Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Given the advances in technology regarding non-stick pans, do they still give off fumes if they are heated with nothing in them?

I never pre-heat my non-sticks with more than low to medium-low heat, and have never had any issues. I have read various answers to this question, so I will defer to the knowledge of this group.

share|improve this question
    
Careful if it does get overheated, as fumes from this stuff are toxic and have been known to kill birds. It's also found in electric heaters and blankets. –  JAL Dec 24 '13 at 18:58
    
There are multiple nonstick coatings. I assume you're talking about PTFE, but the answer will be different for ceramic, silicone, etc. –  sourd'oh Dec 24 '13 at 18:58
    
Geo, I edited your question to specify PTFE. Otherwise the answers (and dangers) will vary considerably. If I assumed wrong, please correct the information. Thanks. –  Robert Cartaino Dec 30 '13 at 17:07

1 Answer 1

PTFE (Also known by Dupont's trade name, teflon) can decompose. For this reason PTFE pans are not recommended for broiler use. Per the Dupont Key Safety Questions:

At high temperatures, the quality of the coating may begin to deteriorate — it may discolor or lose its nonstick quality. This can begin to occur at temperatures above 500°F (260°C). If heated to an extremely high temperature, the coating may begin to decompose and give off fumes. Fats, butter, or cooking oil will begin to scorch and smoke at about 400°F (204°C). DuPont nonstick coatings will not begin to significantly decompose until temperatures exceed about 660°F (349°C) — well above the smoke point for cooking oil, fats or butter. It is therefore unlikely that decomposition temperatures for nonstick cookware would be reached while cooking without burning food to an inedible state.

Note that even heating a pan completely empty on a high flame will take some time to achieve these temperatures, so if you exercise even a reasonable level of care, you are extremely unlikely to have this occur.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the great info! Best Regards - –  Geo Dec 24 '13 at 13:25
1  
Dupont also sells other fluoropolymers under the teflon name with similar (but not identical) properties. Having sold nonstick coatings to industrial customers our recommendation was always max working temperature of 500 deg F. unless you double check with the manufacturer for the latest update to the data sheet. You can keep the coating at 500 deg for as long as you like (some customers used it in continuous processes. –  hildred Dec 24 '13 at 17:48

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.