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Teflon unsafe? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Teflon unsafe?

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  • Teflon unsafe?

    I have read a few articles recently that ask whether teflon is really safe. The concern seems to be that teflon puts off unsafe (read cancer causing) gases when it reaches a high heat -- perhaps 700ºF. DuPont says that it is completely safe, and that pans never reach 700ºF. I've been known to leave a pan on the burner without any food in to; to where it gets very hot. Ooops.

    What do you think? Do you have and use teflon? Did this make you think? I feel like I am coming a little late to the party on this one, as the articles go back a couple of years. We were abroad, so I think I missed the story first time around.

    I am seriously thinking of tossing my teflon coated aluminum pans, and have started researching three-ply stainless steel, the new Calphalon anodized aluminum, and the Le Creuset saute pan.

    James
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    Re: Teflon unsafe?

    I’m not worried about it and we have a lot of pans with it. Hell, just about everything these days is being viewed as unsafe. Carbon monoxide in meat, plastic water bottles, extension ladders on frozen cow manure (OK, maybe that one is valid). Something is going to get you in the end, may as well be unstuck food.

    Les…
    Check out my pictures here:
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

    If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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    • #3
      Re: Teflon unsafe?

      I like Teflon pans indoors but bought a few cast iron pans for the forno. I splurged and bought a Le Creuset pan as well which I love. I prefer the way they conduct the heat. My old pans seem to be shedding a bit of skin and somehow that is not appealing in the WFO.

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      • #4
        Re: Teflon unsafe?

        Its a pretty well known fact that teflon emits noxious gases when heated above medium-high, especially when no food is present in the pan. Most chefs recommend not heating them above medium without something in them. Obviously, once food, water or oils are in there, they absorb the heat from the pan, keeping the teflon from doing bad things.

        The effects of overheated teflon, from memory, are headache and flue-like symptoms. Cancer? No idea.
        GJBingham
        -----------------------------------
        Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

        -

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        • #5
          Re: Teflon unsafe?

          This sounds like a no-no for our wood-fired ovens. Stick with stainless steel, cast iron or enamelled cast iron.

          James
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces

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          • #6
            Re: Teflon unsafe?

            I think the no stick coatings are fine in a WFO if roasting within the manufacturers specs. I bought a large no stick roaster at Thanksgiving (for the turkey of course) - came with instructions not to exceed 550 degrees - I have not; don't think I have ever roasted anything at that temp. Have used it several times since, no ill effects to the pan and the only thing I have smelled is the fragrant aroma of good food.
            I have on the other hand, let a no stick pan get too hot on the stove.....it does stink and definitely has a bad effect on the coating. As for the noxious gases - I believe it, but survived it on at least a couple of occasions.

            RT

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            • #7
              Re: Teflon unsafe?

              Originally posted by james View Post
              teflon puts off unsafe (read cancer causing) gases when it reaches a high heat -- perhaps 700ºF. DuPont says that it is completely safe,

              James


              duPont...better living through chemicals....According to DuPont its melting point is 327 °C (620.6 °F), but its properties degrade above 260 °C (500 °F).[

              My SIL gave me her teflon coated pans and I researched this a bit....what's above is apparently true...overheat teflon pans indoors and it can kill your canaries.

              So, don't overheat it (use on high or empty) (& probably not for the WFO) and ventilate if you do!

              do you know Teflon was found by accident? It was a waste biproduct

              and the coating on your pan may well be an advanced version of teflon, slightly different than what we're talking about......

              thoughts....
              sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!

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              • #8
                Re: Teflon unsafe?

                Interesting thread... What is Teflon a waste biproduct of? Do you know?
                "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

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                • #9
                  Re: Teflon unsafe?

                  Heating plastics may be an inherently bad idea. In the news today is Bisphenol A, an hormone-like chemical that's used for hard plastic items, and the lining of food containers, like soda and food cans. It's known that when heated, as canned goods are when they're processed, these can liner chemicals leach into the food contents. The food industry, of course, says the amounts are hardly measurable, and there is no effect on human health.

                  Bisphenol A News - The New York Times

                  There's also concern about shrink wraps in the microwave.

                  As for non-stick coatings, I long ago replaced my main saute pan with a stainless one. I don't worry about pans for boiling pasta and vegetables, as I think they're OK at 212f.
                  My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                  • #10
                    Re: Teflon unsafe?

                    Teflon is going to be around for a while. For the safety of all the newbie’s coming in all the time. I thought James might want to make it a sticky. Then I thought is it even possible to make a sticky on Teflon?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Teflon unsafe?

                      In general, I'm not a huge fan of manufactured non-stick coatings. I don't find them all that helpful, and they always seem to wear out.

                      We have one skillet and a griddle that are cast iron, and if you season them well (even the supposedly pre-seasoned ones) they hardly stick, and they stand up to anything.

                      We also have several of the Calphalon hard-anodized aluminum pans. They're great--nice and heavy, even heat distribution. They do make some with non-stick coatings, but of course they wear out long before the pan itself. The ones we have are all metal (no plastic handles or anything) so they can move from stove to oven.

                      Also, I don't think non-stick coatings let food brown as well. If anything does stick, it's probably just going to taste better anyway. I'm sure you all do this anyway, but just deglaze with some stock/beer/wine/vinegar (whatever seems appropriate in the dish) and get all that good stuff back into the food where it belongs!

                      I do covet the 5qt Le Creuset Dutch oven...

                      Ed

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                      • #12
                        Re: Teflon unsafe?

                        Originally posted by Ed_ View Post
                        they always seem to wear out.



                        Ed
                        If you treat them well and only use wood or plastic utensils and no metal srubbing stuff, I find they can last a while
                        Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane

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                        • #13
                          Re: Teflon unsafe?

                          I seem to kill off teflon pans in about a year. I use plastic utensils and we are gentle in cleaning -- I think we just cook too much. :-)

                          So, to keep my old pans out of the landfill, and for the teflon issue, I have bit the bullet, and ordered some Calphalon anodized aluminum pans from eBay. I'll let you know how it goes. I still have my stainless and cast iron for the WFO. Those, and my trusty, rusty paella pans.

                          One last thing. Don't microwave food in plastic. I think there is enough evidence that that does cause cancer.

                          James
                          Pizza Ovens
                          Outdoor Fireplaces

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                          • #14
                            Re: Teflon unsafe?

                            James,

                            I think the world is confused on this issue - I guess it doesn't hurt to be safe.

                            Les...

                            Urban Legends Reference Pages: Microwaving Plastic Releases Cancer-Causing Agents
                            Check out my pictures here:
                            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/les-build-4207.html

                            If at first you don't succeed... Skydiving isn't for you.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Teflon unsafe?

                              I use a set of waterless, greaseless pans for a lot of non-WFO cooking. These are a 7 ply material with surgical stainless steel as the outer layer. The heat transfer is so efficient that you can stack the pans ontop on one another on the stove top. The temperature difference between the bottom pan and the top pan is about 3 degrees F ( 1 degree C). They are kind of different to cook with because everything is cooked a lower temperature because of the efficient heat transfer. They are pretty spendy, but have a lifetime guarentee and since owning one I have never purchased another teflon coated pan.
                              Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog

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