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How to Safely Use Nonstick Pans

The Worry-Free Guide to Cooking With Nonstick Pans

Nonstick pans have gotten a bit of a bad rep over the last few years, but it's not all necessarily worth fretting about. While the slippery surface makes cooking healthy foods likes eggs and veggies easier, it is made from a special paint manufactured using a toxic chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Although this chemical is almost always removed in production, there may still be trace amounts of PFOA in the final coating, causing concern. While the

  1. Avoid cooking under high temperatures: It is suggested that when cooking with nonstick pans, avoid foods and recipes that require high temperatures above 500° F. This is because the pan may begin to decompose, emitting PFOA fumes. Most foods don't need to be cooked at such high temperatures, but steak is an exception, making cast iron pans a better option.
  2. Avoid preheating your pan: Preheating a nonstick pan is similar to cooking foods at high temperatures. Doing this overheats the pan quickly, shortening the lifespan of the pan. If you do a lot of cooking, then consider investing in a heavier-weight pan. Not only will this hold up over the years, but it also withstands heat better, in turn saving you the cost of frequent replacement.
  3. Avoid chipping the surface: This is key for nonstick cookware. Using metal spatulas and utensils may scratch or chip the coating, increasing the likelihood of exposing the chemically coated surface. Instead opt for a wood or plastic spatula. In addition, clean with care. Do not wash with steel wool or metal scrubbers. These pans are dishwasher-safe, and since the smooth surface makes cleanup easy, they can be washed with a sponge and detergent.
  4. Be choosey with recipes: Although nonstick pans are arguably safe, minimize any chance of concern by only using them when needed. There are also several cookware alternatives like glass and cast iron. When in doubt, keep it simple: line your trays with wax paper or cooking spray.
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