Friday, March 18, 2011

Teflon Pans Cause Cancer? Rumor and Truth

If you have heard rumors that your Teflon pans will give you cancer, relax. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, a suspected carcinogen) is used to manufacture Teflon, but there is none present in the finished products. While the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is rightfully concerned about PFOA in the environment, you can continue to use your Teflon-lined pans without fear.
However, non-stick pans may release other toxic particles if they are used at very high heats, so they are not appropriate for deep-fat frying, broiling, grilling or similar high- temperature cooking methods.

I recommend avoiding this type of cooking anyway, because high heat and browning can form carcinogens in foods regardless of the type of cookware you use.
Browning foods that contain starches or sugars causes sugars to stick to protein to form advanced glycated end products, also known as AGEs. Burning fat when you grill or broil meats or other foods causes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's). Bothe AGEs and PAHs are potent known carcinogens. When you use water-based cooking methods, (steaming, simmering or boiling) that do not involve browning, you do not form AGEs or PAHs. That's why the most healthful foods are those that are prepared with liquids or eaten raw.
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Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at
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