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Key Safety Questions About Teflon® Nonstick Coatings

 

1.  Are cookware products that are coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings safe? 
2.Does DuPont use PFOA to make nonstick coatings for cookware?
3.  Are all nonstick coatings Teflon® nonstick coatings? 
4.  What happens if nonstick coated cookware is overheated? 
5.  Are fumes from overheated nonstick coated cookware harmful to people? 
6.  Are fumes from overheated nonstick cookware hazardous to birds? 
7.  How can I prevent nonstick cookware from overheating? 
8.  Are particles from cookware coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings harmful to consumers? 
9.  Are there steps I can take to make sure I am using nonstick cookware safely? 
10.  What is "normal" or "conventional" kitchen use? 
11.  What are the benefits of using cookware coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings? 


 

1.    Are cookware products that are coating with Teflon® nonstick coatings safe? 
Yes, products coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings are safe. Prior to market introduction, DuPont nonstick coatings were subjected to studies at the DuPont Haskell Global Centers for Health & Environmental Sciences. Cooks in more than 40 countries around the world have purchased and used billions of pots and pans with DuPont nonstick coatings. Over the past 40 years, there have been only a few reported accounts of polymer fume fever, a minor health effect with reversible flu-like symptoms, as a result of severely overheating nonstick cookware. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that DuPont nonstick coatings for cookware are acceptable for conventional kitchen use. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission rejected a petition in 2003 to require a label warning for nonstick coatings. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not believe there is any reason for consumers to stop using any consumer or industrial related products.
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2.    Does DuPont use PFOA to make nonstick coatings for cookware? 
No. As of January 1, 2012, DuPont no longer uses PFOA to manufacture nonstick coatings for cookware and consumer bakeware.
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3.    Are all nonstick coatings Teflon® nonstick coatings? 
Not all nonstick coatings are branded Teflon®. Teflon® branded nonstick coatings are made solely by DuPont. Teflon® is a registered trademark. Moreover, a stringent certification program ensures that nonstick coatings by DuPont are used only in suitable applications.
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4.    What happens if nonstick coated cookware is overheated? 
At high temperatures, the quality of the coating may begin to deteriorate — it may discolor or lose its nonstick quality. This can begin to occur at temperatures above 500°F (260°C). If heated to an extremely high temperature, the coating may begin to decompose and give off fumes. Fats, butter, or cooking oil will begin to scorch and smoke at about 400°F (204°C). DuPont nonstick coatings will not begin to significantly decompose until temperatures exceed about 660°F (349°C) — well above the smoke point for cooking oil, fats or butter. It is therefore unlikely that decomposition temperatures for nonstick cookware would be reached while cooking without burning food to an inedible state.
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5.    Are fumes from overheated nonstick coated cookware harmful to people? 
The fumes that are released by overheated polymer can produce symptoms referred to as "polymer fume fever" — flu-like symptoms that are relatively quickly reversed in humans. Over the past 40 years, there have been only a few reported accounts of polymer fume fever as a result of severely overheating nonstick cookware. It should be noted that butter, fats, and cooking oils will begin to smoke at approximately 400°F (204°C), producing fumes that can irritate eyes, nose, and throat and possibly cause respiratory distress. DuPont nonstick coatings will not begin to deteriorate in appearance or performance until the temperature of the cookware reaches about 500°F (260°C). The coating will not show significant decomposition unless temperatures exceed about 660°F (349°C).
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6.    Are fumes from overheated nonstick cookware hazardous to birds? 
Because birds have extremely sensitive respiratory systems, bird owners must take precautions to protect them. Cooking fumes, smoke and odors that have little or no effect on people can seriously sicken and even kill birds, often quite quickly. Cooking fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just nonstick, can damage a bird's lungs with alarming speed. This is why bird owners should take steps to protect their pets, such as keeping their birds out of the kitchen, never leaving cookware unattended, never allowing pots and pans to overheat, and making sure that their kitchen is properly ventilated at all times. 
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7.    How can I prevent nonstick cookware from overheating? 
It is best if a coated pan is used on low or medium heat. Higher temperatures (above 500°F) can be reached while cooking, but the food will likely burn and smoke to unacceptable levels. Even higher temperatures (above 600°F or 316°C) can be reached within minutes, if dry or empty cookware is left on a hot burner or in a hot oven. Nonstick cookware should not be left unattended or allowed to get very hot without food in the pan.
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8.    Are particles from cookware coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings harmful to consumers? 
Particles from Teflon® branded cookware are not harmful, even if ingested. Confidence in the safety and performance of DuPont nonstick coatings is based on more than 40 years of laboratory testing and use in home and commercial kitchens.
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9.    Are there steps I can take to make sure I am using nonstick cookware safely? 
Yes. The following are some tips to ensure safe cooking with nonstick cookware:
  • Cookware should never be overheated.
  • Low or medium heat is recommended for cookware with Teflon® nonstick coatings. The coatings are completely safe for normal kitchen use, including baking or frying, and have a recommended maximum use temperature of 500°F (260°C).
  • Empty cookware should not be left on a hot stove or in a hot oven.
  • Read the manufacturers' instructions before using cookware.
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10.    What is "normal" or "conventional" kitchen use? 
Cookware with DuPont nonstick coatings can be used at temperatures up to approximately 500°F (260°C) without damage to the coating. This is well above the temperatures required for boiling, frying and baking.
  • Boiling temperature of water is 212°F (100°C).
  • Normal temperatures for frying meat range from about 400°F (204°C) to 470°F (243°C).
  • The highest temperatures used in baking — such as roasting poultry or vegetables — is about 450°F (232°C).
  • Cookies or cakes are typically baked at temperatures ranging from 325°F (163°C) to 400°F (204°C).
  • Temperatures of 500°F (260°C) to 550°F (288°C) are typically used for broiling. DuPont does not recommend use of nonstick coated cookware at those temperatures.
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11.    What are the benefits of using cookware coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings? 
The nonstick properties of cookware coated with Teflon® nonstick coatings allow you to cook food and clean up easily, saving time and effort. The American Heart Association advises people to "use nonstick cookware so you can cook with a minimum of oil or vegetable oil spray" to help "create a healthier diet without losing out on flavor." Also, by limiting the amount of oil and fat in your cooking, you reduce your risk of stovetop fires, the number one cause of house fires.
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