buy From Transparent Brands
We have talked a lot about quality brands, and we mean it. In order to ensure that you’re buying from a reputable brand, you’ll need to be sure that the company you’re buying from is transparent about the materials they use.
This means that from their website or a quick Google search, you can find out what alloys they use for their pans as well as where their non-stick qualities come from.
Brands that have something to hide will be vague and very secretive about the products they use in their cookware. You can search the entire site, scour FAQs, and even call customer service, but you still won’t get a straight answer.
If this happens, you’re buying from the wrong company.
Read Product Descriptions
Part of this transparency comes in the form of product descriptions in-store or on the company webpage. You should be able to select any product on the site and find out what the product contains, down the non-stick process that the cookware undergoes.
If you can’t discern the product information from the box or the site, you are more than likely dealing with a company that has something to hide.
This is never the case with HexClad.
Our PFOA-free pans feature all-clad hybrid technology and a non-stick cooking surface that is safe for use — and the environment. You’ll never be left guessing as to what our products feature.
Pans That Cook Better and Are Better for You
Our hybrid stainless steel cookware is PFOA-free, and thanks to our peaks and valleys technology, you can still expect a non-stick cooking surface that will remain intact and stain-resistant.
Our non-stick frying pan will cook better than any other hybrid pan on the market, and they feature a lifetime warranty, meaning that if the wear and tear on your pans is out of the ordinary, we will replace it with a brand new one. That’s the quality we know is in our cookware, and we know you’ll be as impressed.
Perfluorooctanoic acid | C8HF15O2 | PubChem
PFAS Exposure and Risk of Cancer | NCBI
BfR: Does Perfluorooctanoic Acid Damage the Human Liver? | BR