‘Forever Chemicals’ Are Lurking in Your Air Fryer—Here Are the Best Non-Toxic Options
You see a recipe for “healthy” chicken fingers, pick up all the organic ingredients at the grocery store, put in the effort, and pop them in the air fryer until they get that perfect outer crisp. Air fryers are 70 percent healthier than frying in oil due to their fool-proof cooking technique without the use of fat- and calorie-dense oils. But chances are, you haven’t considered what your air fryer is made out of, and how its non-stick coating might be leaching chemicals into your food.
Those seemingly healthy homemade chicken tenders we mentioned above? If cooked in the wrong air fryer, you could be adding extra PFAS to your meals, and heightening your risk for some cancers (1), decreased fertility, thyroid disease, and developmental delays, among other health issues (2).
Why Are Air Fryers Toxic?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS) are used in non-stick coating on many cookware, bakeware, and kitchen appliances, including air fryers. You’ve probably heard about the health concerns linked to Teflon, the brand name of the most famous non-stick coating, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is a type of PFAS chemical. PTFE coatings (like Teflon) use a binding agent called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is linked to various health concerns (3). Other non-stick cookware is made with perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which is another toxic PFAS chemical.
What Are PFAS and Why Are They Bad?
PFAS are manmade chemicals that don’t break down for decades, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” When heated to extreme temperatures over 400 degrees Fahrenheit, PFAS, which are often present in non-stick coating, can seep into food and into our blood, kidneys, and liver. They’re present in products as unassuming as sparkling water, and researchers have also found them in drinking water, household dust, rainwater and soil across the planet, in the ocean, at both poles, and simply floating in the atmosphere. As such, a 2007 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that PFAS chemicals could be detected in the blood of 98 percent of the US population.
If that all sounds a bit alarming, there are things we can do to lessen our exposure to PFAS—especially when it comes to how we prepare our food. Whether you’re in the market for a new air fryer or you’ve been meaning to buy one, it’s wise to consider a non-toxic air fryer to keep unnecessary PFAS out of your food and your body.
What Is a Non-Toxic Air Fryer?
For an air fryer to be deemed non-toxic, it must be free of harmful chemicals and surfactants including PTFE (Teflon), PFOS, PFOA, PFAS, BPA, lead, and cadmium. In their place, non-toxic air fryers use materials like ceramic, stainless steel, glass, enameled steel, and chrome-plated steel to achieve a non-stick effect without the use of harmful chemicals.They