For me, that time is NOW! I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to replace all of my cookware that is in DESPERATE need of replacing. There are many pots and pans that have taken up permanent residence in my cabinet but I never use them. I see them, and I know I wouldn’t dream of cooking with them but, there they sit.
The reason I don’t cook with them?… they’re non-stick and some of them are looking a bit unhealthy. They have scrapes on the surface and I worry that their coating will end up in our food. In actuality, the flakes are inert, but those non-stick pans can actually omit toxic fumes when they get too hot.
These aluminum pans, coated in polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE – also known as Teflon), emit fumes when subjected to high heat. Inhaling these fumes can actually cause flu-like symptoms. And although the long-term effects haven’t been studied, we do know that exposure to PTFE can create problems like low birth-weight babies, thyroid and liver issues, as well as weakened immune systems.
The better options for cookwares are actually stainless steel for stove-top cooking and glass bakeware for the oven. Cast iron is another choice. I know there are more and more “green cookwares” becoming available and those will definitely be on my list of things to research too.
In the meanwhile, if you feel “stuck with your non-stick cookware”, there are a few tips to lessen your exposure to the fumes:
- Cook at lower temperatures and don’t pre-heat your pans at high temps. It may take a little extra time, but it’s worth it.
- Never bake at over 500 degrees.
- Use your exhaust fan.
- (A little side note too: these fumes are highly toxic to birds, so keep your feathered friends far from the kitchen.)
Over the holidays, my family gifted me with more “cash than prizes”… and I think it’s due time Mom Goes Green uses that cash, makes good on her self-promise and kicks that nasty cookware to the curb!
(BTW… if you have recommendations, I would looove to hear them!)