Nonstick Cookware: Teflon Not as Safe as Proclaimed, but There are Alternatives!

I know how much many of us love the handiness of non-stick coated pans. They don’t require as much greasing, and they are easier to clean up. Unfortunately though, while handy, the substances used to make most of the nonstick cookware you find in stores have been shown to also give off toxins that are not good for us, and they pollute our water supplies and environment. Some of these toxins are in a class called “PFAS” and they don’t easily break down, and can persist in your body and in the environment for decades.

There are some toxins that are released from cooking with non-stick cookware on too high a heat. These noxious gases, when released, are particularly potent and problematic.

But even at so-called “proper temperatures,” nonstick cookware can create problems, leaching chemicals into your foods as they cook, or if you accidentally scrape off some of the material when stirring.

Animal studies have shown that the base chemicals used to make Teflon, one of the most commonly used nonstick materials, can cause:

  • growth defects,
  • cancer,
  • liver damage,
  • immune system damage, and
  • have even caused death in lab rats and monkeys.

An EPA advisory panel also reports it as a “likely carcinogen” in humans. 

Promising Alternatives

The good news is there are some non-stick coatings that look more promising. One is made by a company called Scanpan. They make a full line of pans that uses a whole new coating technique that they call GreenTek, which allows them to bond the nonstick surface without using the noxious chemicals known to be of greatest concern. Their classic line uses a titanium ceramic surface that can even withstand metal cooking utensils. They are made from 100% recycled materials. I use their pans and LOVE them. They are a bit pricey but very sturdy and long-lasting.

Best Cooking Materials

While Scanpan looks promising, we know what the best non-toxic materials are, they include: stainless steel, enamel, ceramic, glass, and cast iron. These are non-toxic options that should be your main staples for cooking. A little olive or avocado oil at medium heat will do just fine to help lubricate the pans for food!

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