Much Ado About Teflon

I was at Winners/Home Sense with my friend Megan a couple weeks ago and spotted a lovely red pan, made in Italy. I am trying to replace all of my Teflon pans. I did some research and found a good product review list on that I carry around with me. This one, called Tecna, was not on the list, but it looked well made and appeared to have ceramic coating on the inside. My impression was reinforced by the little icon on the label that said something about ceramic. The label also spoke of three layers of something revolutionary, but it didn’t say exactly what.

“What do you think?” I asked Megan, who is a great cook and presumably knows a thing or two about pans. “The Italians know how to make pans,” she said. I bought it. It was only $20 and the Good Housekeeping site said a good pan didn’t have to cost as much as a trip to Italy.

Not exactly the pan in question, but as close as I could find on their website.
Not exactly the pan in question, but as close as I could find on their website.

When I got home, I decided to do a little more research. I went to the website, a company called Lumenflon makes it. In the detailed product catalogue, I learned that what I thought was a ceramic coating may not be, in fact, it probably was Teflon. The icon merely indicated that it was fine to use on ceramic and glass stovetops. I emailed the company to inquire further about the three layers and what they contained, but heard nothing back.

In another downloadable document on their website, I read an “informative campaign” on non-stick coatings. The company says there is no need to worry, that there is no scientific basis for the fuss over Teflon – that it is much ado about nothing because the dangerous Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) has been removed. PTFE (or Teflon) is safe they say, even the US Environmental Agency and European food safety regulators deem it so. This is my favourite quote: “…particles that may chip off the non-stick coatings, even if swallowed by accident, are not harmful for human health. In fact, as they are chemically inert, they don’t undergo any transformation, but pass unaltered through the organism, as a food fibre, thus being harmless for human health.”

Despite all the scientific claims by the trustworthy Italians, I decided to return the pan. Better stick to my list.

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