Consumer Reports Test Shows You Can't Always Trust "Non-Toxic" Cookware
To determine whether modern non-stick pans that are claimed to be free of PFAS truly are, Consumer Reports  tested 3 non-stick frying pans at different price points. The products tested were the Our Place Always Pan and the Red Copper pan, both of which have ceramic coatings and are advertised as being free of PTFE and PFOA (chemicals that belong to the PFAS family), and the Swiss Diamond pan, which has a PTFE coating and is supposed to be PFOA-free.
The tests found that the 2 ceramic pans didn’t contain any of the 96 PFAS the CR researchers were looking for. However, the PTFE-coated pan had measurable amounts of PFOA and several other PFAS.
Due to the fact that CR’s research has found that even pans manufactured without PFOA may contain it because of how they’re made, the organization no longer displays “PFOA-free” in their ratings of nonstick cookware. Such claims may not be reliable for PTFE-coated products, according to CR.
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“Avoiding products made with PFAS, including pots and pans, may help protect your health and the environment,” says Eric Boring, PhD, a CR chemist who oversaw the testing. “And our findings suggest that consumers who want to avoid PFAS in their nonstick cookware may want to focus on products that claim to be PTFE-free.”
Boring says that non-stick pans that are made with a ceramic coating and carry a PTFE-free claim, such as the Red Copper and Always pans, are far less likely to contain PFAS.
Additionally, many uncoated pans, including those manufactured with carbon steel and cast iron, are also unlikely to contain the toxic forever chemicals, though they might not prevent food from sticking as well or be as easy to clean.
A California law that went into effect in early 2023 bans companies from claiming that a cookware product is free of any one PFAS (like PFOA) if it contains any other PFAS, like PTFE. Those claims will have to be removed from the packaging by 2024, with a similar law being implemented in Colorado. Alon, the distributor of Swiss Diamond, told CR that in order to comply with California law, it will be removing the PFOA-free claim from its website by the end of 2022 and its packaging by the end of 2023.
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