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james 04-22-2008 02:25 PM

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 700F. DuPont says that it is completely safe, and that pans never reach 700F. 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.


Les 04-22-2008 02:48 PM

Re: Teflon unsafe?
Im 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.


krosskraft 04-22-2008 08:11 PM

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.

gjbingham 04-22-2008 09:19 PM

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.

james 04-22-2008 09:37 PM

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


RTflorida 04-22-2008 10:51 PM

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 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.


Xabia Jim 04-22-2008 10:53 PM

Re: Teflon unsafe?

Originally Posted by james (Post 30271)
teflon puts off unsafe (read cancer causing) gases when it reaches a high heat -- perhaps 700F. DuPont says that it is completely safe,


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......


Frances 04-23-2008 03:20 AM

Re: Teflon unsafe?
Interesting thread... What is Teflon a waste biproduct of? Do you know?

dmun 04-23-2008 03:28 AM

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.

mannextdoor 04-23-2008 05:20 AM

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?

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