This is topic How bad is Teflon?? in forum Our stupid lives at The Geek Culture Forums.

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Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on December 30, 2010, 02:59:
____ This is posted to stir debate.

____ I know my Grand Mother cooked on Cast Iron, Getting the Mrs to give up her Teflon?? Thats going to be tough.
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on December 30, 2010, 04:00:
I don't understand this sentace

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction last year found that both PFOA and PFOS dramatically increased the odds of infertility from 70 to 134 percent; PFOA was linked to a 60 to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.

is that the range of increase? How is the top number above 100, 134 percent means that something havppens 134 times out of 100. What. non conception. This makes no sense.

And this sentance..
Every time you cook with them[teflon pans], you inhale these chemicals, and the food in the pan absorbs them too, turning every home-cooked meal toxic.

This is just horrible reporting. what is her definition of toxicity. certainly it is not tha accepted definition.

This is plainly and simply fear mongering from the left!

Teflon ios safe and non toxic, if you raise its temperature too high, it will degrade ( 200°C- 250°C). It is unwise to do this.

Exposeure to the degradation products of teflon cause flu like symptoms. You you burnt your teflon pan and then had flu like symtoms, you recieved a toxic dose, if not, you'll be fine. The reduced fat in your diet probably has more health benefits than the health problem cause by ppb concetrations of PFTE. (wikipedia)

I do have a old cast iron pan I use for cooking on special occasions and it really does require a significant amount of oil to keep things from sticking.

Many people in my generation have never know cooking in non-teflon pans and it would really surprise many of them how much oil is used in cooking with them.
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on December 30, 2010, 06:34:
_____ Okay if something doubles is that not 200%

_____ I used to have some porcelain on cast Iron cookware, me thinks that the Mrs thought that they were too heavy, there is supposed to be some health benefits from cooking with Iron, Increased iron uptake. Therefore better hemoglobin.
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on December 30, 2010, 06:45:
Originally posted by TheMoMan:
_____ Okay if something doubles is that not 200%

Yes that is clear, but where does the 70% come from? the odds of infertility incresed from 70% to 134 %. Why does this test group have already 70% odds of infertility?
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on December 30, 2010, 07:30:
____ Ash you must know by now that "reporters" know nothing about the topic that they are reporting about. Then the editors know even less, so my news flash Most news stories are bunk!! Written by someone with no knowledge of the topic, and edited by some one with even less knowledge about the topic. However somewhere in the story is one little shred of truth.
Posted by GrumpySteen (Member # 170) on December 30, 2010, 09:25:
Ashitaka wrote:
Yes that is clear, but where does the 70% come from? the odds of infertility incresed from 70% to 134 %. Why does this test group have already 70% odds of infertility?

The author of the article is an idiot who neither reads nor writes well.

From the linked study:
longer TTP [time to pregnancy] was associated with higher maternal levels of PFOA and PFOS (P < 0.001). Compared with women in the lowest exposure quartile, the adjusted odds of infertility increased by 70–134 and 60–154% among women in the higher three quartiles of PFOS and PFOA, respectively.

So the women with the highest levels of perfluorinated chemicals took longer to get pregnant than the women with the lowest levels. The 70% value is the lowest increase among the women with the highest levels of PFOS and the 154% number is the highest increase among the women with the highest levels of PFOA. There's no particular reason to choose those specific values, but I guess you choose randomly when you don't understand what you're writing about.

But wait... reading the whole report finds this gem:

We did not have information on some important determinants of TTP, including frequency and timing of intercourse, and sperm quality. Sperm quality could potentially contribute to the associations between maternal PFC levels and TTP, if these compounds impact sperm quality and if PFC levels in male and female partners are similar, which is likely to some extent since the couples may share some aspects of lifestyle and around 99% subjects in this sub-cohort had a spouse or partner.

The researchers left some very important factors unchecked and they simply assumed that any difference in sperm quality between the men was due to perfluorinated chemicals. To me, this strongly suggests that the researchers were biased toward a specific conclusion. The researchers didn't look at relevant data, jumped to arbitrary conclusions that support their point of view.

There are similar problems with the other links. Correlation is presented as causation, conclusions are jumped to, animal studies are assumed to apply directly to humans and theories are misrepresented as facts.

This isn't to say that exposure to perfluorinated chemicals doesn't cause health problems. I'm quite sure they do when a safe limit is exceeded (and nobody knows what constitutes a safe limit). The reality, however, is that life expectancy has gone up in the developed world, not down. If these chemicals are so deadly, why didn't life expectancy go down when we all started eating fast food and microwave popcorn?

And this bit of fear mongering:
Most important, however, is ditching your non-stick cookware, because most brands are a MAJOR source of PFC's, particularly PFOA. The moment you heat them, they start to liberate fluoride vapors that are so toxic they will kill small birds!


You mean the moment I start heating my pan, it hits 400°F instantly? Awesome! No more pre-heating pans for me!

ahem: The lowest temperature at which nonstick coatings have been reported to kill birds in a peer-reviewed study is 396°F (202°C) and It was found that when the particulate matter was filtered from the offgas products before the rats were exposed, the mortality was reduced to zero

Particles of PFOA that are the problem, not "fluoride vapors" (which is a huge category of materials since fluorine will react with damn near anything) and those are only produced when cookware is heated to a temperature that destroys the non-stick coating.
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on December 30, 2010, 10:04:
____ Everyone we have had a good debate on what is science and what is not. Dr. Mercola appears to have it in for the Teflon crowd, but the comments at Huffington Post about his article are over the top, here we discuss his methods and if it is science, there it is more flame wars.

____ By the way he has been on Dr. OZ. promoting his brand of science, again a fear monger.
Posted by The Famous Druid (Member # 1769) on December 30, 2010, 12:52:
I never read anything about Science (and especially Health) in the Huff Post, they're pure hippy/new-age crap.
Posted by Serenak (Member # 2950) on January 02, 2011, 20:34:
Oh yes Teflon is a killer.... MY ASS - heat it to destruction and it gives of some toxins - I expect you can say that about almost any burning substance...

And yes if you cook in non coated iron pans you need to use a lot of oil/fat to stop stuff sticking, in my empirical experience for amount of oil required in descending order we would be looking at

Non Stick (Teflon coated)
Stainless steel
Cast Iron
(this list assumes pans of decent quality... see below)

You can of course buy the vitreous enamel coated pans. I have never owned or used one so I can't put it in my list by personal experience, however I would take a guess at it being either just above or below good stainless steel. Aluminium pans seem to be a thing of the past (I remember my grandmother having them and possibly my mother when I was a small child) but these days the only aluminium pans you see are the very cheap Teflon coated ones... and they are basically crap and warp out of shape in no time at all (and often have cheap low grade coatings that wear out or come off in a similarly short period).

I have no doubt that low quality pans of any material are worse than good quality ones, and in my experience low quality "non stick" coatings are rubbish anyway.

Basically these days I confine myself to decent quality "teflon" coated or stainless steel pans - everything else in my experience is a false economy...

(Disclaimer: I have, of course, occasionally purchased the cheapest of cheap pans for such uses as barbecues, kids camping cook outs, etc. with the deliberate intention of using for that and then bunging in the recycling due to being "buggered up")
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on January 02, 2011, 23:57:
I have a nice expensive set of pots and pans ( copper and steel plus one cast iron, all non-teflon. Also, I always have one teflon pan. I buy a mid range quality pan and use it for a year then throw it in the recycling. That way, I never have to worry about scratching an expensive teflon pan.
Posted by Xanthine (Member # 736) on January 03, 2011, 14:46:
Serenak, I have an enameled and a stainless steel stockpot. They're equal in terms of performance and stickiness, but the enamel can't go in the dishwasher.

My mother thought Teflon was for wimps and we didn't have it growing up. And though I disagree with the wimp thing, I don't have any Teflon cookware either - the last time I needed to buy pots and pans, I was too poor for good Teflon (and the cheap stuff is crap), and I'm not going to buy any new pots and pans until what I've got wears out.
Posted by DoctorWho (Member # 392) on January 03, 2011, 19:02:
I refuse to cook with Teflon coated posts and pans. My cookware is all aluminum and most of it is Magnalite. I find them better for heat transfer than cast iron and they don't rust. The thing is most people do not know how to properly season pots and pans, hence food sticks and you have a mess to clean up. If one properly seasons their pots and cooks with the correct amount of oil, then sticking is not an issue. Also many people these days are so worried about bad fats and cholesterol that they forget about the good oils like olive, safflower, canola and peanut oils. Yes they are still fats but humans do need some fats in their diets and these are the good ones.
Posted by Ashitaka (Member # 4924) on January 04, 2011, 00:46:
well, If I am going to cook fancy, I use my nice pans and pots, and i agree a little fat is god for you and your food won't stick if you do it properly.


Teflon pans are great for when you are in a hurry and want to cook something with a thick sauce like a curry. That is because you can use soap and water right away when you are done cooking and then in 30 seconds the pan is clean. if you have steel or cast iron, you don't want to use soap, so that usually mean filling the pan with water, heating it a bit, pouring out the waterm then wiping it down with some oil. This all take alot longer.
Posted by Callipygous (Member # 2071) on January 04, 2011, 01:53:
Originally posted by Serenak:

And yes if you cook in non coated iron pans you need to use a lot of oil/fat to stop stuff sticking,

Not necessarily true, if you do it right, though admittedly frying is one of the trickier kitchen skills.

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