The new GreenPan (™) cookware ...
yes, no, maybe?

I saw these GreenPan (™) items for the first time when I was recently searching - fruitlessly - for a small stainless steel frypan without nonstick - a kitchen gadget that seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur!

I learned that this GreenPan™ cookware is coated with Thermolon™ which is apparently free of PTFE - the unsavory chemical in Teflon™ - and which is touted as being environmentally friendly.

My curiosity was aroused, and I immediately searched for information on this new GreenPan™ - to see what miracles the chemical wizards had come up with!

Here is some of the information I found.

PTFE and PFOA

Over the last several decades - despite various modifications and improvements in nonstick technology - the main ingredient in nonstick continues to be the chemical polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) - which was first introduced in 1938.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic chemical used to manufacture PTFE.

In January of 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that PFOA has been found in the environment and that studies showed that it has had unwanted and hazardous consequences.

At that time, the EPA initiated the PFOA Stewardship Program, in which eight major manufacturers voluntarily agreed to reduce these chemicals by 2010, and completely eliminate them by 2015.

How is Thermolon™ technology
supposed to be different?

Apparently GreenPan™ cookware utilizes a ceramic-based nano-technology process - and does not have the risks of scratching and overheating - unlike regular nonstick cookware.

Thermolon™ is a patented, ceramic-based nano nonstick coating that is unaffected by high temperatures - even up to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, and the tempered glass lids are oven-safe to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

GreenPan™ cookware has apparently earned the trusted Good Housekeeping Seal of approval - and has been promoted heavily on HSN - the Home Shopping Network.

It contains no PTFE, and PFOA is not utilized in its manufacture. GreenPan™ also claims that 60% fewer greenhouse gases are released when Thermolon™-coated cookware is produced - unlike traditional PTFE-based nonstick cookware. That’s because it cures more quickly, and at lower temperatures.

According to this article this claim has been verified.

This allows GreenPan™ to claim that their cookware is environmentally friendly.

An additional safety claim for GreenPan™ is that it does not scratch or flake - and that its surface does not break down or wear out over time.

Some caveats

Nano-technology

While many scientists consider nano-technology to be safe, there are many others who question its safety.

In response, Thermolon™ denies that nano-technology is used in the manufacture of their coatings. They claim that this mistaken statement was initially used by an advertising copywriter.

They claim that every atom in the ceramic coating is tightly bound to the others, and that the resulting ceramic glaze is not any more dangerous, or vulnerable to particles flaking off, than any other ceramic glaze.

Silicone

The full list of ingredients in Thermolon™ is: oxygen, silicone, carbon, aluminum and titanium. Apparently, silicone can create health challenges when mixed with additives - and additionally, it cannot withstand high heat.

Again, in response, Thermolon™ says that the coating contains no silicone. This was apparently a spelling mistake started initially by the National Geographic, which has continued ever since.

It does contain silicon, an element which is safe - not silicone, the man-made compound - again, according to Thermolon™.

They do appear to be plagued by copy-writing errors!

My opinion - for what it is worth!

Although Thermolon™ denies both the nano-technology and silicone statements on the description of their product, this still leaves me skeptical.

To be fair - I prefer old-fashioned stainless steel or tempered glass - and am somewhat frustrated at my inability to find a simple stainless steel 6-inch frypan to make my cat’s scrambled egg in the morning - without the omnipresent nonstick coating! I am not really a fan of new chemical-based technology - adverse results sometimes take years to show up.

On one of the blogs discussing GreenPan™, a reader claimed that after six months of use, her cookware was no longer as nonstick as it had been when it was new - and questioned its economic value.

This might just be one person’s subjective opinion - but so far, I haven’t read anything that would make me want to buy it immediately.

The technology is too new, in my mind, and only after long-term use can any potential health hazards be evaluated.

As the Environmental Working Group says in their discussion on nonstick cookware, “While there are a growing number of new cookware options on the market, we don’t know enough about them to know if they’re safe - even if they’re advertised as “green” or “not non-stick”” - and I agree.

Tempered glass and stainless steel work fine for me - and I do not mind the little bit of elbow grease that is required to keep them clean.

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