What Is PFOA and What Does It Have to Do With Cooking?

What is PFOA and could your cookware be leaching it? Get all of the facts before you cook.

Team Made In|Mar 29, 2021

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a man-made chemical substance that is designed to resist heat, water, grease, and sticking. So it’s no wonder why the presence of PFOA is top of mind when people search for the

best cookware material

, specifically non toxic,

Non Stick Cookware


Some non stick and stick-resistant pots and pans are marketed as "contains no PFOA," but the chemical may still be used in these products' manufacturing processes. While some manufacturers of non stick pots and pans use PFOA during manufacturing, the chemical is


burned out of their products later on in the manufacturing process. However, PFOA does not just disappear from a

fry pan


saute pan

, or skillet.

The man-made chemical substance has a strong persistence in the environment. PFOA can contaminate the surface water, soil, and air during and after the manufacturing process. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actively monitors water supplies in the United States, and the agency has detected measurable amounts of PFOA in drinking water in most states. This PFOA contamination can pose serious human health concerns.

Most people have some level of PFOA exposure due to the chemical's widespread use, and this isn’t limited to individuals who live near a factory or work with the toxic chemical. Blood tests reveal that most individuals have at least trace amounts of PFOA in their bloodstreams. According to a

2016 EPA report

, "PFOA was detected in blood serum in 99% of the U.S. general population between 1999 and 2012; however, the levels of PFOA in blood have been decreasing since U.S. companies began to phase out production."

Can Exposure to PFOA Have Any Side Effects?

Many studies have found harmful effects of Perfluorooctanoic acid exposure in lab animals and large samples of people alike. High levels of PFOA exposure are associated with human health issues and ailments including:

Kidney and testicular cancer

Ulcerative colitis

Thyroid disease

Liver damage

Cholesterol concerns

Changes in blood pressure during pregnancy

Health problems with fetuses, babies, and children

Are Made In Non Stick Pans PFOA-Free?

The chemical used to create the Made In’s non stick coating is called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). So, what's the difference between PFOA vs. PTFE pan exactly? The PTFE non stick coating creates a smooth cooking surface to prevent sticking. PTFE cookware is also highly stable, meaning it won't react with other chemicals, and it lasts 70x longer than “ceramic” cookware.

PFOA is sometimes used to manufacture PTFE non stick products, but all Made In

Non Stick Frying Pans

are made without the use of PFOA. Our cookware is made with a PTFE coating that creates a non stick surface without all the harmful chemicals.

As far as "PFOA-free" goes, however, the global prevalence and environmental persistence of PFOA (mentioned above) makes it difficult to label anything as containing zero trace amounts of PFOA. For that reason, we refer to our products as "made without PFOA" rather than "PFOA-free."

So "Made Without PFOA" and "PFOA-Free" Are Two Different Things?

Correct. Because the manufacturing and shipping processes put non stick cookware in contact with many different items and substances (such as water) that could possibly transfer PFOA to the non stick cookware, it's difficult for a company to say with certainty that any of their non stick pots and pans are "PFOA-free." If PFOA indeed wasn't used in the manufacturing process, a phrase like "made without PFOA" is more accurate.

"What is PFOA and are your products made with it?" is a question we frequently get. At Made In, we manufacture each cookware set using a made without PFOA non stick process. We double-cure our pans with a PTFE coating and not water-soluble. We use only the highest quality

cookware materials

to provide safety and precision in home kitchens.

For more information on Made In's Non Stick Pans, use our



Help Center

. For information on how to take care of your

Non Stick Cookware Set

, please visit our blog on

How To Not Ruin Your Non Stick Coating