Chemicals found in plasticizers (non-stick surfaces, plastics, fabric protectors, etc.), pesticides, fungicides, and industrial products negatively impact endocrine function and, therefore, hormonal balance. Creating hormonal balance (and preventing chemicals that may disrupt it) helps optimize reproductive and sexual function, which makes it a vital step if you aim to have a healthy baby.

Today’s article will focus on how non-stick cookware affects infertility and how you can avoid the chemicals in these products throughout your fertility journey.

Chemicals in Non-Stick Cookware

Non-stick cookware such as Teflon – has been shown to cause congenital disabilities, adversely affect the immune system and disrupt thyroid function — one can naturally conclude cooking with non-stick cookware utensils could be dangerous to your health.1  Teflon and other non-stick coated cookware used in the cookware industry are made from either a silicone base or a fluorocarbon (P.T.F.E.) base.2 Fluorocarbon coatings are applied in one or two layers, plus a “sealer” or topcoat. Heating fluorocarbons causes a gradual breakdown of the fluoropolymers into various other chemical compounds, which are released into the air—these fumes have been shown to kill household birds—and this is not all.3 DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon, acknowledges that the fumes given off by non-stick coatings can also sicken people, in a condition called ‘polymer fume fever, which can be erroneously diagnosed as the common flu.4 No one has ever studied the incidence of illness among users of the billions of non-stick pots and pans sold worldwide or the long-term effects of the sickness. However, given the chemical cocktail, Teflon is toxic enough to kill birds [2]. Consider what it must do to something as small as the tiniest embryo. If the fumes were not enough, once the Teflon coating becomes lightly scratched, it flakes and is often combined with food during cooking.5 These toxic compounds gain free access into the body in ‘large quantities,’ besides the toxic fumes. 9/81 Unfortunately, when it comes to non-stick cookware like Teflon, its chemicals are also used in so many household items and industries (some of which you may be completely unaware) that it is difficult, but not impossible, to reduce exposure.6 Industrial uses for Teflon fluoropolymers include the following areas: architectural, fabrics, automotive uses, cabling materials, food processing, pharmaceutical, and biotech manufacturing, and semiconductor manufacturing. These products include industrial and medical tubing, films, chemical linings, coatings on electrical insulation, fabrics, metals, electronic data insulation, and telecommunications. They can also be found in many different products, including:7
  • Automotive products
  • Carpet
  • Cleaning products
  • Clothing, including kids
  • Computer accessories
  • Cookware
  • Fashion accessories
  • Furniture
  • Gardening products
  • Luggage
  • Medical supplies
  • Miscellaneous household products
  • Music supplies
  • Paints/coatings
  • Personal care products
  • Pet supplies
  • Sporting and outdoor gear

Safety Precautions You Can Apply

While it can be daunting to know that these chemicals are essentially found in almost all everyday household items, there certainly are ways to ensure your safety from these chemicals, and these are as follows:8

  • Reduce your exposure to toxic Teflon by replacing non-stick cookware & other household items
  • Replace all non-stick cookware and equipment in your home with enameled cast iron cookware and wooden/bamboo utensils
  • When you purchase furniture or carpet, decline optional treatments for stain and dirt resistance, and insist on products that have not been pre-treated with chemicals. Most of these chemical treatments contain fluoropolymers that might contaminate your home and family;
  • Avoid buying clothing with labels that indicate it has been coated to repel water, stains, or dirt. Many of these coatings are fluoropolymers. By buying alternatives, you will help shrink the fluoropolymer market and the associated global contamination;
  • Minimize packaged food and greasy fast foods in your diet. These may be sold in containers coated with fluoropolymers to keep grease from soaking through the packaging. Fluoropolymers are used in various containers, including French-fry boxes, pizza boxes, and microwave popcorn bags.
  • Mainly consume organic, fresh, unprocessed produce delivered in nature’s intended package.
  • Avoid buying cosmetics and other personal care products with the words ‘fluoro’ or ‘perfluoro’ on the ingredient list. Products that might contain fluoropolymers include lotions, pressed powders, nail polish, and shaving cream.

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  1. Ali Sultan, S. A., Ahmed Khan, F., Wahab, A., Fatima, B., Khalid, H., Bahader, A., Safi, S. Z., Selvaraj, C., Ali, A., Alomar, S. Y., & Imran, M. (2023). Assessing Leaching of Potentially Hazardous Elements from Cookware during Cooking: A Serious Public Health Concern. Toxics, 11(7), 640.
  2. Cousins, I. T., Goldenman, G., Herzke, D., Lohmann, R., Miller, M., Ng, C. A., Patton, S., Scheringer, M., Trier, X., Vierke, L., Wang, Z., & DeWitt, J. C. (2019). The concept of essential use for determining when uses of PFASs can be phased out. Environmental Science. Processes & Impacts, 21(11), 1803–1815.
  3. Sajid, M., & Ilyas, M. (2017). PTFE-coated non-stick cookware and toxicity concerns: A perspective. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International, 24(30), 23436–23440.
  4. Correia, M. S., & Horowitz, B. Z. (2023). Polymer Fume Fever. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  5. Luo, Y., Gibson, C. T., Chuah, C., Tang, Y., Naidu, R., & Fang, C. (2022). Raman imaging for the identification of Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics released from non-stick cookware. Science of The Total Environment, 851, 158293.
  6. Namazi, H. (2017). Polymers in our daily life. BioImpacts : BI, 7(2), 73–74.
  7. Glüge, J., Scheringer, M., Cousins, I. T., DeWitt, J. C., Goldenman, G., Herzke, D., Lohmann, R., Ng, C. A., Trier, X., & Wang, Z. (2020). An overview of the uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 22(12), 2345–2373.
  8. The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (2018). Guide to the Safe Handling of Fluoropolymer Resins. The Plastics Industry Association, 5th Ed. Retrieved from: