Nonstick Pan Safety ANSWERS

September 11, 2019 posted by

Some of the chemicals in this nonstick pan
could be hazardous to human health — also the chemicals used to make it back at the
factory. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is dangerous to cook with. In fact,
the weight of scientific evidence and expert opinion is on the side of this being quite
safe to cook with, as long as you don’t get it way too hot — and even if you did that,
it probably won’t be a very big of a deal, unless you already have a cardiorespiratory
disease or if you are a bird. But it’s not all good news. Bad chemicals
used in the production process for pans like these are everywhere in our environment. They’re
probably in your body right now, whether you cook with one of these or not. Details? Field trip to the National Institute
of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, North Carolina, where Dr. Mimi Huang is a
post-doctoral fellow at the National Toxicology Program. Hey, does she cook on Teflon? “Uh, yes, I do. Because I’m really lazy and
I don’t feel like soaking my pans in the sink just to scrape off the stuff off the bottom.” Scientists — they’re just like us! So what is Teflon? Well, Teflon is a brand
name. For the rest of this video, we’re gonna try to refer to the chemical at the heart
of all such pans — PTFE. “Yeah, and so that’s basically just a carbon
chain with a ton of fluorines all around it, and it makes it — because of the way the
chemical is, it makes it very resistant to reacting with other sorts of chemicals, or
dissolving other chemicals, which makes it a very good nonstick coating.” And that’s the same factor that makes these
things pretty safe to cook with. The manufacturers may tell you to replace them the second you
scratch them and they start to chip, but… “…as I mentioned before, the chemical structure
makes it pretty inert, and so if you were to ingest, you know, a chip of your Teflon
pan, that would probably go through your system pretty harmlessly.” Good, because I’m guessing I probably ate
that chip right there. A lot of manufacturers also tell you to never
put your nonstick pans in the dishwasher. Dr. Huang says that probably doesn’t have
anything to do with safety. “I’d imagine their main concern might be that
it might degrade the coating faster, and so that would decrease the quality of their pans.
And so, to avoid unhappy customers, they might recommend not putting it in the dishwasher,
or getting new ones after they scratch it. Plus, I’m sure that encourages people to buy
more, right?” Ah ha! You know, about 10 years ago, I decided
I’m gonna stop tearing my nonstick pans to shreds. I’m gonna get a really nice, expensive
one, and I’ma treat her right. I literally scratched it the very first time I used it.
Nonstick pans scratch and chip, it’s what they do. Funny enough, when you make a chemical
that doesn’t stick to things, it’s hard to make it stick to things, like the bottom of
the pan. I strongly believe that my possessions should
serve me, I should not serve them. So my approach these last few years has been to buy relatively
inexpensive nonstick pans, use them, abuse them, and just replace them every few years. There actually is one health risk posed by
PTFEs in the kitchen, and that is a very rare disease called polymer fume fever. It’s a
thing that can happen if you overheat your pans. We’ll talk more about that in a minute. Real quick, let me thank the sponsor of this
video, HelloFresh. Some people might think, Oh, Adam Ragusea, he’s a big-time internet
cook now, he’d never use a meal kit delivery service. Nah, dude – I am a sucker for a kit of any
kind. They send you these meal bags, and each one has exactly what you need to knock out
a delicious, healthy plate in like a half hour — all in precise, pre-measured quantities.
Look at that hotel minibar bottle of vinegar, adorable! And recyclable, like most of this. The instructions are simple and easy to follow,
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I rarely have the bandwidth to produce a traditionally square meal — you know, a protein, a starch
and a veg. But there’s other styles, too/ They’ve got Vegetarian, Calorie Smart, Family
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and enter my offer code adamragusea80. That’s in the description. OK, the so-called Teflon flu. This really
is a thing that you can get from working with these pans. “If you get them really really hot, they will
start to vaporize — so, basically, it’ll come off of the pans.” And if you breath that in, you can basically
get a little flu — fever, chills, that kind of thing. But in most known cases, it only
lasts a day or two, and then that’s it. Researchers believe it only poses a serious health risk
to people who are already sick, and/or people who breath in a TON of the fumes. Also, yes,
birds. Nonstick pans do kill birds, that is a thing that veterinarians talk about. Now, how hot do you need to get this thing
before you risk the flu? “This is at, like, temperatures way higher
than I presume most people are using. These are temperatures that would burn your food,
and you would clearly see some degradation of the pan that you’re using at the temperatures
where this happens.” Degradation like say, this. This is a picture
of the pan involved in one of the tiny handful of documented cases of anybody in their kitchen
giving themselves polymer fume fever. This happened in 2012. A 29-year-old guy in Japan
put some water on the boil for pasta, but he forgot about it and he fell asleep. He
woke up five hours later and found his room full of some kind of smoke. He grabbed the
pan, he ran it to the sink and then when he poured water into it, “an explosive vapor
came out from the surface of the pan,” which he breathed in. So that’s kind of a worst-case-scenario in
the kitchen, right? And what happened to him? He had a fever, he had a cough, and was a
little bit short of breath. It was way better by the next day, and by the third day he was
back to normal. Here’s a chart showing documented cases of
polymer fume fever in the U.S. When it says “four” in 2012, that’s not short for 4,000.
That’s four. And Dr. Huang says most of those cases are not people working in their kitchens.
It’s people working in factories… “…where workers are, you know, putting the
coating on themselves and are very much exposed to it, so… A lot more cases are in that
realm. There have been a couple of cases in the general population, maybe two, I think,
in the past decade — that’s been recorded, right? So we don’t know about the ones that
haven’t been recorded.” Indeed, I get a little sick all the time,
and if my pan were to blame, I’m not sure that I would put two and two together. There are a lot of estimates about what temperature
will cause a nonstick coating to become dangerous. Most experts would say you shouldn’t take
them past 500 F, but they don’t start to break down until about 570 F, and they don’t really
get going until 662 F. Let’s do an experiment. Nonstick pan goes
under the broiler, and I’ll take its temperature with my fancy infrared thermometer. It took
more than 20 minutes for this to reach the danger zone — and that’s with the pan being
empty. If you have food in there, it’s gonna absorb a lot of the heat. When I did my pan pizza recipe from the other
day in my nonstick, the exposed rim of the pan wasn’t anywhere near the danger zone by
the time the pizza was cooked. Now up on the burner, the story is a little
different. When I put this on high, it hit the danger zone in about four minutes, so
don’t do that. I might occasionally use high heat with this pan, but only with lots of
food in it. You don’t want to preheat this empty for the purposes of, say, searing a
steak. And there’d be no reason to, because if you properly sear a steak in a normal pan,
it’s not gonna stick. This is for more gentle, delicate things, like eggs. And even with these experiments I did, the
pans were just starting to get overheated. They didn’t break down visibly at all. And
Dr. Huang thinks you’d probably have to get your face right in there and breath in those
fumes to risk getting sick. Now, before we finish, there’s something more
serious to discuss. For many years, manufactures used a chemical called PFOA in the process
of making these. PFOA is bad stuff. It’s a possible carcinogen and it lasts for forever
in the environment. There have been many lawsuits involving people who lived near the factories
getting really sick, but… “There really is a very minimal amount of
residual PFOA or other perfluorinated chemicals in the nonstick pans — like, you know, thousands
of folds lower than what is observed in the water or food.” So, good news: it’s not in the pan. Bad news:
IT’S EVERYWHERE ELSE, it’s in the water, and it’s probably in your blood, right now. Industry
has been phasing out PFOA for this reason, but there’s concern about the chemical process
they’re now using instead. So, is that a reason to not buy nonstick pans?
To avoid supporting an industry that is introducing these chemicals into our environment? Well,
maybe, but the thing is, nonstick coatings are everywhere. This is just the place where
you’re most aware of them. They’re in electrical cables, cosmetics, popcorn bags, dental floss,
basically any stain- or water-resistant fabric — carpets, furniture, clothes. These coatings
are everywhere, and so are the potentially hazardous chemicals used to produce them.
That is a fact of modern life, whether you cook in one of these or not.


100 Replies to “Nonstick Pan Safety ANSWERS”

  1. Aaron Vogt says:

    Most of my work as an environmental scientist is dealing with PFAS and it's relatives (PTFE, among others). At this point, fluorinated compounds are SO prevalent in our society that Teflon coated pans are probably the last of our worries. There are many other sources that are of far greater worry, like your water supply. If you are on a well or anything other than municipal city supply, get your water tested! Also, don't eat microwavable popcorn, there's a lot of this crap in the bags (also that butter and other nonsense is bad for you).

  2. j left says:

    This doesn't feel like complete science – "hey, this cancer causing chemical is everywhere, so no biggie if its in your pan." Did you play the video of the woman from the 1990's admitting they are unsafe – marketing fail 101.

  3. Tommy Nguyen says:

    Adam, I have the same pan as you and I have a question. Is there a way to restore the pan from scratches,

  4. Yucheng Fu says:

    This video is sponsored by DuPont Teflon pans

  5. Edwin Zeferino says:

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Zetu says:

    We all die anyway..

  7. peter griffin says:

    I like this channel, he takes the time to explain what he does in depth.

  8. Jaden H. says:

    food review of pacman cereal

  9. 4Shadow says:

    Adam you forgot to mention white wine…

  10. Antonia Watkins says:

    Oh no, I’m a bird 🐦

  11. lorenzo agoncillo says:

    This is so educational, thank you adam

  12. Manny Perez says:

    Your pans look horrible, mine are years old and they look great and I use them all the time. It helps to take care of them and wash them once in a while!

  13. filming fletcher says:

    So can I cook a steak on a non stick pan?

  14. Shawn Murals says:

    The Ragoose is loose.

  15. uncaringbear says:

    Thank you to Adam for always bringing science and facts into these discussions. Food and cooking are topics that are often polluted with misinformation, either through ignorance or deliberate purposes. Keep up the fight!

  16. Logan Begley says:

    Another banger. I love u adam

  17. sunnohh says:

    I get cheap no stick pans and replace it about every 3 years

  18. Giorono Giovana says:

    This was in my final exam and i nearly died doing that question 🙁

  19. King Whyvern Dragoon says:

    The answer to this video is GET THAT BOTTLED CHICKEN

  20. Gintoki says:

    this is an NA thing, almost everyone in EU has teflon pans

  21. Kenneth PORTOLA says:

    Love your content

  22. shioq says:

    I have a non-stick pan without chemicals. It's called a stainless steel pan with a bit of oil.

  23. NakfeD says:

    Great news thanks Adam!

  24. 이신우 says:

    Knowledge +1

  25. shioq says:

    0:53 – she doesn't know what deglazing is…

  26. SirRichieSan says:

    I am a birb and you're doing me a scare

  27. Faded Mind says:

    V I N E G A R L E G I S O N T H E R I G H T.

  28. Karl Marx says:

    Excellent video

  29. Pigeons 14 says:


  30. Jayden Calderon says:

    I always love your food science videos.

  31. Craig Burns says:

    What kind and brand of non stick pan do you use Adam. I cant seem to find one heavy enough in Australia

  32. Josuf Eblee says:

    What does the Wine Chicken Hand logo at the end mean

  33. JacobLZP says:

    I don't use Teflon but I have it on my pants.

  34. Shiba says:

    What about those new ceramic coating pans? Are they any bad? And do they scratch?

  35. MrDrdka123 says:

    wow I thought this was a cooking channel

  36. Kyle Meade says:

    Why I put food on my seasoning, rather than seasoning my food.

  37. Ferdinand Andre says:

    GenX Chemical.
    Me: starting to think about powerpuff girls.

  38. USS. ZZSS says:

    Hello fresh is the meal kit service besides the meals from Sunbasket

  39. Duncan says:

    I really appreciate how well researched these videos are. keep up the good work!

  40. Tyler Beadle-Follis says:

    After trying hello fresh once my fiance and I have remade the recipes a few times over the past months and loved them. However! Do not wait to long to eat them, the fresh vegetables spoil quickly since they had a few days to get to you.

  41. Petrus Laredes says:

    This is why I use cast iron.

  42. Test Account says:

    0:25 I guess sweet dea should switch to stainless steel

  43. Test Account says:

    Adam can you please do a video like this on aluminum, I heard that there is a link with aluminum cooking tools and alzhiemers

  44. turkeyclits says:

    What about those documentaries of the DuPont Family Scandals?? Or how Teflon was poisoning the world?? I’m not absolutely sure about the facts but those documentaries sure make me not want to use Teflon pans at all!
    Edit: I saw the final half of the video, I’m still a bit concerned but yeah.

  45. Bill Schlafly says:

    I thought entertainment killed journalism long ago. In a bit of irony, you have brought these 2 ingredients together to make consistently wonderful content.

  46. Tithis says:

    I don't think I've used a non-stick pan in nearly a decade. Have 4 cast iron skillets of varying size and age, and then a triply saucepan, saucier and fry pan.

    Not even a health thing for me. I started getting into cooking in college and buying some cast iron at a flea market and restoring it seemed cheaper in the long run then having to replace non-stick pans.

  47. Kimchi Sammich says:

    I already have cancer…just waiting for it to show up.

  48. Tércio Sant'Anna says:

    Hey Adam, i'm from Brazil and love your videos man!

  49. Jack d'Albiac Brewin says:

    Lady on the left in the caption be like, "Why you gotta be breaking my balls?"

  50. Christian WS says:

    Isn't that temperature too high for a burner?

  51. Tymas12 says:

    Hypocondriacs watching this are probably dead rn

  52. Jerome says:

    come on dude the past few days i've seen videos about what we eat and more precisely what poison we eat now dont scare me with my pan being toxic

  53. BoyBalastog says:

    How healthy it is to cook with PTFE was always a non-issue for me. What always gets me is that they'll eventually wear off no matter what. So I follow Daniel Gritzer's advice and just always get something cheap, knowing that all PTFE pans will wear off. That's why I never get coated stainless, just good ol' cheap aluminium. Otherwise, get a good uncoated stainless, preferrably fully clad 3-ply, and it'll last you years. Then get a cast iron if you're willing to do a little maintenance, and you'll have a pan that'll last a lifetime. I have all three and use them for different cooking purposes.

  54. John G says:

    While I am willing to accede to the science that the pan itself isn't a clear danger, I do want to avoid supporting any industry that has such a terrible record of poisoning the environment and avoiding responsibility to people who are sickened by their pollution. Didn't we learn anything from Erin Brockovich?

  55. Kumat Mebro says:

    Her vocal fry is insanely annoying

  56. fuck off google i dont want to use my real name says:

    Thank you for using Celsius for the rest of us 🙂

  57. Movie Games says:

    I season my cancer, not the food.

  58. Crismenth says:

    You said you would deliver on Monday

    It’s Tuesday

  59. nanoflower1 says:

    I saw that white smoke start to come off a cheap non-stick pan that I was heating up one day to cook something. Made sure to take it off the heat since I wasn't ready to put whatever I was cooking on at the time. After that I was careful not to heat up the non-stick pan till I was ready to cook.

  60. Mr. Jazz moose says:

    So technically, when birds fly into a window and die, it's not from the window, it's from the nonstick pan lying around somewhere?

  61. Soul Intent says:

    I sear my steaks off in a nonstick pan, usually do one every week or 2. I do it the "ramsay" way. Hot as possible, sear super quick, lower heat and baste with butter. It hasnt degraded at all, but it does make me and my father cough as im cooking. But… im pretty sure that is the pepper. And we have asthma, but it doesnt bother us otherwise and we dont take meds any more.

    But… ill probably just do it in a normal pan to see what happens.

  62. GldZ says:

    Adam deserves so much more subs

  63. Emma Brook says:

    I’m a bird and cook at 1000 F

  64. Aryan J says:

    How to skip school for dummies

  65. Joel & Katelyn says:

    I don’t think you are making the point you think you are making.

  66. Dovar says:

    hey, whats your opinion on Silit Silargan cookware?

  67. Pearl Vesper says:

    6.99 per serving is cheap now? Uhhhhhhh

  68. cha1x nov4 says:

    Your video quality is getting way better, dude it's like a TV show.

  69. ImHyper says:

    How many gallons of white wine has been in that pan tho?

  70. L-Dv says:

    Why I put Teflon on my food, NOT my pans

  71. Domingo Consiliario says:

    The Devil We Know.

  72. doughnutfingers says:

    Don't let this distract you from the Netflix documentary that explains why the entirety of the south has 20 less IQ points than the rest of us. It's not the chemicals in these pans that are killing people, its the waste-products that they flushed into the water system for the last half-century. Stay Informed

  73. Maggi Asam Laksa says:

    Can you make instant ramen great?

  74. Santouche Santouche says:

    Learn to cook with stainless and iron pans. Food won't stick of you know how to get things to temperature. The benefits outweigh any convenience of non stick. Health wise and environmentally.
    Non-stick suits planned obsolesence and profit imperatives.
    Stainless and iron are airlooms…
    As for the cleaning aspect? Huh? Non-stick loses its performance. And becomes stick pans. Stainless can be scrubbed. It's not that hard. Sheesh…

  75. Min jun Kim says:

    But did you die?

  76. pooo wooo says:

    What about the effects of chronic, daily acute exposure? I would be willing to bet that your chance of cancer goes up.

    Sure, there are similar compounds in other things we use every day but all of those mentioned besides microwavable popcorn bags, do not heat up and come in contact with food.

    Again, daily use to small exposure would be interesting to know what the long term effects are. Too bad it's practically impossible to know if it increases chances of cancer.

    Big thing is if you heat plastic or anything releated and ingest, it probably equals cancer or higher chance many years later. So, nope. I'll skip on this fluff. This no way proves that you can't get cancer from this stuff 30 years down the road after habitual use.

    Go melt some plastic and ingest it and let me know how you're doing a year or two down the road. Now go take some plastic and heat it up, put your food on it every day and eat it. Same thing can happen and you have cancer. Just takes longer. Heat plus carcinogenic compounds + you ingesting food that contacts it is not good.

    Stainless and cast iron are not hard to use and work just fine.

  77. Aditya Takale says:

    I just clicked to read comments!! 😁😁

  78. maan 1511 says:

    Great video. But no. Non stick pans dont scratch. I have used mine for years, and still not a single scratch. Its all about the tools you use.

  79. i Joker says:

    Why i season teflon instead of the pan

  80. Senad Music says:

    I season my PFOA first.

  81. paper says:

    Vinegar chicken is on the right

  82. 1 d says:

    i ONLY use plastic utensils in teflon pans, yet they always seem to eventually get little scratches

  83. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart says:

    This video was very well researched Adam. Keep going !

  84. Jens Marino says:

    What do you have against cast iron pans?

  85. S. B. says:

    "Nah dude, I'm a sucker for a kit of any kind."

    Adam is my spirit animal…

  86. XTHE12THMONKEYX says:

    Can you give us a run down of your stainless pans you use? Thanks!

  87. t k says:

    Why I season my teflon not my pan

  88. Shiro Neko says:

    You know, if you start to speard propergandars i won’t be noticing
    Gadamn it you are trust worthy

  89. NoobAlike says:

    Vinegar leg is on the right

  90. GolldenFalcon says:

    This is my favorite channel on YouTube.

  91. Pat Luneburger says:

    6.99 per serving!? Thats 14$ for 2 people; with that you can eat 3 days in germany 😀

  92. Neeharika Neti says:

    Can you please do a video on MSG?

  93. Marvin Lin says:

    oof i sear steak in mines. Like a really high sear too..

  94. Jake Herington says:

    Adam, do you prewrite the dialogue to these videos? You’re extremely well spoken.

  95. Idioluck says:

    why the hell was that guy boiling water in a nonstick pan

  96. himmelsturmerIX says:

    I cook my msg on a non stick pan.

  97. WildeBob says:

    my friend says ur a dumbass and i hate him now

  98. Onmyoji Topper says:

    Is hellofresh available in Asia?

  99. Simon Hope says:

    You should give yourself this fever for the sake of the channel.

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