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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Danger in the kitchen: Worn Teflon pans!

Stating that perfluoroalkyl acid, that is, C8, used in the production of Teflon, is no longer used because it causes cancer and increases the risk of miscarriage in women, experts state that Teflon pans pose a health risk by releasing toxic chemicals into the air as a result of overheating due to the different components used in the content.

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay recommends that especially worn and scratched Teflon pans should not be used because they create carcinogenic substances, avoid using hard kitchen utensils that will scratch the surface, and use a small amount of oil before cooking to prevent scratching. Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay shared important facts about Teflon pans, which are frequently used in cooking.

Teflon pans containing perfluoroalkyl acid cause cancer

Stating that although Teflon pans have been used for years, their harmful effects are still being investigated, Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay said, “There are lawsuits filed against Teflon pans due to the damage they cause to public health. In one of these cases, in 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the company for covering up the health hazards of a substance known as C8, a key ingredient in Teflon making, for decades. The C8 substance, also known as PFOA (Perfluoroalkyl acid), used in making Teflon, is known to cause cancer. In 2006, the EPA confirmed that PFOA is in the probable human carcinogen classification. It is possible to say that it increases the risk of miscarriage in women as well as cancer.” said.

Research continues on Teflon pan components

Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay said, “However, PFOA is no longer used in Teflon production today. Although PFOA has been removed from Teflon products, other chemical components are used, namely PFAS (per- and polyfluoroacryl substances). These components in Teflon products can pose a health risk. Research is ongoing to better understand the nature of these ingredients and how they affect the human body.” he said.

It poses a health risk when overheated.

Stating that Teflon is a safe and stable compound in general, Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay said, “The risks associated with overheating Teflon have also been examined in scientific studies.

Teflon coatings on non-stick cookware at temperatures above 260°C begin to break down, releasing toxic chemicals into the air. Inhaling these fumes can lead to temporary symptoms known as polymer fume fever. It produces temporary flu-like symptoms such as chills, fever, headaches and body aches. Onset occurs 4-10 hours after exposure and the condition usually resolves within 12-48 hours. Some case studies also report side effects from exposure to overheated Teflon, such as lung damage.” used the phrases.

Care should be taken not to scratch the surface.

Emphasizing that some points should be considered in the use of Teflon pans, Assoc. Dr. Müge Ensari Özay listed her recommendations as follows:

  • Especially scratched and worn pans should not be used because they create ‘carcinogenic substances’,
  • Care should be taken to have a good ventilation system so that the fumes emitted during cooking are not inhaled,
  • Avoid using metal and hard utensils that can scratch the surface of Teflon pots and pans,
  • The time that the food is in contact with the metals in the pots and pans should be minimized,
  • Before using Teflon containers, a small amount of oil should be used to prevent scratching,
  • Cookware should also be thoroughly cleaned each time to prevent bacterial growth and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.


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