Chemsec | My quest for a PFAS-free frying pan

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Last month, I moved in to a new apartment. When all the cardboard boxes were unpacked, I realised that I had loads of cookware – but not a frying pan. And thus, my quest to buy one began.

Before I started working at ChemSec two years ago, it would be fair to say that I was the average unaware and unconcerned consumer who wouldn’t have thought twice about what type of frying pan to buy. But since then, I have begun to put a conscious effort into making informed choices and buying safer products. So, when I saw the green-labelled “PFOA-free” frying pan in the store, I was thrilled and bought it instantaneously.

But afterwards I couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling of knowing that PFOA is just one out of 4,700 PFAS chemicals that more often than not are equally hazardous. Had I been fooled by the green label and wordings such as “eco-friendly”?

After a bit of scrolling in the product description on the company’s website, I found what the non-stick coating was made of – PTFE – which is the abbreviation for the “consumer-friendly” name polytetrafluorethylene.

PTFE is, however, a synthetic fluoropolymer that most of us know by an entirely different name. The most well-known brand name of PTFE-based formulas is the infamous and highly-criticised Teflon.



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