Teflon and Maraschino Cherries {Going Greener}

Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, AKA Teflon

Almost every family has at least one Teflon pan in their kitchen! My parents always used Teflon pans when I was growing up. And I’ve always had a few also! When I got married, my husband told me (while using my favorite Teflon pan) that it was bad to use Teflon. He said that it breaks down and gets into the food (especially as the pan gets older). I had no idea, but I didn’t quit using it altogether. I was aware that you shouldn’t use metal utensils in the pan, because it can scrape off the coating while cooking.

So today, I was going to my local grocery store to get a free Thomas Professional Cookware piece. [The store is running a promotion where customers can collect stamps for every $10 spent at the store to redeem on this cookware.] I finally had enough stamps to redeem my first piece of cookware. I was planning on getting a non-stick stir-fry pan with a lid. I’ve always wanted one and I was super excited. Unfortunately, when I went to the store, I saw that it was made out of teflonTeflon and in the spirit of making my home safer, I decided against it. I got a stainless steel sauce pan (with lid) instead.

I was a little bummed though, so I started vigorously researching Teflon and why it’s not good for you. What I found astounded me, and I honestly cannot believe that it is still being produced and sold. Here’s some of the information I found:

  • At high temperatures, Teflon emits toxic fumes that can kill pet birds (interesting…) and cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Many people hear this and choose to only use these pans on low heat, but in as little as 5 minutes on the stove, Teflon can exceed these temperatures.
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is used to make Teflon. Studies show that PFOA is present in nearly every person’s blood in the United States. [Source 1]
  • People with high exposures to PFOA are at a higher risk of several forms of cancer. [Source 1]
  • DuPont, the (accidental) creators of Teflon, have been fined by the EPA for failure to disclose the harm PFOA can cause. They’ve also been sued for millions of dollars for health complications and birth defects resulting from PFOA contamination.

Even though the amount of PFOA exposure is relatively small from using Teflon pans, that doesn’t make it safe. That is the basis people are going by – that it’s not enough to harm people. I beg to disagree. I would prefer to have a harder to clean stainless steel or cast iron pan than expose myself and my family to these dangerous chemicals!

Teflon is not only found in non-stick pans. Teflon is used in carpets, fabric protectors, pizza boxes, microwaveable popcorn bags, and many more products. So keep your eyes peeled for Teflon, PTFE, PFOA, and think about whether or not you want to keep using these products.

I will only be using stainless steel and cast iron for the stove top from now on! How about you?

Maraschino Cherries

I’ve heard the warnings on maraschino cherries, but have chosen to be stubborn because I love them so much. But not anymore! Here’s what Wikipedia says about them:

In their modern form, the cherries are first preserved in a brine solution usually containing sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach the fruit, then soaked in a suspension of food coloring (common red food dye, FD&C Red 40), sugar syrup, and other components. [Source 2]

cherriesSulfur dioxide is considered safe for human consumption… but how safe is it, really? Calcium chloride has a HUGE list of possible side effects when ingested, and it even contain small amounts of metals. [Source 3] I know we aren’t drinking it straight, but I still don’t want those chemicals in my body! I’m trying to learn more about the effects of preservatives and plan on getting away from them. I think I’ll try these homemade maraschino cherries for the holidays!

That’s my {Going Greener} plan for the day: getting rid of Teflon and Maraschino Cherries!

[Source 1 – Cancer.org]

[Source 2 – Wikipedia.com]

[Source 3 – Wikipedia.com]

 

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