Know (and admit!) when cookware needs to be replaced

ckware collFor 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 fcast irn pnumes:

  • 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!)

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10 thoughts on “Know (and admit!) when cookware needs to be replaced

  1. Hi Doreen — I applaud the idea of creating a safer home, and because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at Teflon. This article highlights what they found — the bottom line is that you can use Teflon without worry.

    I’d truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Cheers, Sara.

  2. Lodge cast iron is my choice when I need a non-stick pan. Trust me, there is a learning curve, but I can scamble an egg in mine no problem now. Otherwise we have all stainless steel pots and pans. I have one lone holdout teflon pan, but I have not used it for a long time now.
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday =-.

  3. Sara – I appreciate your response, as well as directing us to the Consumer Report findings, but I can’t help but notice that they still make the same recommendations I point out in the post. I also continue to have concerns about long-term effects. It’s not addressed. This still gives me concern because we know these toxins can stay in the body and accumulate for years. When given the choice, my recommendation will always remain to err on the side of caution. Please always feel free to share more information. Thanks!

    Shannon – thanks for the recommendation! Will certainly take a closer look!

  4. I’m totally in the same boat as you right now, ack! Gotta toss out my scratched up non-stick pans! I’m curious what you’ll end up buying. I’m leaning towards cast iron. Lodge does seem to be the more reasonably priced option (thinking about getting the 12″ skillet and the 7-quart dutch oven whose lid will fit on the skillet).
    .-= Akemi S.´s last blog ..A Shout-Out to legacylinens on Etsy =-.

  5. I didn’t realize that toxic fumes come from non-stick pans. We recently bought a “nice” set of non-stick pans. It took a long time for us to decide between the stainless steel and the non-stick. Looks like we should have gone with the stainless steel! 🙁

  6. Good info as usual Doreen! I too have been in the same boat. I’ve tried stainless and they are just such a mess to clean up especially when my husband gets a hold of them! He loves to “sear” food.

    I finally got a Green Pan for my skillet cooking and for the most part I like it. I don’t think I have cared for it very well so the non-stick properties are not as nice as they could be but I still feel better about using it than my old teflon coated pans.

    P.S. I liked your response to the Dupont rep!

    .-= Kimberly Aardal´s last blog ..Most Common Baby Names – Are You Trendy or Unique =-.

  7. One thing to think about, when buying new anything, think about the people that don’t have, and pass on to them what your not going to use anymore rather then taking up space in our home, be it cloths, blankets, cookware, as we all know the 3 R’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
    One random act of kindness at a time.
    .-= Gerry aka KOTO´s last blog ..Thai Immigration Office on Soi 5 in Jomtien =-.

  8. Hi Doreen – can our old pots & pans be recycled? I know they can be given to charity for someone else to use, but I HATE the thought of just throwing them in the garbage.

  9. Jennifer – sometimes the information can be bothersome but it’s better to know the facts, right? 🙂

    Kimberly – thanks! And Green Pans, huh? Not happy with them overall but you feel more “at ease?” And yes, I find it interesting that the DuPont rep never replied either!

    Gerry – I am ALWAYS an advocate of donating what we no longer need or use… I just worry about making sure that what I “pass on” is also “good” for others.

    Annette – I (unfortunately) have never heard of a good way to recycle cookware.

  10. Pingback: Using Not-Toxic Non-stick Cookware | Become a Healthier You

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