Dr. Poonam Desai recently took to TikTok to issue a warning about the dangers of using certain types of pots and pans for cooking. If you've been holding onto your cooking equipment since your university days, you might want to pay attention.
Many people have pots and pans that are scratched, chipped, or otherwise damaged. While these may seem harmless, Dr. Desai explains that non-stick pans with such imperfections can release millions of microplastics into your food.
These microplastics are endocrine disruptors and can lead to hormone imbalances, fertility issues, and even an increased risk of cancer.
Dr. Desai also warns against using ceramic pans that are scratched.
These pans usually have a layer of aluminum underneath, which can leach into your food. For her, any non-stick or ceramic pans that end up scratched or chipped are usually thrown out.
The science behind the warning
According to Healthline, non-stick cookware is coated with a material called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), more commonly known as Teflon.
This material has been under investigation for its safety, particularly concerning a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which was previously used in the production of non-stick cookware but is no longer used today.
Healthline advises avoiding cooking on high heat with non-stick pans and replacing them when the coating starts to visibly deteriorate.
If you have older non-stick cookware that may contain PFOA, it's best to dispose of it, especially if it's scratched.