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What's Old Is New Again: Using Cast Iron Cookware to Avoid PFC Exposure

February 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 156

With the growing concern about toxic chemical exposures in our lives and the knowledge that children are at an even greater risk than adults from all of these chemicals, many parents are looking to reduce and eliminate their exposure to toxins in various ways. Non-stick cookware is a popular choice for the busy cook since food doesn't stick to its surface and the clean-up process is much easier. However, the materials used in the non-stick coating of these pots and pans contain PFCs, short for perfluorocarbons, which are chemicals that repel grease and water as well as stains. They can also be found on stain resistant carpeting, clothing, furniture and in food containers. Research has shown that these chemicals can be linked to potential liver damage, developmental problems in children, cancer, and even decreased immune response to childhood vaccines. So what is a busy mother supposed to do when it comes to making decisions about cookware which affects the very health of her family?

One way to avoid using this type of cookware is to go back to past generations and look at the type of cookware used before these non-stick pans became available. Cast iron was very popular in the past and is making a return to the kitchens of the health conscious. Cast iron is a good choice since it heats evenly, maintains heat and actually adds trace amounts of iron to the food cooked in it. It is also naturally non-stick when it is seasoned and maintained properly.

Some cast iron products are sold pre-seasoned (always find out what was used to pre-season a product) but if you have one that isn't pre-treated or if it has not been properly cared for, you will want to season your pan yourself. The way that this is done is to wash it in hot, soapy water and use a stiff bristle brush to thoroughly clean it. Completely dry the pan with a towel. Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil to the inside and outside of the pan, covering all surfaces. Place the oiled pan on the top rack in your oven set at 350 degrees and be sure that there are some aluminum foil sheets on the rack below it to catch any oil drips from the pan. Leave the pan in the oven for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and allowing the pan to cool completely inside the oven. Store with some paper towels around it if necessary to avoid the oil from the pan transferring onto other items. The best way to keep your cast iron cookware in top non-stick performance is to simply use it frequently and clean it properly.

To maintain the seasoning and natural non-stick properties of your cast iron pan, avoid using soap to clean it. Never put it into the dishwasher to clean it either. Simply wipe out the pan with a paper towel, leaving behind a layer of oil and then store the pan. If after you have used it there is some food that has stuck to the surface of your pan, sprinkle some kosher salt into it and scrub with a paper towel. Then using hot water at the sink, rinse out the pan. Dry it immediately and thoroughly. Do not allow the pan to air dry or it may rust. Better yet, put it on the stove and heat it for a few minutes to remove all moisture, maintaining a close eye on the pan to avoid burning the seasoning coating. Apply a thin even layer of vegetable oil to the pan and store it until its next use. With proper care, the pan will cook food without sticking for a long time and you and your family will not have to worry about PFC exposure coming from your cookware when you use this type of pan to cook.

Dr. Melissa M. Brown, MD is the founder of Green Light Coaching, with a mission to help women prevent, modify or cure lifestyle illnesses with safe, simple habit changes. To get your free healthy lifestyle report, as well as Dr. Brown's newsletter, The Doctor Is In, visit

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Pfc Exposure


Removing Toxin Exposure


Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware


Cast Iron Cookware

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