Is Teflon Safe? The Truth About Nonstick Cookware

Is Teflon Safe? The Truth About Nonstick Cookware

Written By: Kristi Caruana

Many assume that if it's on the market, it must be safe, but the reality is far more alarming. Today, we're delving into an essential topic that affects our everyday lives- the health impacts of what kind of cookware we use.

PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals characterized by their strong carbon-fluorine bond. This bond is what gives PFAS their unique properties, including resistance to heat, oil, water, and chemical degradation. These properties have made them the primary addition to a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing/makeup, firefighting foam, food packaging, and more. 

Did you know that over 9,000 chemicals are classified as PFAS? These chemicals are the key to creating nonstick surfaces in cookware. Due to their strong chemical bonds, PFAS don't break down easily in the environment or body, prompting their well-known nickname of "Forever Chemicals". When ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, PFAS have been shown to accumulate in various organs and tissue, including the liver, kidneys, and blood. In fact, research has found that PFAS are present in the bodies of 99% of Americans, finding them in everything from blood to urine to breast milk. 

One of the most well-known PFAS is Teflon, which contains polytetrafluoroethylene. Fluoride is an essential component of these PFAS chemicals and helps contribute to their stability and nonstick properties. Fluoride specifically, is also an additive to many consumer products on the market today, despite growing research strongly associating fluoride exposure to neurological defects, cognitive decline and disease, endocrine disruption, and skeletal deformities. 

Studies suggest that exposure to PFAS chemicals leads to liver toxicity, impaired immunity, thyroid damage hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, and even an increased risk of certain cancers. 

Due to the recognized environmental and health risks that are associated with PFAS, many countries have taken measures to ban or phase out these chemicals. In America it took manufacturer's over 40 years to remove PFOA, another PFAS chemical, from their products after decades of research proving its toxicity. Whereas other countries have proactive policies for consumers and contaminants in products, the US has a strongly reactive response, one that is slow to act and quick to defend toxins. In the US, our institutions would rather set allowable limits of toxins in our products instead of remove them for use entirely. As consumers it's imperative that we stay informed about potential risks so we can make informed choices about the products we use. 


When it comes to PFAS, opting for safer cookware alternatives and understanding potential sources of fluoride exposure contributes to our overall well-being. Being informed empowers us to make the best choices for our health and the environment! Let's prioritize safer cookware alternatives and spread the word about the risks associated with Teflon/nonstick cookware.

Together, we can create a healthier and more sustainable future!

Cookware Swaps For Home

Cast Iron: 

Cast iron cookware develops a natural nonstick surface over time through seasoning (adding a layer of oil and heating it). This nonstick surface becomes effective with continued use, reducing the need for added fats and oils! When properly cared for, quality cast iron can last for generations, making it a cost-effective and sustainable choice. It also has excellent natural heat retention and distribution, ensuring even cooking. Cooking with cast iron also increases the iron content of your food, which is especially beneficial for those that need more of this trace mineral. 

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Lodge Cast Iron


Finex Seasoned with organic flax oil 

Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel is relatively easy to clean and maintain, and it's dishwasher safe in most cases (unlike cast iron). It's a durable option that can withstand heavy use, is resistant to scratches and dents, and doesn't react to acidic or alkaline foods (like cast iron does). 

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All Clad Stainless Steel


Lagostina Italian Stainless Steel

Homi Chef



Ceramic/Enameled Cast Iron:

Ceramic coated cookware offers a nonstick surface without the use of PFAS! The naturally smooth surface makes it easy to clean with many modern options being dishwasher safe!

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Caraway Home

Le Creuset 






Glass is recyclable and doesn't contribute to harmful emissions when heated, making it an amazing alternative! Glass is naturally inert and non-reactive, ensuring that no harmful chemicals are leaching into your food during the cooking process.

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Anchor Hocking

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