When a phenolic handle is overheated, it may omit an odour. The odour arises from cresols in the phenolic. Cresols are common in the environment but usually occur at low levels as they break down quickly. They occur most commonly from vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke. At very low levels, they are not considered harmful. Breathing high levels of cresols for a short time can result in irritation of the nose and throat.
The best way to avoid the release of cresols from phenolic cookware handles is cook at recommended temperatures. Avoid using high heat. Keep gas flames low so that there is
no direct contact with the flame and the cookware handle. Do not allow gas flames to extend beyond the diameter of the pan base.
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