Today, we are continuing our discussion on reducing toxins. Some of those really detrimental chemicals and toxins that find our way into our homes. We’re specifically going to be talking about non-stick cookware. The detrimental effects that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware can have and some of the alternatives you can look at.

I thought that this subject was so relevant because here at Natural Super Kids, we focus a lot on food. Getting good food into our kids, getting more whole foods, more nutrient-dense foods for our kids. One of the areas that’s often overlooked is the equipment that we use preparing this food in. And whether that is as healthy and safe as it could be.

Listen in as I talk about non-stick cookware facts and healthy alternatives for your families:

  • The dangers of these chemicals such as PFOA, PFA and those that are in Teflon products
  • Negative implications linking these chemicals to ADHD in children, early onset puberty, delayed growth and development, infertility, cancers and more
  • A resource excerpt from about PFOAs being classed as a likely carcinogenic or cancer-causing 
  • Using alternative cookware such as stainless steel, ceramic, stone, wrought iron and more

Episode Links:


Hello, welcome back to the podcast!  

Today, we are continuing our discussion on reducing toxins. Some of those really detrimental chemicals and toxins that find our way into our homes. We’re specifically going to be talking about non-stick cookware. The detrimental effects that the chemicals used in non-stick cookware can have and some of the alternatives you can look at.  

I really wanted to cover this subject because here at Natural Super Kids, we focus a lot on food. Getting good food into our kids, getting more whole foods, more nutrient-dense foods into our kids. One of the areas that’s often overlooked is the equipment that we preparing this food in. And whether that is as healthy and safe as it could be. Now, this is a continued discussion that we’re having about healthy home.

A couple of episodes ago in Episode 17, I interviewed Tammy from Building Biology Mama. We talked about creating a healthy home and that’s a really good overview for you to go back and listen to. Then last week in Episode 19, we dove into fragrances and why you want to be avoiding synthetic fragrances in your home. So put those two episodes on your to-do list, if this is a subject that you want to know more about. 

A few weeks ago, we went away and stayed in an Airbnb. The fry pan at the Airbnb had this flaky nonstick coating on it. We did not use that and it just kind of reminded me that I needed to talk about this again. I’ve talked about this in the past, I’ve done a blog post and a Facebook Live on this. We talk about it fairly often in the Natural Super Kids Klub but I wanted to cover it on the podcast. Because I think it’s one of the simple switches that we can do that has a positive effect. Not just on our family’s health, but on the environment and the health of the environment, as well. As I’ll talk about a lot of these chemicals in non-stick cookware, really damaging to our environment.

It was also a reminder, that little note to self: Take my own fry pan when we go and stay in Airbnb’s in the future. Because they’re not kind of renewed often enough. They’re old and flaky, and that’s where they can become really damaging. Also, there was a discussion in the Klub recently, a member had posted a picture of her son’s new school uniform that contained Teflon. As you would know, Teflon is a brand name for some of these non-stick chemicals or non-stick pans that we use. It’s a reminder also that these chemicals are not just used in cooking pans and things like that. They’re also used in clothing, anything waterproof or water repellent, or stain resistant, has potentially got Teflon in it.

This particular member’s son’s school uniform had a big tag. Sort of advertising the fact that it had Teflon in it for better stain resistance. So we want to be looking out for these kinds of chemicals. Not just in our cookware but in clothing and anything that’s sort of waterproof, water-repellent, stain-repellent. These chemicals unfortunately have also been used in the foams that firefighters use to put out fires. And I cringe to think about how many of these have been in our environment. Or we used in our environment with all of the fires we had here in Australia early on in 2020. So it’s a big problem and it is definitely improving.

One of the most problematic chemicals that has been uncovered is one called PFOA – Perfluorooctanoic Acid. This particular chemical has been phased out from the early 2000s, depending on sort of where you live. I think it’s been slowly phased out since 2013 in the US and a little bit earlier here in Australia. So that is definitely I guess a step in the right direction. A lot of these companies such as Teflon and other companies that are manufacturing non-stick cookware are now using other chemicals known as PFAS. Potentially, still problematic for our health, maybe just as problematic.

This is often the way, when there was the big kind of uncover of BPA in plastics. A lot of plastic companies transferred to a different chemical, which is just as problematic for our health. Unfortunately, the phasing out of PFOAs is a step in the right direction. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to worry about these chemicals in our non-stick cookware anymore. So my general advice is to avoid non-stick cookware where you can. And for a lot of families, this needs to be a general process. We don’t all have the budget to go and completely replace all of our pans and our baking equipment. But that’s what we eventually sort of want to move towards. 

One of the big problems with these PFA chemicals is that they don’t break down and they accumulate in both the environment and in our bodies. Scientists have touted them as forever chemicals because they don’t break down and that is a real problem. I know, there have been studies done both here in Australia and in the US on testing the amount of these chemicals in the bloodstream of people. And the majority of people, I’m talking like, 98, 90% of people have these chemicals within their bloodstream. It’s an ongoing problem.

I want to get into some of the health implications of these chemicals. But I think it’s really important to know that it’s not just for our own individual health that we need to move away from these chemicals. We definitely don’t want to support the use of them in products that we are purchasing, because of the environmental impact that they have as well. These chemicals that are contained within non-stick cookware have a whole array of negative health implications. There have been studies that link these chemicals with ADHD in children. Of course, ADHD is a multifactorial condition but your child’s exposure to non-stick chemicals is something that you can control.

So we really want to be thinking about those things that we have control over as parents. And these non-stick chemicals in our kitchen is definitely one of those things. If it’s linked with ADHD, we can also make the assumption that on a smaller scale, these nonstick chemicals are going to be linked to mood. Behavioural challenges and conditions in our kids, and this is something that we want to try and avoid obviously as parents. Non-stick chemicals can also be hormone disrupting chemicals. This affects the whole family’s health and can be linked to problems such as early onset puberty, delayed growth and development. Infertility, reproductive conditions, obesity, and even cancers.

PFOA is particularly have been identified as obesogens. Chemicals that stimulate the production and storage of fat in the body. This is obviously not a good thing to expose your family to, when it comes to carcinogens. I want to just delve into PFOAs specifically because non-stick pans can contain a whole heap of different chemicals. So it’s really hard to go into each of those chemicals. But you know, worst case scenario with the PFOAs, they have been classed as a likely carcinogenic or likely cancer-causing. This is according to and I just want to read a few bits and pieces directly from that website. 

“Many studies in recent years have looked at the possibility of PFOA causing cancer. Studies in lab animals have found exposure to PFOA increases the risk of certain tumors of the liver, testicles, mammary glands, or breasts and pancreas in these animals. In general, well-conducted studies in animals do a good job of predicting which exposures cause cancer in people. But it isn’t clear if the way this chemical affects cancer risk in animals would be the same in humans.

There’s also been studies done on humans that have looked at people exposed to PFOA from living near or working in chemical plants. Some of these studies have suggested an increased risk of testicular cancer with increased PFOA exposure. Studies have also suggested possible links to kidney cancer and thyroid cancer. But the increase in risk has been small and could have been due to chance. Other studies have suggested possible links to other cancers, including prostate, bladder and ovarian cancer. But not all studies have found such links and more research is needed to clarify these findings.” 

So I don’t know about you. But I don’t want to be taking a chance with a chemical that I can easily avoid, that could potentially increase my family’s risk of cancer down the track. And so this is specifically to do with PFOA which I said has been phased out, but a lot of the chemicals that have replaced it. The PFAs in general, have very similar negative health outcomes, more studies need to be done on this. So I always like to err on the side of caution when it comes to these manufactured manmade chemicals and toxins. You know, we really want to avoid as many of them as we can, because there is enough evidence. As far as I’m concerned, these chemicals are detrimental. 

Of course, manufacturers of these non-stick products argue that the dangers of non-stick cookware and pans are exaggerated. That a lot of these dangerous chemicals are used as part of the manufacturing process. But there is little left by the time we’re getting the pans into our homes. We also know that Teflon and other non-stick fumes can cause symptoms such as headaches, fever and muscle pains. Directly from the fumes that are caused from these kinds of pans, and they’ve even been known to kill pet birds that are in the kitchen. Now, this is a very high temperature where the fumes become problematic.

Again, as I said, I like to err on the side of caution. You don’t want to be spending your time cooking or purchasing organic food and cooking nutritious whole foods for your family on a potentially toxic pan. So what are our alternatives? There are a lot of alternatives. This is why I wanted to talk about this because it’s fairly easy to move away from non-stick cookware. Depending on which cookware you are looking to replace you can look at stainless steel cookware, which are great alternatives to non-stick saucepans. Ceramic and stone cookware, which you can often find as alternatives for baking dishes that might have nonstick coatings on them.

Glass cookwares. Heat-proof glass such as Pyrex are ideal for baking and storing food in as well. Then there’s cast iron cookware which is one of the best options for pans. However, many people avoid using them or are put off using them because of the weight. And the need for seasoning to make them non-stick. They tend to be quite heavy and need a little bit of maintenance to keep that non-stick action going, in terms of seasoning the pans. I wanted to share a little bit about what I use and I’m sure a lot of you have heard of Solidteknics, the brand. They are absolutely brilliant. I’ve been using these pans for a good couple of years now.

I started off with a small iron pan to see how it went. I loved it so much that I threw away my old pan and started cooking in just this small little pan in batches. Since then, I’ve also purchased the larger 30 centimetre pan. These Solidteknics pans, they are Australian-made, which I love. They are a lot lighter than your traditional cast iron cookware and that’s because they’re made of wrought iron. Wrought iron is half the weight of cast iron and it can last for generations if cared for properly. So you do pay a premium for these pans, but they will last you forever. I mean, I don’t know about you, but before I was kind of aware of all of this. We used to purchase the non-stick pans, they would need to be replaced every couple of years.

Solidteknics pans are sort of built to last for generations. So I’m telling my kids that, you know, they will be using these pans with their families later down the track. Hopefully, their kids will be using them for their family. So it’s well worth the investment that you’re paying. I’m not talking about crazy, crazy amounts. My first small 15-centimetre pan was around $120. And the larger 30cm family pan, which is the one I predominantly use now is around $190. So yes, it is pricey for a pan if you’re comparing them to the cheaper non-stick varieties that you might find at the department stores. But when you add it all up and know that this is going to last you for generations and at least your lifetime, it is well worth that investment. 

One of the concerns about switching to something like the Solidteknics pans is the amount of time that it’s going to take to maintain these pans. Keep them non-stick and I just want to say that I do very little to my pans. I season them when I first got them. So there’s a process of seasoning that you need to go through to kind of create that natural non-stick surface and to really care for your pans. That just involves adding some fat to the pan and popping it into the oven a few times. And quite honestly, I’ve never done any seasoning since. My secret is to use plenty of fats and oils in your cooking. Now, this is one of the reasons why non-stick pans became so popular.

One, obviously because of the convenience of having a non-stick pan, and things not sticking. The second one is that, they were advertised to require less fats and oils in cooking, which was so-called “healthier” for us. I often forget that this is still, a lot of people’s mindset is that fats and oils are bad for us. If we’re using healthy fats and oils in our pans, I’m not talking about loads of fats and oils, but a generous amount of fats and oils when you’re cooking. I find, keeps the pan seasoned really well. And the other thing is, you don’t want to be scrubbing the pan. The black surface that forms on these Solidteknics pans is actually good, that gives it that non-stick sort of property. And so you definitely don’t want to be scrubbing that off.

Just a simple wipe, they don’t even recommend detergent. A little water and a cloth to wipe it off worked really well for me. So I highly, highly recommend these pans, especially if you’re in Australia. I’m not sure about the availability of them worldwide but they’re a fantastic company. They’re bringing out more and more kind of options in terms of baking and dishes. And I think they’ve just released their first cooking utensil. So that’s really exciting as well.

Just a little side note, we want to try and move away from using non-stick coatings in our utensils and plastic utensils as well. So, a good old good wooden spoon or stainless steel utensils are what I generally recommend. I am keen to try out the Solidteknics utensils too. Especially again if they’re going to last longer, then I think it would be a good investment. I’m going to add a link over to store where you can check out these Solidteknics pans. Please check our show notes if you are interested about Solidteknics. I really hope that this episode has encouraged you to move away from any non-stick cookware you might have at home.

These changes don’t have to be all done at once. As things start to wear out, break down, become older and you want to replace them. Then think about saving up a bit and investing in some really good quality pans that will last you longer and will be much healthier for your family in the long term. Think about the clothing that you’re buying, check out your kids’ uniforms or anything that is waterproof or water-repellent. Try to avoid these kind of Teflon or PFOA or PFA chemicals in your clothing as well. 

Okay! Next week, we are going to be starting a new series on immunity. Here in the Southern hemisphere, we are heading into winter. Now is the time to start to focus on building your kids’ immune systems. Making sure that they are functioning at their optimum to ensure that your kids won’t be catching every little germ and bug. Flu, cold and cough and whatever other infection that is going around.

For the next at least six weeks or so we’re going to be focusing on different subjects related to kids’ immunity. I’m really looking forward to bringing you that information. If you have any ideas on specific topics you would like me to cover within that series, then please send me a DM on Instagram over at Natural Super Kids. I will be considering all sorts of suggestions for topics that you guys want to know about. 

I can’t wait to see you then and I look forward to bringing you those episodes as of next week. Thank you so much guys! Have a great day.


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