Safety in cookware: PTFE vs nano-ceramic coatings?

Belgian cookware manufacturer Beka has come out with a handsome line of products called Beka Eco-Logic which replaces the traditional Teflon anti-stick coatings containing PTFE chemicals with a ceramic coating which they call Bekadur Ceramica.

Like many of the more recent PTFE-free offerings, such as Green Pan, these pans are covered with a durable nano-coating in ceramic. These ceramic coatings are water-based and can resist much higher temperatures than traditional coatings. Debate over the potential health risks of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) – best known by the DuPont brand name Teflon – has raged for years, so at first glance this seems like a no-brainer for any green-minded kitchen.

According to the most conservative scenario, PTFE starts to deteriorate after the temperature of cookware reaches about 260 °C (500 °F), and decomposes above 350 °C (660 °F). This can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.

But the debate on potential health risks of nano-technologies is only just beginning.
The main issue, as stated by ETC in “A Tiny Primer on Nano-Scale Technologies” is “Governments, industry and scientific institutions have allowed nanotech products to come to market in the absence of public debate and regulatory oversight.”

There are very few toxicological studies on engineered nanoparticles “but it appears that nanoparticles as a class are more toxic than larger versions of the same compound because of their mobility and increased reactivity.” This is important because nanoparticles can move easily into the body and slip past the body’s immune system. At 70 nanometres, nanoparticles can burrow deep into lung tissue; a 50 nm particle can slip into cells. Particles as small as 30 nm can cross the blood-brain barrier.

The bottom line is: we just don’t know. And how reassuring is that?

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32 responses to “Safety in cookware: PTFE vs nano-ceramic coatings?

  1. I’ve just bought an Aubecq Evergreen frying pan, so I’ll let you know if I develop any life-threatening health problems ;-)

    To be honest, non-nonstick has to be the most ‘green’ way to go but it is harder to cook with. And if you burn the food, just imagine all those acrylamides (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7124501.stm)

    Maybe we should just stop cooking entirely. Nice blog by the way!

  2. What about titanium? Here in Australia, most good quality pans now use titanium which, they say, penetrates the pan and is not just a coating…. I don’t know who to believe…. but I do like plain cast iron for some cooking and plain, solid stainless steel for the rest.

  3. Thank you for the information. We are currently regarding this issue and your article contributes to the debate. Anything on these nano particules in ceramic?

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  5. Pingback: Our Kitchenware, Ourselves – Generation Green

  6. Thank You, For Share This.

  7. So, at this point what’s the safest cookware. Anyone know? My son and I are stumped.

    • Hi Marsha – one of the readers earlier in this thread, Kate in Australia, suggests cast iron. You can’t go wrong with that! Thanks for reading. bests, Denise

      • angel italiano

        i always thought cast iron was safe, but there are those who claim it’s also not. i cook with stainless steel and clean it up. can’t be so lazy and not want to be able to wash a pan, especially if there’s a health risk!

    • I like to use cast iron with some things. My wife does not. Weight of the pan is an issue for her. Once you learn to get the heat right the sticking problem is lessened(for me).

  8. Since I make my own pot of soil, mud and adobe, I thought that at least be able to heat water in containers, which I did. Nothing happened. Nothing. I also tried to put a magnet on ceramics, but nothing happened. Nothing.

  9. I prefer my food in a enamel dutch oven, or as we Saffas call it, potjie. It cooks the meat the tendereste I believe.

  10. How does the ceramic coating work? Does anyone know if it is durable and how long it lasts?

  11. Pingback: Is this safe cookware? - Avian Avenue Parrot Forum & Other Birds Message Board

  12. Does anyone have any information on the wiltshire cerasmart range of bakeware that has ceramic coating?

    I cook with 18/10 stainless steel and cast iron (Le crueset) and can’t seem to find a safe alternative, all bakeware seems to be cheap, teflon coated or aluminium.

    Even Anolon bakeware has a warning beneath the card packaging that states, small children and pets are to be kept out of the kitchen whilst baking due to sensitive respiratory systems. Nice disclaimer! why not find a healthier alternative to manufacture :/

  13. Lots of people are saying that cast iron is a great alternative to nonstick. I don’t think so. Not when it’s so heavy and reacts with acidic foods. I’d rather stick to PTFE coatings that is durable, like the ones found on Cook’s Essentials, Technique, KitchenAid and Anolon cookware.

  14. Back in the 90s in France a friend’s father made her throw away all her nonstick cookware. He was a recently retired government scientist. The evidence was not worth the risk. What I had heard was that overheating or scratched surfaces were dangerous. Now I have bought Bialetti nano-ceramic (Aeternum) frying pans, both of which got scratched pretty quickly. I’ve been doing research online but cannot find much about this new type of surface and toxicity. Does anyone know anything about it? Especially the scratched part.

  15. Hey what a bullshit you speak here Bekadur Ceramica is not sol-gel ceramic coating but common coating based on PTFE…

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  17. After reading the article and comments, I am out of my wit to use or not to use the ceramic coated pan. I do like the non-stick. Just use plastic or bamboo or wood utensils. No scratch happened. It did not mention in what condition the nano-ceramic particles will fall from the pot. Another question, the technology in producing them. ECOPAN was coated in Germany. The rest GreenPan (thermolon), Dannyseo, IPAC (Italian) and Perfecto are all produced in China. Usually, anything made in China for the foreign brands have thier standard and not sold in China. Thermolon pot could stand to 850F degrees. The rest are up to 400 F. So, is there a difference because made in certain countries are saver?

  18. The original non stick teflon is dangerous!! This new green nano is also!! If it will kill a bird/parrot like a few friends of mine have experienced, then what must both of these do to humans?? I’ll stay with cast iron & stainless steel. I’m 70 years young & never used teflon pans & my mother lived to be 92 using the iron pans!!

    • Belgian cookware manufacturer Beka has come out with a handsome line of products called Beka Eco-Logic which replaces the traditional Teflon anti-stick coatings containing PTFE chemicals with a ceramic coating which they call Bekadur Ceramica. Like many of the more recent PTFE-free offerings, such as Green Pan, these pans are covered with a durable nano-coating

      what a bullshit, Beka is not Belgian manufacturer its just importer of chinese cookware…..

  19. I have used the Bialetti Aeternum Saute Pan, it sucks, it no longer is non-stick, just a week of cooking (where did it go? ) it stunk from the first day i used it, really the out side coating is continually burning off smells, like some cheap lead based paint it scares me

  20. Does anyone know anything about the ScanPan, they are made in Denmark and they say they are PFOA free, but they do have PTFE but this is made with their Green tek technology.

    Vit, so is the Beka pan made in China?

    For health what do you suggest for a large saute pan to use?

  21. Pyrex makes glass cookware. I haven’t used it but was considering getting some. I heard you have to cook a little differently with them, but it’s the only thing I know of that (should be) totally safe.

  22. no pfoa ptfe
    has anyone expirience with scanpan ctx titanium pans; or scaledowncookware ,?

  23. http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/122939438/GOLD_DIAMOND_COATING_FRY_PAN_NON.html

    features a special quintuplex coating consisting of 4 layers of diamond crystals and 1 layer of genuine gold on both the inside and outside;
    is Any one acquainted with these pans?

  24. Pingback: Our Kitchenware, Ourselves | Center for Environmental HealthCenter for Environmental Health

  25. I am using a new Ceramic pan that works great but gives off a bad smell when cooking. Anyone else experience this its made by Bailetti please let me know is this toxic?

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