India’s top health body has warned against using non-stick vessels

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Cooking with non-sticks is not something new for Indian households. Over the years, the market has grown significantly because of changing lifestyles and the rise in disposable income.


Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, is a synthetic chemical comprising carbon and fluorine atoms. It was first created in the 1930s and provides a nonreactive, nonstick, and almost frictionless surface to utensils. While it is convenient to cook and clean and uses little oil, the safety of nonstick cookware has come under the scanner over the past decade.


Previously concerns were raised about the potential release of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) during manufacturing. The chemical, which has thankfully been phased out from the cookware industry in 2013, was linked to several health issues like certain cancers, thyroid issues, and birth defects, Edwina Raj, head of services. clinical nutrition and dietetics, Aster CMI Hospital, Bengaluru told The Indian Express.


So should we not use teflon cookware?


It is safe to use. But here’s a scratch or rather the catch. Teflon cookware, which has even small scratches or is chipped can release high amounts of toxic fumes and harmful chemicals into food when cooked at a high temperature of over 170 degrees Celsius, ICMR says.


“There’s a whole chemistry set of compounds that will come off when teflon is heated high enough to decompose…," Robert L Wolke, PhD, author of “What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained” told Good Housekeeping.



Cooking food at high temperatures in non-stick vessels can release toxic fumes. 

These harmful fumes can irritate the lungs and potentially cause flu-like symptoms known as polymer fume fever, Raj further told _The Indian Express.


An Australian study published in the journal Science of The Total Environment in 2022 pointed out that just one surface crack on a Teflon-coated pan can release as many as 9,100 microplastic particles.


Nonstick pans that have been scratched or chipped…can leach millions of microplastics into our food,” the New York-based physician Dr Poonam Desai warned in an Instagram video. “Microplastics are endocrine disruptors. They can cause hormone imbalances, fertility issues, and even increase our risk of cancer.”


The ICMR has also advised against storing acidic and hot food items in aluminium and iron containers, making an exception for brass and copper vessels.


While non-stick pans offer convenience in cooking and cleaning, it’s becoming essential to switch to safer options that make your kitchen more sustainable.


What are the alternatives?


The medical body has given a thumbs up to mud pots, calling it one of the “safest” cookware. Not only does cooking in them require less oil, but they also largely retain the nutritional balance of food due to even heat distribution.


ICMR also gave a nod to granite stone utensils, on condition that they are free from chemical coatings of PFOA, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and PTFE. Granite utensils are energy efficient as they retain heat even after their source is turned off. It recommended cooking in granite utensils on medium to high heat to prevent the non-stick coating from wearing off.


Food cooked in food-grade stainless steel is also a safe option as the utensils do not leach, are durable, easy to clean, and are a hygienic choice, as per ICMR. Ceramic cookware is also safe if they are cleaned and well-maintained.


How to safely use non-sticks?


As per Healthline, do not preheat and empty the non-stick pan, if preheat is needed use oil. Secondly, use wooden or silicon ladles to prevent the coating from wearing off, ventilate your kitchen as much as possible to get rid of fumes, prevent cooking on high heat, and avoid stacking non-sticks over others as it may lead to rubbing and scrapping of coatings.


Most importantly, know when to let go of your old utensils.

https://www.firstpost.com/health/icmr-warned-ag...

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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Known from much time still not able to find proper non- stick alternative. Have bought big iron tawa but difficult to use compare to light weight non stick pans. Ceramic ones are there but need to see they also seem to have some chemical coated(safety).

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Simple tip

After cleaning iron vessel, immediately wipe the water with dry cloth, next apply oil( like thin layer), keep it aside

Works like non stick vessel

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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V use bronze and iron vessels 4 cooking

Steel and glass vessels for storing

Copper jugs and clay pots 4 drinking

Bought and tried 2 use mud pots, but it's very difficult/ tough 2 maintain 

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Known from much time still not able to find proper non- stick alternative. Have bought big iron tawa but difficult to use compare to light weight non stick pans. Ceramic ones are there but need to see they also seem to have some chemical coated(safety).

Patron Patron
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Triply Stainless steel cookware.

Little costly but better than non stick.

Or, seasoned iron cookware.

All above are fairly non stick

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Commentator Commentator
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How to safely use non-sticks? - To ICMR, this is like how to safely die/get killed etc, after giving/highlighting all the issues then why to recommended to use it safely 😀

Deal Captain Deal Captain
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Because the people in business selling those will come after them and their precious government salaries joy

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Known from much time still not able to find proper non- stick alternative. Have bought big iron tawa but difficult to use compare to light weight non stick pans. Ceramic ones are there but need to see they also seem to have some chemical coated(safety).

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
Link Copied

Simple tip

After cleaning iron vessel, immediately wipe the water with dry cloth, next apply oil( like thin layer), keep it aside

Works like non stick vessel

View 5 more replies
Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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V use bronze and iron vessels 4 cooking

Steel and glass vessels for storing

Copper jugs and clay pots 4 drinking

Bought and tried 2 use mud pots, but it's very difficult/ tough 2 maintain 

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Love it, wish could do it all. Matka(clay pot) is difficult to maintain across seasons.

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Benevolent Benevolent
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Food tastes worst in nonstick. 

Savings Mentor Savings Mentor
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Well they're not saying discard it completely but to take care while using it. Throw away old scratched pans whose coating is damaged, use wooden or silicone spatulas, control the temperature of the pan (prolonged high heat cooking also damages the coating), ventilate the kitchen and make sure while washing/cleaning, the pan is not scratched by other utensils or too much vigorous scrubbing. Then it's alright to use.

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Still I will say avoid if possible, coating will keep coming off eventually and move into our food

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