- Dr Poonam Desai posted on TikTok explaining why she throws out chipped pans
- Scratched nonstick pans can ‘leech millions of microplastics into our food’
- READ MORE: PFAS school water contamination forces to steer clear of fountains
A doctor on TikTok has warned against using scratched pans due to the microplastics they can release.
Dr Poonam Desai, who practices in New York and goes by doctoranddancer on social media, posted a video last month about why she throws out her chipped nonstick or ceramic pans.
The video, which has garnered almost half a million views, shows Dr Desai explaining to her 22,500 followers that nonstick pans can ‘leech millions of microplastics into our food.’
‘Microplastics are endocrine disruptors. They can cause hormone imbalances, fertility issues, and even increase our risk of cancer,’ she said.
Dr Poonam Desai, who practices in New York and goes by doctoranddancer on social media, posted a video last month about why she throws out her chipped nonstick or ceramic pans
Researchers found that a single scratch on a nonstick pan can lead to millions of dangerous microparticles entering a person’s food and expose them to long-term harm
The endocrine system regulates how much of different hormones are released in our bodies.
Microplastics come from a range of sources, including larger plastic pieces that have broken apart, such as a pan coating.
Some microplastics contain per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals.
These are stick and heat-proof particles used to make millions of kitchenware items in the US.
In recent years, they have been linked to various health problems, including several types of cancer, autism and infertility.
A previous Australian study found that a single scratch on the surface of a pan can put millions of microplastics into food and homes.
The researchers used light waves to measure microscopic particles and found that just one five-centimeter (cm) scratch to Teflon pans — perhaps from a spatula or spoon — released up to 2.3 million microplastics.
Overall, more than 9,000 plastic particles were dispersed within the pan.
Despite the health risks, there are no federal regulations in the US on the amount of PFAS allowed on the surface of manufactured goods.
Dr Desai said she also avoids using ceramic pans because they ‘have a layer of aluminum under [them] and aluminum can leech into our foods.’
Pure ceramic pans are usually considered a safer alternative to nonstick pans because it does not contain PFAS or any metals.
Ceramic-coated pans, on the other hand, are usually made of aluminum with a ceramic-based non-stick coating.
If the particles leave the pan, they might get into food cooked in there.
Once a person eats food contaminated with PFAS chemicals, the particles will remain in the body for long periods of time, as it very slowly leaves through urine.
They have been deemed ‘forever chemicals’ because they take nearly a decade to break down in the body and never break down in the environment.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not set an upper limit as to the maximum amount of PFAS that is safe to consume in food.
In lieu of FDA regulations, researchers recommend people take more care in the types of products they choose to use.