IT AIN’T EASY BEIN’ GREEN©

It ain’t easy bein’ green
unless your name is Kermit
!

Hundreds of brands, shapes, sizes, prices and qualities of non-stick cookware are promoted by signs claiming to be ‘GREEN’-
the most overworked, misused appellation of the 21
st Century.

Motivated by concern for our environment? Hah!
  ‘GREEN’ is for 1.45 billion U.S. $$$$ for  retail sales of ‘release cookware’
(estimated for 2014)
 generated by  non-stick coatings of unlabeled chemicals.

Dear friends,
Be WARYVERY WARY— of ALL NON-STICK  COOKWARE IF:
              METAL UTENSILS CANNOT BE USED.   
              YOU CAN NOT COOK AT TEMPERATURES ABOVE 400°.
              NAMES OF COATING CHEMICALS ARE NOT LABELED.

When American consumers were made aware of the benefits of organic food,
sales of organic foods grew from $1 billion in 1990 t0 $43.3 billion in 2015; proving consumers are willing to pay for good health.

Current statistics reveal that 90% of today’s cookware sales are for ‘non-stick’ products–(cookware with a ‘release surface’). Of course we prefer easy maintenance and elimination of cooking fat–but why aren’t the chemicals of the release surface listed on labels and packaging? 

Do you buy organic foods; then cook them on a bed of chemicals?
If you use metal utensils, you might be scraping  chemicals into your food! 

Many people put processed foods back on the supermarket shelf after reading transparent food labels—but names of chemicals that make-up the non-stick surface are not listed anywhere on the product or packaging. ??? Are U.S.gov agencies unaware that labeling transparency is as important for cookware as for food?

Many stores sell only non-stick cookware!
Obviously, PROFIT supersedes health risk.

PTFE NON-STICK COOKING SURFACE

In 1938, PTFE, a polymerized perfluoroethylene was discovered in New Jersey. PTFE was first used for industrial and military application, followed by textile and medical application. In 1954, the wife of a French engineer urged him to make a pan coated with this slippery resin and release surface cookware was created. The FDA approved PTFE for food processing equipment in 1960. Cookware made with PTFE has been made and marketed for consumers under many different brand names since 1961.

For fifty years —we were told these coated wares were safe!

Years later, when it became public that PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) the synthetic chemical compound used to adhere the PTFE to metal cookware was “likely to be carcinogenic”, the EPA launched a stewardship program to eliminate PFOA from content by 2015.

PTFE : Polytetraflourethylene is a coating of a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluorethylene currently applied to a metal substrate by many brand-name manufacturers of non-stick cookware.

Release coating formulas—and number of layers and thickness of the metal substrate of the cookware are not on labels or packaging of any of the hundreds of PTFE cookware products I’ve examined.  Also, there are variations in the cost, durability and safety of many brands.

If you insist upon using PTFE coated cookware:
follow these guidelines perfectly.

PTFE coated pans should not be preheated.  Cook only with low and medium heat.
PTFE coating breaks down at 500 degrees and release toxic fumes.

PTFE coated pans should not be stacked on top of each other.
PTFE coating requires wood-silicone and plastic utensils for stirring and removing. Metal utensils must not be used.

 ‘CERAMIC’ NON-STICK COOKING SURFACE:

Challenged by need, early man successfully cooked in vessels made of clay.  Some of my favorite cookware is porcelain, so I was thrilled in 2007 when in-store and advertising promotions introduced ‘ceramic-coated’ cookware as ‘green’. Could this cookware possibly save our environment?

WAS I WRONG!

examined hundreds of cookware products labeled ‘ceramic-coated’.
I FOUND NO PERCEPTIBLE SURFACES OF EARTHLY CLAY

Not a single cookware product of the hundreds I examined
—‘each claiming to be ceramic non-stick’—
had labeling transparency!

Manufacturers who employ this release surface boast that it’s PTFE / PFOA free and ‘green’ but NEVER explain that the coating is made of chemicals; NOT CLAY!

In a graduate ceramic couse, I learned : ‘CERAMIC’ means ‘cooked clay’.

It is a fact:
A
luminum melts at 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit……but earthly clay
requires 2,000 to 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures to become hard and durable.  

Therefore:
If
 earthly clay were applied to an aluminum substrate,
  (aluminum conducts heat almost as well as copper)
—the 
temperature required to harden the earthly clay,
would melt the aluminum substrate.

My Ceramic Glossary defines CERAMIC-COATING  as
an inorganic esentially non-metallic coating on metal”.
 ‘Earthly clay” is not part of the definition.

This led to sol-gel (a wet-chemical method of producing solid materials from small particles) which involves an organometallic compound hydrolyzed to produce “sol”, a colloidal suspension of a solid in a liquid. The “gel” is an integrated network in the colloidal suspension processed to dry as a hard film.  ”Sol-gel technology allows better mixing of ceramic components at the molecular level, and hence yields more homogeneous ceramics, because the ions are mixed while in solution. Typically, this is a metal alkoxide as tetramethoxysilane in an alcohol solvent.”  

This description never explains the ‘ceramic components’
—and never mentions the word ‘CLAY’;
but it makes me aware of the CHEMICAL nature of ‘ceramic-coatings’. 

Marketing chemical coatings as ‘ceramic’ may satisfy a technical definition.
For me,
 it’s ‘fool-the-eye’ marketing!

How deceptive and hypocritical for suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to capitalize on an abstruse meaning of a common word
—for a
common product–
commonly thought to be safe.

INTEGRITY?
it’s uncommon“.

Further research reveals man-made ‘ceramic’ films or coatings are not all the same. Differences are found in their chemical formula, quality of the mixing and number of layers applied to the metal substrate and the shelf life of each coating may vary.

Even if  ‘ceramic-coatings’ are free of PFOA and PTFE…and even if a non-stick colloidal suspension included even a ‘pinch of earthly clay’ mixed with chemicals, no chemicals were listed.  In fact, no ingredients (including clay) were listed, on labels of any brand of ‘ceramic-coated’ cookware products I examined—although the word ‘ceramic’ was prominent on all products.

If non-stick coatings are as safe as each brand manufacturer claims,
why aren’t the chemicals used to make the coatings listed?

Doesn’t this make you suspicious of the quality!

Do you buy organic fruits and vegetables
and scrutinize labels 
before putting edible products in your cart,
and then purchase cookware having no label transparency?

If labels or packaging of non-stick cookware reveal little or nothing about the metal substrate and especially the chemical make-up of the release surface and how the coating is adhered to the substrate:   CHOOSE  DIFFERENT COOKWARE.

Decades of marketing experience convinced me:
what manufacturers do not tell us,
is something manufacturers are afraid we find out! 

 Dear friends,
•  Fresh, healthy food should NOT be cooked on a bed of chemicals.
•  Easy clean-up and fewer calories from fat are not worth a health risk!
•  Excellent ∗cookware is available without release surfaces.
•  Good quality cookware will outlast any stove on which it’s used.

                      ∗ refer to the post: THE RAW MATERIALS OF COOKWARE

DO NOT BUY ANY COOKWARE THAT DOES NOT PROVIDE:
•  NAME and GAUGE of the metal substrate.
•  NAMES of CHEMICALS that make-up a release surface.
•  NAMES OF CHEMICALS used to adhere release coatings to the substrate.
….AND SHOULD YOU EVER FIND ANY,  PLEASE LET ME KNOW! 

Pat Breen: EYEWITNESS TO QUALITY

MY NEXT POST : CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE SHOPPING FOR COOKWARE