Which of the PFOA free frying pans is best?

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Post Sun, Apr 02 2023, 2:28 am
Im looking for a toxin-free non stick frying pan.


If you’ve shopped for nonstick cookware recently, you may have noticed labels meant to indicate that your new frying pan is free of certain hazardous chemicals.

That includes PFOA, which is one of the thousands of chemicals that fall into the category of PFAS—per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. They’re called “forever chemicals” because many persist for months or even years in our bodies and they break down very slowly, if ever, in the environment. PFOA, which has been studied more than most other related chemicals, raises particular concerns because it has been clearly linked to health risks in humans.

Want to Cook With Pans Made Without PFAS?
Check out the frying pans to buy if you want to avoid PFAS chemicals.

It also includes PTFE, the coating on many nonstick pans that was introduced in the 1940s as Teflon. Growing research suggests that many of the compounds used to make that coating may also pose health risks.

To see if nonstick pans that are claimed to be PFOA-free really are, and if consumers can rely on other PFAS-related claims, CR recently tested three recommended nonstick frying pans in our ratings at different price points. They were the Our Place Always Pan and the Red Copper pan, both of which have ceramic coatings and are said to be free of PTFE and PFOA, and the Swiss Diamond pan, which has a PTFE coating and is said to be PFOA-free.

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The two ceramic pans didn’t contain any of the 96 PFAS our testers looked for. The PTFE-coated pan, on the other hand, had measurable amounts of PFOA and several other PFAS.

Because CR’s tests and research show that even products made without PFOA may contain the compound because of how they’re manufactured, we have decided to no longer display “PFOA-free” in our ratings of nonstick cookware. Such claims may not be reliable for PTFE-coated products.

“Avoiding products made with PFAS, including pots and pans, may help protect your health and the environment,” says Eric Boring, PhD, a CR chemist who oversaw our testing. “And our findings suggest that consumers who want to avoid PFAS in their nonstick cookware may want to focus on products that claim to be PTFE-free.”

He and other experts CR spoke with say that nonstick pans that are made with a ceramic coating and carry a PTFE-free claim, such as the Red Copper and Always pans, are far less likely to have forever chemicals.

Of course, many uncoated pans, including those made with carbon steel and cast iron, are also unlikely to contain PFAS, though they might not prevent food from sticking as well or be quite as easy to clean.

Below are more results from our tests of PFAS in nonstick frying pans, plus advice on how to find one made without those harmful chemicals.

Looking for PFAS in Frying Pans
Measuring PFOA and other PFAS in pans isn’t easy. First, a team of technicians at the lab used a rotating tool to scrape coatings off 30 samples of each of the three pans. The coatings were then tested for 96 different PFAS chemicals, far more than is typical.

Swiss Diamond Pan
The PTFE-coated Swiss Diamond pan had measurable levels of 16 of the 96 PFAS we looked for. Our tests found an average of 4 parts per billion (ppb) of PFOA in the coating, even though Swiss Diamond’s package said it was PFOA-free. Levels of some other PFAS were far higher, leading to a combined 639 ppb PFAS in one Swiss Diamond sample, and 703 ppb in the other.

Amir Alon, general manager of Swiss Made Brands USA Inc., the distributor of Swiss Diamond products in the U.S., emphasized the safety and quality of the cookware. He challenged CR’s results, saying that the manufacturer had used PFOA-free raw materials since 2007 and that the high temperatures used in the coating process would remove any PFOA. He also suggested that the PFOA that CR found could have come from cross-contamination in the testing process.

However, CR took several precautions to prevent cross-contamination, such as testing all equipment and materials that came into contact with the samples for PFAS, and found no PFOA.

Several outside experts who weren’t involved in CR’s testing but reviewed the results say they weren’t surprised by CR’s findings, even if PFOA isn’t used in the manufacturing of the pans.

For one thing, PFOA could be created as a byproduct of other PFAS when a pan is cured, says William Dichtel, PhD, the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, who has published research on ways to destroy PFAS.

Igor Novosselov, PhD, who teaches mechanical engineering at the University of Washington and has helped develop a reactor that can break down PFAS using superheated water, agrees. “We see similar things,” he says. And he noted that the higher levels of other PFAS detected are even more concerning than the PFOA that CR found.

Graham Peaslee, PhD, a professor of physics, chemistry, and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame who studies PFAS, concurs, offering another possibility. He says PFOA and other PFAS compounds could be trapped within layers of PTFE and not destroyed during the curing process.

Always Pan and Red Copper Pan
CR didn’t detect any of the 96 PFAS we looked for in either of the two ceramic-coated pans, the Always Pan and the Red Copper, both of which carry a PTFE-free claim. It’s theoretically possible that other PFAS could be present given that there are thousands out there, but they weren’t any of the 96 in our test panel.

Most of the scientists we’ve consulted said they were pleased but not surprised to see we didn’t detect PFAS in those pans because such chemicals aren’t needed to make nonstick ceramic cookware.

“Ceramic pans, those should be [PFAS] free,” says Lee Ferguson, PhD, an environmental analytical chemist and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University, who wasn’t involved in CR’s tests.

The Problems With PFAS in Pans
Exposure to PFAS, which are used widely not only in nonstick cookware but also in stain- and water-resistant gear and grease-proof food packaging, has been linked to liver damage, lowered immunity in kids, and other health concerns.

PTFE and similar compounds are a type of PFAS in polymer form, which means that molecules are joined together tightly, like a plastic. That should make it safer for humans because such compounds are too large to readily be absorbed by our bodies, Boring says.

But long-used pans with scratched coatings may not be as safe as pans in pristine condition. And when PTFE coatings overheat, they can produce fumes that are deadly to small birds and may be harmful to humans as well. You could describe this occurrence as “the canary in the kitchen,” Peaslee says.

In addition, PFAS in pots and pans pose risks even if the chemicals don’t migrate directly into our bodies. That’s because the chemicals can also enter the environment—and from there our food, water, and air—when the pans are manufactured and again when they are thrown away. Indeed, contamination from the production and disposal of PFAS at an industrial scale has been tied to a growing list of health and environmental hazards.

Decoding Pan Labels
Despite growing awareness of the health and environmental concerns raised by PFAS, it’s not easy to shop for cookware without it, especially if you’re looking for something that will let you cook, say, an omelet without much cleanup.

For example, consumers who see a “PFOA-free” claim on packaging for a nonstick pan may mistakenly assume that means it contains no PFAS at all when it may apply to just that one specific compound. Starting around 2009, U.S. manufacturers of PFOA began voluntarily halting sales of it in this country for uses where it could come in contact with food. And by the end of 2016, it was no longer used in any food packaging, cookware, or other food-related products sold in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration. But based on CR’s tests and research, even products made without PFOA may not be free of it because the compound can be created as a byproduct of other PFAS.

In fact, CR’s product safety experts say that the term “PFAS-free” is misleading. “For one thing, there are literally thousands of PFAS compounds, but most tests look for less than a hundred, so it’s difficult to know if a product is free of them all,” Boring says. In addition, manufacturers may use the word “free” to indicate that the amount is below a specific level—maybe one set by a regulatory agency, for example—not that a product doesn’t have PFAS at all.

A California law that will go into effect in 2023 will ban companies from claiming in online sale listings that a cookware product is free of any one PFAS—like PFOA—if it contains any other PFAS, like PTFE. Those claims will have to be removed from packaging by 2024, when a similar law will go into effect in Colorado. Alon, the distributor of Swiss Diamond, told CR that in order to comply with the new California law, the company will be taking the PFOA-free claim off its website by the end of 2022 and its packaging by the end of 2023.

A PTFE-free claim on a nonstick pan, however, can be more meaningful. That’s especially the case for pans with a ceramic coating. Ceramics are primarily made of silicon dioxide and other metal oxides, not PTFE or any other PFAS, says Gillian Z Miller, PhD, a senior scientist at the Ecology Center, an environment-focused nonprofit group in Michigan. An earlier study of 24 nonstick frying and baking pans she helped conduct concluded that pans with a PTFE-free label were indeed made with a ceramic coating.

Get ‘Forever Chemicals’ Out of Our Water
Sign CR’s petition demanding stricter regulation of PFAS in our drinking water.

How to Find Pans Made Without PFAS
If you currently have a nonstick pan with a PTFE coating and it’s in good condition, experts we’ve consulted don’t think it’s likely to expose you to significant levels of PFAS. Just be sure not to scrape it with metal utensils or steel wool, which can abrade the surface, or preheat it when it’s empty, which can cause it to overheat and release toxic fumes.

But once a pan starts to degrade, or if you’re in the market for a new one, you may want to consider an uncoated pan or one without PTFE.

“We do think ceramics are a better choice if you want that nonstick surface,” Miller says. And Peaslee at Notre Dame says that he has switched to ceramic pans and is happy with the results.

CR’s pots and pans experts agree that nonstick pans made with ceramics can often perform at least as well as those with PTFE.

Our top-rated nonstick frying pan—a Green Pan Reserve—has a PTFE-free claim and ceramic coating. And overall, our cookware tests show no noticeable differences in performance between the PTFE-free/ceramic pans and those with PTFE. In fact, they were neck-and-neck in our tests for cooking evenness and food release, a test in which we fry four eggs in quick succession to see how easily they slide out of the pan. The only slight difference was in our durability test, in which we abrade the nonstick surface with steel wool until the coating wears through (or up to 2,000 strokes). A few ceramic pans scored an Excellent on this test, while many of the PTFE pans scored that high.

The two types are mixed together in our ratings of almost 40 nonstick skillets. You can see which pans aren’t made with PTFE in our ratings.

Uncoated pans can also be a good choice if you want to avoid PFAS. While they may take more than a swipe with a paper towel to clean, most don’t take much more than that and score very well in our ease-of-use cleaning tests. And some, like cast iron and carbon steel skillets, develop a seasoned patina over time that can become like a nonstick coating.

To find some good alternatives, read “Best Frying Pans If You Want to Avoid ‘Forever Chemicals’.”
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Bnei Berak 10


Post Sun, Apr 02 2023, 2:46 am
Stainless steel cast iron and similar.
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Post Sun, Apr 02 2023, 8:45 pm
Consumer Reports recommended 2 brands, "Red Copper" is one of them.


Does anyone have this brand?
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