I bet you haven't seen one of these for a while.... probably glad you don't have to lift them or clean them any longer. But, after reading this, you might change your mind. You see, the teflon-coated pans can give off fumes when they are over heated that can kill birds and cause cancer in small animals.
An article by the Environmental Working Group in the US says:
The scientific panel’s latest data, made public on Monday, associated the chemical with kidney and testicular cancer and possibly thyroid cancer. In earlier years, the panel linked PFOA to pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia.
PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) is the ingredient used in Teflon which is responsible for the problem. Dupoint in the US is the only company making it. They are being sued and will be phasing it out so it will no longer be in use after 2015.
It's for this very reason I published an article a few days ago warning folks to say no to microwave popcorn. The chemical released from the fumes coats the bags and releases PFOA into the air as soon as you open the microwave. You can read more about the dangers of this agent in an article on the Environmental Protections Agency's website titled Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Fluorinated Telomers.
Of course, a fair question might be: Is there any danger in using cast iron pans?
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it can be beneficial to most people as a very small amount of iron from the pan can be absorbed by the body. But he also warns:
It is a particular risk for those with an inherited metabolic disorder called hemochromatosis or iron overload disease, believed to affect as many as one million Americans. If you have any blood relatives with the disease, ask your physician about the screening test for iron overload, called the transferrin saturation test.
I think I might have to go to some yard sales this summer and see if I can find any cast iron pans. Sure would beat using teflon covered ones. And I have a teenage daughter who complains about having to wash the frying pan now. Can't wait to see the joy on her face when I hand her, her first dirty cast iron frying pan to wash 😉