Consumer Reports explains why you can’t always trust claims on nontoxic cookware

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — If you’re in the market for new pans in the new year, there’s some important information about the nonstick variety you should know.

You may notice labels that say the pans are non-toxic and made without dangerous chemicals. But can these claims be trusted? Consumer Reports wondered the same thing, and tested three recommended nonstick pans to find out.

For decades, PFAS, also known as “Forever Chemicals,” have been used extensively in non-stick cookware. But in recent years, researchers have linked PFAS to a growing list of health problems, including liver damage, lowered immunity in children, and certain types of cancer.

Using pans with these chemicals could expose you to PFAS, especially if pans are scratched or overheated.

Many newer non-stick pans claim to be free of some of the most well-known PFAS, including PFOA. But are they really free? Consumer Reports wanted to find out.

CR tested two ceramic-coated pans, the Our Place Always pan and the Red Copper pan, and one with a traditional nonstick PTFE coating, the Swiss Diamond pan, which boasted a “PFOA-free” claim.

The testing is intense, requiring hours of work by specially trained technicians who use a rotary tool to scrape coatings off 30 samples from the three pans. Samples were tested for 96 different PFAS chemicals, including PFOA.

The results?

The two ceramic cups did not contain any of the 96 PFAS-CR testers sought. The situation was different with the PTFE-coated pan.

CR’s tests revealed that the Swiss Diamond pan contained measurable levels of PFOA and several other PFAS. Swiss Diamond’s US distributor questioned CR’s findings, saying that the manufacturer has been using PFOA-free raw materials since 2007 and that the high temperatures used in the coating process would remove any PFOA.

To avoid PFAS in your cookware, CR recommends purchasing products with a “PTFE-free claim” such as B. Pans with ceramic coatings. Uncoated carbon steel and cast iron pans can also be good options.

Other ways to avoid PFAS are testing your drinking water and using a water filter that is certified to reduce PFAS. And avoid stain-resistant clothing.

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