Air Fryers | Are Oil-Free Fryers Really Safe for Our Health?

by Shamsul
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Are Oil-Free Fryers Really Safe for Our Health?

Hot air fryers, also called oil-free fryers or Air fryers, are practical and available in many homes. But more consumers are wondering about their safety, and a wave of videos is now denouncing their cancer-causing potential. What is it really? We take details from Xavier Coumoul, professor of biology and toxicology at Paris Cité University.


1- Air Fryer: how do these oil-free fryers work?

2- Advantages: how can their use be beneficial?

3- Can AirFryers be dangerous?

4- What about the cancer-causing risks of these devices?

5- What precautions should be taken to limit the risks?

Hot air fryers or oil-free fryers, commonly called Air Fryers, are becoming increasingly popular with consumers who are concerned about protecting their health. What is the promise of these devices? Quickly provide crispy, low-fat foods. However, numerous videos have emerged on TikTok and Instagram in recent months, denouncing their cancer-causing potential. Are these new types of fryers really dangerous for our health? Response from Xavier Coumoul, professor of toxicology and biochemistry at Paris Cité University and member of the Nutrition Physical Activity Cancer Research Network (NACRe Network).

Air Fryer: How Do These Oil-Free Fryers Work?

Unlike traditional fryers, air fryers do not immerse food in boiling oil to cook it. Instead, small convection ovens fit on a work surface and simulate cooking in oil—minus the oil and the smell of frying!

You place the food in a perforated basket inside the appliance, and then hot air circulates at high speed around it (up to 70 km/h), inducing rapid and even cooking.

Note: Air Fryers allow you to cook a wide variety of foods, including fries, vegetables, meat, fish, and more.

Advantages: How Can Their Use Be Beneficial?

One of the most significant selling points of air fryers is their capability to produce crispy foods with minimal added oil. Some devices, for example, promise to reduce the amount of fat from foods by up to 75% or even 90%. This is an attractive parameter for those wishing to limit their consumption of lipids. Especially, saturated fats, which are often associated with health problems such as cardiovascular diseases.

Oil-free fryers also have the advantage of cooking food more quickly compared to traditional cooking methods (oven or frying pan). Therefore, they can save a few minutes of preparation and cooking time, which is particularly useful when you have a busy schedule or don’t have a particular appetite for cooking.

As mentioned above, they are exceptionally versatile and can prepare a wide variety of foods, including fries, vegetables, meat, fish, snacks, and desserts. They are also generally simple to use and clean.

Can Air Fryers Be Dangerous?

Air Fryers are generally considered safe when used correctly. As with any kitchen appliance, they nevertheless present certain risks:

There is obviously a risk of burns if you touch the hot surfaces of the Air Fryer while it is operating or within minutes after cooking has finished.

An air fryer can overheat if you use it for longer periods or if the ventilation vents are blocked. This may damage the device and cause a fire.

If you don’t uses Air Fryer correctly or place too close to flammable materials, it may also cause a fire. Hence, it is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never leave the device unattended when it is in use!

As you may understand, Air Fryers still require a small quantity of oil. Therefore, it is important to handle this oil with care and not overload the device to avoid splashing.

Finally, if you cook different types of foods in your Air Fryer without cleaning it properly between uses, there is a risk of cross-contamination between certain foods.

What About the Cancer-Causing Risks of These Devices?

More and more videos are circulating on social networks to denounce the presence of potentially cancer-causing pollutants on the walls of oil-free fryers. PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances), including PFOS (perfluoro octane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).) are particularly singled out, as is bisphenol A (BPA). Do these names sound familiar to you? No wonder because their presence on the coatings of our non-stick pans has recently made headlines. They could migrate onto food and thus put our health at risk.

PFOS, PFAO, BPA: What Are the Risks?

PFOS, also known as perennial pollutants, have primarily contributed to the success of certain kitchen appliances and utensils thanks to their non-stick, waterproofing and resistance to high heat properties. However, their golden age is well and truly over: PFOS and PFOA (the two best-known PFAS) are subject to strict regulations today. The production and use of PFOS have been restricted internationally since 2009. Moreover, PFOA has been banned from import, export and production since 2020 (source 1). On December 1, 2023, (IARC) the International Agency for Research on Cancer finally classified PFOA as “carcinogenic to humans” and PFOS as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

Bisphenol A is a synthetic substance commonly in use for the industrial manufacture of plastics. Much criticized, it has been recognized as an endocrine disruptor since 2017 and could, in particular, cause fertility problems. As specified by EFSA (the European Food Safety Authority), its use of materials in contact with food is still authorized within the European Union. Provides it respects a specific tolerable daily intake (source 2). To date, its carcinogenic nature has not been demonstrated in humans, but institutions recommend limiting the exposure of infants, young children and pregnant women.

Can Our Air Fryers Contain PFOS, PFAO or BPA Residue?

In theory, the non-stick coatings of recently released Air Fryers cannot contain PFOS or PFOA residues. As for BPA, its presence is tolerated within a specific limit. We can nevertheless wonder… In practice, are the baskets of our Air Fryers likely to contain PFOS and PFOA residues? “It’s possible or not. No study has yet looked at these oil-free fryers and we can only base ourselves on extrapolations,” replies Professor Xavier Coumoul. A reassuring point, nevertheless: in January 2024, UFC Que Choisir looked into the case of eight pans made of Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and was able to confirm that all complied with the regulations in force (source 3)! We can, therefore, reasonably assume that the same is true for Air Fryers.

Can Our Air Fryers Contain Other Toxic PFAS?

As you will have to understood that PFOS and PFOA are ban now. Still, PFAS are a large family. Today, there are more than 4,000 chemical compounds with diverse properties are potentially in use in the non-stick coatings on the baskets of our oil-free fryers. During its analyses, UFC Que Choisir, for example, identified 17, some of which were suspected of being dangerous, such as PFBS (Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid) and PFHxA (perfluorohexanoic acid).

Professor Xavier Coumoul; however, wants to be reassuring. “There is no evidence to indicate that cooking with an Air Fryer would be more risky than cooking in the oven or a pan. For any toxic particles to separate from the device, temperatures around 300°C would have to be reached. However, most Air Fryers do not exceed 220°C.” And to emphasize: “If we take the example of non-stick pans, no scientific study has yet demonstrated that chemical particles could detach from non-stick coatings in good condition, contaminate the food we ingest and put us in danger by the same occasion.

In summary, there is no need to panic. Oil-free fryers do not present any significant risk, provided that you use your appliance correctly and that the lining of its basket is of good quality and in good condition.

Please note: Many models display the words “PFSA-free” and/or “BPA-free”. For more peace of mind, you can opt for hot air fryers with a stainless steel (inox) or ceramic interior!

Towards A Total Ban On PFAS In Hot Air Fryers?

On May 30, the Senate adopted at first reading the bill aimed at prohibiting the manufacture, import, export, and supply on the market of cosmetics and clothing containing PFAS from January 1, 2026 (except protective clothing). All textiles will also be affected from 2030. Kitchen utensils and appliances (pots, pans, fryers with or without oil, etc.). However, it has been excluded from this bill by an amendment to “give the necessary time “to French industries “to enable them to find satisfactory alternatives” (source 4).

What Precautions Should Be Taken to Limit the Risks?

To use a hot air fryer safely and limit potential risks, follow these few precautions:

1- You Opt for a good quality Air Fryer that is certified PFAS and BPA-free.

2- Place the air fryer on a stable, heat-resistant surface to prevent falling.

3- Always put food in the basket to avoid it from coming into contact with the heating elements.

4- Do not overload the basket too much; otherwise, the air will not circulate well, and it will distureb the cooking.

5- Do not leave the air fryer operating unattended and stay nearby while cooking.

6- Avoid using metal utensils or abrasive sponges, which could damage the baskets’ non-stick coating. Instead, I prefer wooden or silicone accessories.

7- Ensure, you place the air fryer in a well-ventilated area to avoid the blockadge the vents.

8- The pan, basket and accessories inside the AirFryer become hot during use. Be careful when handling them and use oven mitts or potholders if necessary. Also, avoid putting your head too close to the machine when removing the basket.

9- Only plug a few appliances into the same electrical outlet as your air fryer to avoid potential electrical overloads.

10- Clean your air fryer regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid a buildup of food residue that could cause a fire.

Furthermore, you are better off using this type of fryer in moderation and varying the cooking methods and types of food!

Would you like more advice? Do you have good practices to share? Please feel free to express yourself in the comments. Also, if you want help in writing content to drive more traffic and boost conversions, please get in touch through Contact our team or send your requirements here.





National Consumer Institute

Philips Air Fryer User Manual

1- PFAS: very persistent chemical substances, Anses, April 1, 2024

2- Bisphenol A, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), November 22, 2023

3- Teflon pans: non-stick but with PFAS, UFC Que Choisir, January 31, 2024

4- Proposed law aimed at protecting the population from the risks linked to perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Vie Publique, April 5, 2024

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