Most of us are interested in better health and finding smart and simple ways to achieve it. When it comes to the kitchen however, we can’t always do a complete makeover or enact drastic changes to the family’s diet. What we can do, is to phase out the old and integrate the new one item at a time. This may include a long look at our favorite non-stick fry pans. What gives them that smooth, slippery surface of which we are so fond?
PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene, marketed as Teflon, contains low-friction, waterproof plastics known as fluoropolymers. They’re relatively stable, in the finished product, and their non-reactive properties provide a non-stick surface. However, PFOA, perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical used in the production of Teflon, is not so stable. It contains toxins monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), well known to stay in the human body for extended periods, and to cause tumors in laboratory animals. Although its health hazards are still under investigation, it’s good to be aware of potential dangers.
When non-stick pans, coated with these materials, reach temperatures above 500 degrees, they begin to release chemicals that can cause polymer-fume fever. The symptoms are flu-like such as headache, chills, and fever. Although these reactions pass, their silent, long-term effects are still under study, as is their effect on the global environment. If these pans are scratched or chipped the toxic emissions are greater still. However, non-stick surfaces are a great benefit to our time and cut down on the use of added fats while cooking. That’s why it’s worth a look, and possible trade up, to some of the best PTFE free fry pans.
Le Creuset's Toughened Nonstick is hard-anodized aluminum. The pans are manufactured with a patented hot-forged process that ensures that they will never warp. They are completely PFOA free and are oven safe up to 500 degrees. They also have a magnetic, stainless steel base, so they can be used on any cooktop.
The Alpha Nonstick has a six layer, marble-coated surface, offering a healthy alternative to Teflon pans. It’s constructed for long lasting performance, provides hot-spot free cooking and wipes clean with a paper towel.
This ceramic-coated pan is PTFE and PFOA free. It’s scratch and stain resistant and oven safe up to 350 degrees. It’s also dishwasher safe, which is a real plus in non-stick pans, and comes in black, red and gold.
Here’s another great pan with a PTFE free nonstick coating. Use it to bake, boil, fry, sauté and more. It heats quickly and evenly and its stay-cool helper handle adds to its versatility.
The Cuisinart open skillet is made of water-based ceramic that will not peel. It’s oven and broiler safe and has a stay-cool handle made of 70 percent, recycled materials. It’s oven safe up to 500 degrees and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
This WearEver fry pan has a PFOA free nonstick coating featuring a soft touch silicone handle and is suitable for all types of cooking, except induction. It’s lightweight, recyclable and easy on the budget.