Tailgating amongst 100,000 Tiger fans at a LSU football game is a experience not to be missed. You know it must be special when you learn that thousands of the purple-and-gold clad Louisianians there, don’t even have a ticket to the game. While chips and dips may make an appearance, it’s the cast iron cauldrons of jambalaya, gumbo and Boudin that take center stage. These Southerners don’t mess around with anything but the best when it comes to college football. And when it comes to cookware, it’s cast iron all the way.
There are a ton of reasons to make the switch to cast iron cookware. Perhaps the most important is that of safety. If you are still using non-stick pans, bakeware and griddles, take the time to understand the risks before you whip up your next dish. Here are the top 6 reasons why people are choosing to go back to basics with cast iron:
You have a wonderful assortment of organic, local vegetables that you are ready to cook. You pour a little olive oil into your non-stick pan and saute your veggies. What do you get? Delicious sauteed veggies with a side of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Wait, what?
PFOA is the chemical used to make the non-stick coating on cookware (pots, pans, muffin tins, baking sheets, etc.) and electric cooking appliances (griddles, indoor grills, sandwich makers, etc.). Products with Teflon can contain levels of the chemical or similar chemicals (such as Polytetrafluoroethylene or “PTFE”). PFOA is widely used in other products such as carpet, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant clothing, and in water repellents for fabric and upholstery.
We are exposed to PFOA through drinking water, air, dust, food packaging, breast milk, umbilical cord blood, and microwave popcorn. When non-stick cookware is exposed to high heat, the chemical gets into the air and there can be a risk of PFOA exposure.
On the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, this is what they have to say about PFOA:
“Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as “C8,” is a synthetic chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment… EPA has been investigating PFOA because it:
- Is very persistent in the environment
- Is found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population
- Remains in people for a very long time
- Causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.”
When tested, the chemical has been found in all or virtually all people’s blood, including newborn infants. Many animal and human studies over the years have shown that PFOA may cause a multitude of health concerns. These include, low birth rates, developmental delays, various forms of cancer, tumors, and liver toxicity; although the makers of PFOA maintain that the chemical is safe for humans and there is no reason for concern.
A recent September 2010 study from the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center studied 12, 476 children