DuPont Teflon and The Science of Non-Stick
Anyone who loves to cook knows that having the right gear – from cookware to knives to utensils – remains critical. But lately, we’ve seen such an explosion in cookware options that a shopping trip for a sauté pan can prove overwhelming. Between non-stick, ceramic, stainless, cast iron, eco-friendly, and ceramic-covered cast iron – what’s a cook to do?
At the recent International Housewares Show, I had the opportunity to catch up with the folks from DuPont to talk about the company’s best-in-class brand of Teflon non-stick cookware – the history, the science, and all those myths.
The Evolution of Non-Stick Cookware
As the category founder, DuPont engineered Teflon coating back in 1938, and it remains the brand name of DuPont’s line of non-stick cookware. As a science-based company, DuPont identifies its core values as safety, health, and the environment, creating products that combine performance with sustainability.
Yet over the years, a number of other brands also introduced their version of non-stick cookware – with varying degrees of quality and effectiveness. These brands quickly became tossed into the “Teflon” basket, and the company experienced the “Kleenex” phenomenon – resulting in the belief that all non-stick cookware was Teflon.
The Teflon Effect
Despite the volume of non-stick cookware out there, cooks can always identify true Teflon-coated pans by the blue diamond “Teflon” label. Teflon cookware remains best-in-class for a wide variety of cooks and doesn’t scratch or flake.
Moreover, a DuPont study found that Teflon pans outlasted sol-gel ceramic pans by 7 to 1, providing consumers with a more durable and sustainable product.
Myths & Legends
Despite Teflon’s strong performance in the kitchen, the brand has experienced a wide range of myths regarding its cookware, including the following:
Doesn’t Teflon wear out easily? In fact, durability remains a hallmark of Teflon quality, and the brand offers a number of surfaces geared toward different types of cooks to ensure longevity.
Am I ingesting the cookware surface when it scratches? DuPont designed Teflon products for durability and specifically to prevent the surface from flaking or becoming scratched. The product remains unequivocally safe.
Isn’t Teflon harmful to birds? This urban legend most likely started with concerns about fumes harmful to birds that resulted from cooking with oil or butter at high heat. In fact, fumes can result from this mix of temperature and oil/butter regardless of the cooking surface. Birds have a different respiratory system than humans, so families should avoid locating the cage of any domesticated bird in the kitchen while cooking.
As a passionate cook, I loved having the opportunity to sit down with the DuPont team to learn about what differentiates Teflon from the rest of the pack, and I appreciate now more than ever, the quality, durability, and effectiveness of Teflon non-stick cookware. Rest assured, you can stick with non-stick and count on Teflon!