Damaged non-stick frying pan releases large amounts of plastic particles

A single scratch releases more than 9,000 of these health-damaging particles.

Yes, the arrival of Teflon in our kitchens has revolutionized the way we prepare our favorite dishes. But its non-stick properties don’t just have advantages.

Beyond the practical advantages that diminish with wear, these teflon pans when they are damaged constitute a real health hazard by releasing thousands of plastic particles.

Thus, a study conducted by scientists from the University of Newcastle (Australia) reveals that no less than 9,100 tiny plastic particles are released when a Teflon-coated utensil is scratched. Particles that seep into our food.

An alarming study

To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted several experiments using different techniques (algorithms and spectroscopy allowing them to dive into the heart of the molecular structure).

In about 30 seconds of cooking, a badly damaged utensil can release up to 2.3 million plastic particles directly into the food. And even when the non-stick coating is only slightly scratched, an average of 9,100 particles are released during cooking.

“A health problem”

Dr Cheng Fang, co-author of the study and a researcher at Newcastle University, summarizes why the release of per and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS) is of concern:

Since PFAS are of great concern, the presence of these Teflon microparticles in our food could be a health issue and therefore needs to be investigated, as we don’t know much about these new contaminants.

Teflon utensils: what to do?

Youhong Tang, a materials engineer from Flinders University who also participated in this study, warns:

It is essential to be rigorous in the selection and use of kitchen utensils to prevent food contamination.

And he adds:

Further research is however needed to assess the risks of Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics.

Without waiting for the results of further studies, you can already avoid using any sharp object that would damage the non-stick coating of your utensils.

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