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Health Concern: Non-Stick Pans Could Release Millions Of Microplastics, Says Study

Teflon non-stick pots and pans start losing their coating as we continuously use and wash them.

A new study has revealed that many small particles might be slipping in our food through non-stick pans, adding that a small broken crack on a Teflon-coated pan can release as many as 9,100 particles.The study was conducted by Flinders University and University of Newcastle. It has also been published in Science of The Total Environment.

Teflon non-stick pots and pans start losing their coating as we continuously use and wash them. The research adds that gauging just how much plastic is released is difficult.

The researchers also added that Teflon is generally a family member of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which are largely lab made chemicals.

By applying the Raman imaging technique, the researchers aimed to examine microplastics and nanoplastics on a Teflon coating at a molecular level via photon scattering.

They also applied algorithms to compute how much of this coating might come unstuck and get into food. It is also reported that the study developed a molecular spectrum approach to directly visualise and identify the Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics. It is to be noted that microplastics (smaller than 5 millimetres) and nanoplastics (measuring less than 1 micrometre) are more difficult to monitor than other plastics.

Dr Cheng Fang, researcher from University of Newcastle said, in a press release, "Given the fact PFAS is a big concern, these Teflon microparticles in our food might be a health concern so needs investigating because we don't know much about these emerging contaminants."

At a micro scale, their Raman imaging and an algorithm model have identified the release of 2.3 million microplastics and nanoplastics from broken coating.

"It gives us a strong warning that we must be careful about selecting and using cooking utensils to avoid food contamination," says Professor Tang, from the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University.

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