You may think that nonstick cookware is your best friend in the kitchen, but we’d consider it more of a frenemy. Sure, it can make cooking quicker and easier, but nonstick cookware also emits toxic fumes as it heats up, including perflueorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a carcinogen. If you want to keep your kitchen toxin-free, we suggest taking these precautions.
Inspect any nonstick cookware. The first step towards having a cabinet full of safe pots and pans is removing the chemical-coated ones. Check your current pots and pans. If they’re made with a coating of nonstick material and have any scratches, toss them. If they're nonstick and they're not scratched, they're generally considered okay to hold onto. Just make sure to keep an eye on them, and if they become scratched at any point, toss them.
Note: If you want to be extra safe, consider tossing anything nonstick whether it’s damaged or not. The EPA is working towards eliminating all products containing PFOA (including non-stick cooking pans) from the market by 2015, so things are moving in that direction anyway!
Go shopping for replacements. If you had to part ways with any of your pots and pans, it’s time to shop! We suggest the following alternative, uncoated materials:
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Ceramic titanium
- Porcelain enameled cast iron
Skip the second-hand shops. We usually love garage sales and second-hand shops, but cookware is one type of item that you shouldn’t buy used. It’s pretty common for second-hand cookware to be scratched, and you won’t know if they’re nonstick or not. The extra cash spent is worth the peace of mind!