Does anyone have any information on PTFC coatings on cookware? Recently I was at Williams Sonoma and saw their new "Gold Touch" line of cookware, which is advertised as having a non-stick ceramic coating. When I saw this I contacted the company to find out if it was a nano-ceramic coating, because I'm concerned about nano-particles and want to limit my exposure to these. They wrote back and said it was not a nano-ceramic coating but a PTFC coating. However, I can't seem to find any information on what PTFC is using regular search engines like Google. I'd like to know if this cookware is safe to use, I love to bake and they have a variety of great looking cake pans.
I just called Williams-Sonoma after looking at this cookware on their website.
The reason you couldn't find PTFC is because there is no such thing. Williams Sonoma told me the finish was "PTFE ceramic." The representative read it right off the screen. I asked her to repeat it. "PTFE ceramic."
Now PTFE is just the same old polytetrafluoroethylene, aka Teflon, which is very different from ceramic. Teflon is a toxic plastic, and ceramic is like glass. It's like saying it's an apple orange.
I pressed the rep to put me in touch with someone higher up and she wrote up a ticket about this.
The customer service rep called me back a few nights later and said she had a document in front of her that was an "internal customer service document" so she couldn't send it to me, but it said that according to the manufacturer of their "Gold Touch" line, "all of the non-stick finishes on their products sold in the USA are PTFE." The document said nothing about the finish being ceramic.
She further said that the Gold Touch finish "starts as PFOA but the high heat during the manufacturing process removes all the PFOA, leaving only PTFE."
OK. So this Gold Touch non-stick finish is polytetrafluoroethylene, not ceramic. Note that on ceramic-finish labels they often state "No PFOA or PTFE."
The important thing here is, it's NOT a ceramic finish. I don't know what the label says on this cookware, but I think the "ceramic" description is a mistake of some copywriter.
Do NOT use cookware or bakeware with this finish.
20 April 2012
I got some insight into this finish today.
I was in Costco and there was a demo set up for some cookware that had a "nonstick ceramic titanium finish."
I stopped and felt it and said to the salesperson, "This isn't ceramic, it feels like plastic. Ceramic is NOT plastic."
And he said, "Oh, yes this is ceramic."
We went back and forth a bit until I realized that the finish was PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene, aka Teflon) with particles of ceramic and titanium in it.
This may be what's going on with the nonstick finish at Williams Sonoma too, and why there is so much confusion.
For the record, PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) is a plastic. PFOA is used to make this plastic, but it is burned off during the manufacturing process and is not present in significant amounts in the final products. It can, however, be released at temperatures that exceed 500 degrees F.
PFOA is being investigated as a possible carcinogen by the EPA. Meanwhile, the government says go ahead and use these nonstick finishes.
Back in 2003, Environmental Working Group tested pans and found that they quickly exceeded safe temperatures and released toxic gasses.
Knowing what I know about plastics, it's difficult for me to believe that a pan heated to those temperatures would not release emissions. I have no evidence that PTFE is safe.
On the other hand, true ceramic finishes made from glass and traditional cooking vessels such as cast iron and clay are not under scrutiny or in question. I'll stick with these.
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