One of the key features that make air fryers so popular is their nonstick coating, which prevents food from sticking to the basket and makes cleaning up a breeze. As a study published in 2022 in Science of The Total Environment highlights, cooking with nonstick coatings like Teflon, commonly used in air fryers and cookware, can release microplastic particles into your food, which could have an impact on your health. The tiny plastic particles, less than five millimeters in size, are made in the production of Teflon and could pose unexpected health risks. Researchers found that thousands to millions of these particles can be released during cooking.
According to the Environmental Working Group, Teflon belongs to PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” which have a long-lasting impact on the environment and have been linked to serious health issues, including cancer and reduced birth weight. The release of microplastics from Teflon-coated cookware raises concerns about unintentional exposure to these harmful substances. The researchers observed that Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics were released from non-stick cookware even when there was no visible damage. This suggests that the non-stick coating gradually wears down over time, releasing tiny particles. The researchers also found that the amount of Teflon microplastics and nanoplastics released increased with cooking temperature, indicating that the non-stick coating is more likely to break down at higher temperatures, resulting in the release of more particles.