What Is PTFE and Is It Safe for Cooking?

We explore PTFE, the safest and longest-lasting non stick surface on the market.

  • George Steckel
  • Mar 7, 2021
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PTFE, short for polytetrafluoroethylene, is a chemical compound containing carbon and fluorine atoms. If you haven't heard of PTFE, you probably have heard its trade name, Teflon.

Whatever you choose to call it, PTFE is responsible for the simple cooking and cleanup made possible by Non Stick Cookware. Here's what you need to know about PTFE and why it's safe for cooking.

Where Did PTFE Come From? A Brief History

While researching refrigerants at Dupont, a chemist named Roy Plunkett accidentally discovered polytetrafluoroethylene. It didn't take long for him to notice the remarkable properties of PTFE.

Of any solid compound, PTFE has one of the lowest coefficients of friction and is also chemically inert. In layman's terms, that means PTFE can be used to create one of the smoothest surfaces around, plus its chemicals won't react with other chemical compounds found in food.

Additionally, it has a strong resistance to water and has an extremely high melting temperature, which makes it extremely durable. As a result, PTFE has been used as an electrical insulator, a component in satellites, and to coat household items like pots and pans since 1949.

Thanks to its slick surface, Non Stick Pans make for easy flipping and equally easy cleanup – all without using cooking oil.

Is PTFE Safe for Cooking?

For more than 70 years, PTFE coated (or Teflon coated) pans have been used for cooking. For a while, there were reports in the news about a possible link between Teflon pans and serious health concerns.

After a thorough investigation, it was found that traces of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were present in these pans. It was determined that PFOA, and not PTFE, was responsible for the health problems associated with Non Stick Pans. The U.S. government reacted quickly to these findings, and the use of PFOA in the manufacturing of Non Stick Pans was banned entirely in 2013.

This means that all Non Stick Pans manufactured after 2013 are entirely PFOA-free and safe for cooking, when used and cared for properly.

How to Cook Safely with Non Stick Pots and Pans

While modern Non Stick Pans are PFOA-free, there are still some risks that come with using any sort of chemical. When heated to extremely high temperatures, PTFE can begin to break down and leach toxic fumes into the air. When inhaled, these chemicals can cause a condition with flu-like symptoms called polymer fume fever.

To preserve the integrity of your PTFE-coated pans, avoid cooking with them over extreme high heat, using them with your oven's broiler setting, or preheating them with no oil or food inside.

Non Stick Pans are safest to use when the PTFE coating remains in good condition. You can prevent scratching, chipping, and flaking the coating by cooking with non-abrasive utensils made of wood, plastic, or silicone.

How to Care for Non Stick Cookware

To keep your Non Stick Pots, Pans, and Frying Pan flipping omelettes like they're brand-new, it's important to properly care for them.

We recommend hand-washing as the best clean-up method, as dishwashers and their detergents can be too abrasive and degrade the Non Stick surface. Instead, use warm water, a soft dishcloth, and mild soap to wash your Non Stick Cookware by hand.

You can also protect Non Stick Cookware from getting damaged in the cupboard, as stacking pans on top of each other can damage the interior coating. Store yours in a rack designed to keep pans separated or line them with silicone pan protectors.

The Safest, High-Quality Nonstick Cookware for Your Home Kitchen

High-quality Non Stick Pans last longer than others. Each item of Made In's Non Stick Cookware comes fully coated in high-grade PTFE that is Prop 65 compliant and FDA certified.

With the best Non Stick Pans, you can safely enjoy flipping and frying your favorite foods for life.

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