Is A Scratched Non-Stick Pan Unsafe For Cooking?

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Last Updated on May 2, 2022 by Share My Kitchen

There seem to be two camps of people when it comes to non-stick pans. There are some people who throw out a Teflon pan once it gets a scratch, regardless of how small it is. And there are those who will use a Teflon pan with so many scratches that it looks like someone used a belt sander on it. This post sorts out the danger vs the safety of a non-stick pan. 

Non-stick Pans’ Cooking Safety

According to the San Francisco Gate, the Teflon coating that makes nonstick cookware has been around for more than 60 years, and people are concerned about possible contamination of their food with it for almost as long.

What starches a non-stick pan

It is a valid concern seeing as metal utensils and cleaning pads can easily scratch Teflon chips. And the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which was used to make Teflon, has also been linked with cancer in laboratory mice. It’s not something anyone wants in their scrambled eggs. So, is the scratched-up pan you purchased three years ago going to endanger you?

Is A Scratched Non-Stick Pan Unsafe For Cooking?

It’s is not harmful to your health to use a scratched non-stick pan. Nonstick pans are a great choice because they require less oil and can be used to make a quick meal. Plus, they are much easier to clean up than traditional metal pans.

Is Teflon healthy to use?

Keep in mind that Teflon is one of the greatest contributions of science to cooking, but it is still not something that people would want in their good. Luckily, even if Teflon flakes do make their way into your food, it does not mean that you are in mortal danger.

Non-Stick Pan and PFOA

Scientific American reports that most nonstick pan manufacturers have eliminated PFOA from their Teflon and any small pieces that you might eat will pass through your digestive tract. Besides that, if your pan is old and coated with PFOA-processed Teflon there is still some good news. According to Joe Schwarcz is the director of McGill University’s Office for Science & Society that the dose of toxins is what causes poisoning (via The Los Angeles Times).

PFOA Testing

Schwarcz also conducted an experiment using a badly scratched pan to test its PFOA levels. There is evidence that the pan did not produce anything near the PFOA level that would cause an unfortunate and adverse effect in even a small 20-pound child. He confirmed that PFOA exposure from a Teflon-coated pan was insignificant.

The only downside in using a scratched non-stick pan is that it may not be as non-stick as it once was.

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