Hi, I saw Sur La Table is running a sale on Scanpan fry pans. Was about to run to the store, when I decided to check out CI's reviews first. To my surprise, they noted that Scanpan uses PTFE. I wish they had included a traditional seasoned cast iron pan in this review process for comparison.
Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia on PTFE:
"PTFE is a thermoplastic polymer, which is a white solid at room temperature, with a density of about 2.2 g/cm3. According to DuPont, its melting point is 327 °C (621 °F), but its properties degrade above 260 °C (500 °F). PTFE gains its properties from the aggregate effect of carbon-fluorine bonds, as do all fluorocarbons.........
The pyrolysis of PTFE is detectable at 200 °C (392 °F), and it evolves several fluorocarbon gases and a sublimate. Animal studies indicate that it is unlikely that these products would be generated in amounts significant to health at temperatures below 250 °C (482 °F), although birds are proven to be much more sensitive to these decomposition products.
While PTFE is stable and nontoxic, it begins to deteriorate after the temperature of cookware reaches about 260 °C (500 °F), and decomposes above 350 °C (662 °F). These degradation byproducts can be lethal to birds, and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans.
Meat is usually fried between 200–230 °C (392–446 °F), and most oils will start to smoke before a temperature of 260ºC is reached, but there are at least two cooking oils (safflower oil and avocado oil) that have a higher smoke point than 260°C. Empty cookware can also exceed this temperature upon heating."
Chowhounders, are there really any better options than my old cast iron?
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