Nonstick Pans Not So Good?

October 4, 2010

I am a regular viewer of The Dr. Oz Show. I always learn something new from his show, and today was no different. Today’s episode was titled ‘Dr. Oz’s Insider Guide to Getting the Best for the Least’. A part of the show highlighted various ways to save money and improve your family’s health, in the kitchen. One of the items Dr. Oz discussed are nonstick pans, which is what I use here at home. He said traditional nonstick pans (like the ones commonly coated with Teflon), aren’t so great, because they have synthetic insides and chemical coatings. The main chemical is Polytetraflourethylene (PTFE). Now on a past show, Dr. Oz mentioned nonstick pans actually release toxins if you overheat them, say by pouring in your olive oil, then stepping away for a minute while it heats up (which I’ve done before).

In fact, I found a study released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which is a great resource, by the way, where they found that indeed, toxins are released when nonstick pans overheat. DuPont was contacted about this issue years ago, but they said it only happens at such high temperatures that would never occur in normal cooking.[1] EWG conducted their own study, however, and found quite the opposite to be true. They found that within a few minutes, nonstick pans reached temperatures high enough to start releasing toxic chemicals and particles.[2] Nonstick Teflon pans should not be used once they get scratched or chipped, as those areas are more likely to release toxins from the coating.

So what are we to do? Because let’s face it, who wants to stop using nonstick pans? Well on today’s show, Dr. Oz offered a solution for this dilemma. Today’s expert was Bon Appétit Contributing Editor Dede Wilson. She said a cheaper, and better, alternative to traditional nonstick pans, are pans with an anodized aluminum exterior, and ceramic coating. This nonstick coating is mineral-based, not petroleum-based, and no matter how hot you get this pan it will not release toxic fumes.

I just examined my nonstick pans, and not only are they made with the chemical coating that includes Polytetraflourethylene (PTFE), the one I mainly use every day has several scratches on the surface. Great. Guess it’s time to start researching anodized aluminum pans…

Here is the link to the video of this portion of the show:


References: [1] [2]

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2 Responses to Nonstick Pans Not So Good?

  1. Dee says:

    so exactly what brand is this skillet that costs $20.00. Everything I am seeing is $40-50.00. I would like to get the recommended pan shown on Dr. Oz.



    • Katherine says:

      I’m not sure what brand the skillet was on The Dr. Oz show – he didn’t say. But I just did a search for anodized pans, and a $25 skillet came up on Amazon. I actually just bought a ceramic non-stick skillet made by OrGREENiC. It’s $20 and sold at Target, Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. Hope this helps! (ps: I apologize for the delayed response. I fell off writing for a bit.)

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