What is the issue with PFAS and frying pans?
Frying pans and cooking pots with a non-stick coating may contain PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or fluorinated substances for short), some of which are regarded as harmful to health. However, there is no reason to be concerned about problematic or harmful chemicals if you use your cookware according to the manufacturer’s advice.
Pots and pans with a non-stick coating are popular with many cooks. The coating makes it easy to flip a pancake and allows a fried egg to slip easily out of the frying pan. It also means that you can use less water and frying fat, and the coating’s resistance to food debris spares you a lot of pan scrubbing.
However, the practical properties of the non-stick coating, otherwise known by brandnames such as Teflon and Slip-Let®, have given rise to a lot of debate. This is because the coating contains fluorinated substances (PFASs or just PFAS), which in some cases are not advisable in products, as they can accumulate in the human body and the environment, where they can have harmful effects.
According to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the Danish Consumer Council, the fluorinated substances present in the non-stick coating on cookware are not transferred to cooked foods as long as you use your pots and pans according to the manufacturer’s advice.
“We want our customers to make an active choice on an informed basis when shopping for cookware. This is why we offer a wide range of frying pans spanning everything from ceramic coated to Heat Control coated. From non-stick to pans with no coating at all. We believe that this is the best option for our customers, as it allows them to make their own personal choice in terms of cookware performance and health factors,” says Jan Engelbrecht, CEO of Eva Solo.
The guide below explains the main topics in the debate about fluorinated substances and frying pans. This is followed by a guide to which cookware to go for if you want a frying pan free from PFASs.
A number of brandnames associated with cookware cover various chemical and non-chemical combinations, all of which feature a surface texture or coating to ensure that food does not stick, and which make it possible to use minimal fat for cooking.
Slip-Let® is Eva Solo’s registered brandname for a coating, and is exclusive to Eva products. Similar products on the market use brandnames like Teflon, SilverStone and Durit, etc. for non-stick/teflon coatings.
The Slip-Let® brand refers to products with and without PTFE. One example is our ceramic-coated products, which also come under the Slip-Let® brand, even though they are PFAS-free.
What are fluorinated substances?
Fluorinated substances, properly known chemically as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and abbreviated to PFASs or PFAS, is a class of many synthetically manufactured carbon-fluorine compounds.
All PFASs are heat-resistant and also repel both water and fat. These properties have made PFASs a popular component for coating a huge range of products that need to be water-proof or stain-resistant. Since the 1950s, PFASs have been present in everything from cosmetics and rainwear to food packaging and dental floss.
PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is the abbreviation for the best-known and most widely-used PFAS. One of the many uses of PTFE is as a component in the coating on pots and pans.
The issue with PFASs is that they are incredibly stable and hardly biodegrade at all. PFASs are now known to be present as pollutants in animal products, plants and water, and can therefore end up in our food and body, where they are suspected as having worrying health effects.
Good advice regarding Slip-Let®
- When using cookware coated with Slip-Let®, use non-scratch silicone-coated or nylon cooking utensils.
- Avoid using Slip-Let®-coated products for storing left-over food for any length of time. Acid in the cooked food attacks the surface of the cookware, which can damage the Slip-Let® coating.
- Products with a Slip-Let® coating are dishwasher-safe (except for the Eva Trio Dura Line). They can also be cleaned with a soft brush/sponge and washing up liquid. It is important to clean the pan properly after every use, as it may otherwise build up a layer of charred animal protein.
- We recommend following the instructions for use that come with your cookware.
Is it safe to use cookware with a non-stick coating?
The short answer is yes.
There is no cause for concern if your frying pan has a non-stick coating and you take care to use it as normal and according to the manufacturer’s advice.
Tests by the Danish Consumer Council and the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration show that PFASs are so well bonded by PTFE in a non-stick coating that the fluorinated substances are not transferred to food during cooking.
“If you use your frying pan in the normal way and don’t overheat it to a point where it becomes smoking hot, then our test indicates that there is no cause for concern about PFASs being transferred to food,” read the statement made by Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager with the chemicals section of the Danish Consumer Council to the national newspaper Jyllandsposten.
The non-stick coating on a pan may, however, be permanently damaged if over-heated. In extreme cases, the coating will actually bubble up. Frying is normally done at no more than 230 °C, but if the coating is exposed to temperatures of 260 °C or higher, unwanted fluorinated substances may be released into the food and air.
To prevent over-heating, our stainless steel range can be chosen with a integrated Induction Heat Control. The special steel alloy sealed inside the base of the frying pan ensures that it cannot be heated to more than 230 °C when used on an induction hob. The pan’s heating function is simply disabled if the temperature reaches the limit. The advantage of this is that neither the coating nor the food can be heat damaged.
We recommend following the instructions for use that come with your cookware. Proper use will also extend the life of your pan.
At Eva Solo, we want our customers to feel confident in using our products with the reassurance that they always meet the requirements for products that come into contact with food.
All of our products are tested as required by applicable legislation. The test laboratories we use are all accredited under EU/Danish food safety legislation, and the products we sell are compliant with all the applicable requirements. In addition, all of our products are compliant with the European Union’s chemicals restrictions regulation, REACH.
WHAT SHOULD I GO FOR IF I WANT A FRYING PAN WITH NO FLUORINATED SUBSTANCES (PFAS-FREE)?
If you are looking for cookware with no coating at all, you can opt for any item in the recently launched Honeycomb line of stainless steel pans with their special honeycombed/waffled surface pattern. The textured base ensures that foods do not stick to the pan and has excellent frying and searing properties – without using any coating and PFASs at all.
If you are looking for pots and pans with the benefits of a Slip-Let® non-stick coating, but want to avoid PFASs, a product with a ceramic coating is the ideal option. The ceramic coating is made of a very strong material that is heat-resistant up to 400 °C and is highly scratch-resistant. This gives the cookware greater durability for daily use and extends its life in the long run.
The following table shows you which of our cookware series that doesn't contain PFAS.
PFAS free cookware
Primary material: Stainless steel
Primary material: Copper, aluminum, stainless steel
Primary material: Stainless steel