Cooking without chemicals

We’d all like to avoid bad chemicals in our foods, right? Things like glyphosate (the main ingredient in weed killer, which ends up on many food crops) or other pesticides and herbicides are not something we want to serve up for dinner. Although it’s not easy to completely avoid traces of these chemicals, it is close to possible when you buy organic, choose restaurants that offer organic ingredients when possible, and/or grow some of your own fruits, veggies, and herbs. If you’re someone who is conscious about avoiding these kinds of chemicals, have you also considered chemicals that can get into your foods during the cooking process? In particular, have you considered the chemicals in nonstick pans that, when heated, can leach into your food?!

For a while, I didn’t think about that either. Many of us probably assumed that nonstick pans were fairly safe. I mean, why would companies put products on the market that could harm consumers, right? (Sarcasm, of course.)

Luckily, my eyes have been opened to what may be lurking in nonstick cookware. If you aren’t already aware or if you haven’t gotten around to switching out those old Teflon pans, then maybe this info will help.

  • Nonstick cookware is often coated with a fluoropolymer coating (like Teflon). The main chemical in Teflon is called polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE for short (because let’s face it, none of us read that long word, we just skimmed right over it). Polytetra… PTFE can break down and release toxic fumes when heated up.
  • Before 2013, Teflon was made with (get ready for another long word) perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. This doozy of a chemical is now present in most people’s blood (oh, goody!) and has been linked to some pretty bad things, including cancer.
  • Both of these chemicals are types of substances called PFAS, and although PFOA and PTFE have been phased out of manufacturing in the US, other similar types of PFAS chemicals are still being used. You can find this stuff in everything from microwave popcorn bags to dental floss to stain protection on furniture fabrics and more. It is even found in tap water throughout the U.S. due to contamination from manufacturers and from firefighting chemicals.
  • Manufacturers of goods that use the new forms of PFAS chemicals claim that they are safe, unlike the previously used PFAS chemicals. However, many researchers disagree with manufacturers on that.

If you want to steer clear from all PFAS, look for products that are manufactured without these chemicals and are made by reliable companies. It might be difficult to determine if these chemicals are in your dental floss or furniture fabrics and other goods, but one sure way to avoid it is in your cookware.

Cookware that is PFAS-free includes stainless steel, cast iron, and ceramic. You’ll want to double check that ceramic cookware isn’t coated with a nonstick material that includes PFAS, but there are reliable brands that do not include this. One such brand is called GreenPan.


GreenPan uses a non-toxic coating called Thermolon to create a nonstick surface. This material is mainly composed of a sand derivative. Thermolon is applied to the pan in a spray solution, without the use of glues or additives. The pans are then cured in the oven, using 60% less CO2 emissions compared to the curing of other nonstick pans. And now, the Thermolon is also reinforced with diamonds (yes, the same kind that are a girl’s best friend!), making the material more durable and scratch resistant.

GreenPan kindly sent us their newest line of pans to test and we love them! Cooking things like scrambled eggs, which tend to stick fairly easily in my experience, is a breeze. They live up to being scratch resistant, as I’ve even used metal utensils on them. The new line of pans is unique in that the entire set stacks neatly together, including all the lids. This new line is called Levels and it’s perfect for space-saving. If you live in an apartment or condo or you’re short on cabinet space, this is the ideal set. It’s also great for those of you who just really enjoy perfect order to your kitchen! You can find this set in Hard Anodized or Stainless Steel.

Learn more about GreenPan.

Learn more about PFAS chemicals.

Tags: Clean Healthy
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