Using Non-Toxic Non-Stick Cookware

Using Non-Toxic Non-Stick Cookware
Stove and Pot

Time to switch to healthier cookware!

Today we have, Jakob Barry as our guest blogger. 

While standing over your stove-top sautéing dinner consider this: the non-stick pan you are using may be harmful to your health!

True, department stores and manufacturers don’t make a practice of placing warnings on cookware but the unfortunate reality is the majority of standard non-stick pans emit toxic chemicals at high temperatures.

The danger:

Non-stick is a coating composed of synthetic polymers that are members of the Perfluorochemical (PFC) family. It should be noted that PFCs are not just found in non-stick pans but in many products from carpets to water-repellent gear and pizza box coating. However, unlike reducing household allergens like mold or mildew, PFCs are made to last and are difficult to erase from the environment.

Regarding non-stick pans the polymers become dangerous under extreme heat (260 °C or 500 °F) as the chemical breaks down into a gaseous state, enters the air or food being prepared, and finds its way into our bodies. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even if PFC intake ceases completely it takes years to flush them out.

Health concerns:

Since the first non-stick pans were marketed in the mid 20th century fumes from cooking with non-stick pans containing PFCs were known to kill household birds and cause a type of flu in people called “polymer fume fever.” Despite the incidents non-stick was not considered dangerous enough to ban.

However, the latest studies show high levels of PFCs in the blood of most Americans, a sign of widespread exposure. Although the findings are prompting manufacturers in recent years to begin phasing out polymers that release PFCs into the environment the following health concerns are believed to already be attributed to the chemical:

  • Smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Liver damage
  • Abnormal thyroid hormone levels
  • Liver inflammation
  • Weakened immune defense against disease
  • Thyroid damage

Alternative cookware:

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re worried about how you’ll ever cook again. Don’t fret, as the situation is not that dire and feasible options exist.

First, there are new eco-friendly companies producing pots and pans that are non-stick and non-toxic. They are sometimes pricey but are worth the investment.

Second, cookware made from other substances is easy to find and include:

  • Copper: conducts heat well and has a high recycling rate.
  • Stainless steel: A good heat conductor and 100% recyclable
  • Aluminum: Conducts heat very well and is 100% recyclable.
  • Cast Iron: Heavier and long-lasting, it takes longer to heat up but slow to cool. (Yes, some iron will enter cooked food but iron is an important nutrient so there’s little harm.)

Finally, if you are in a real bind and can’t afford to replace your old non-stick pans there are ways to manage. For example, remember that hazardous PFC fumes only seep out when the temperature reaches a certain point. Two ways to prevent this is don’t preheat the pan and try not to use anything bigger than a medium flame when preparing a meal.

Bottom line: Eventually, when the opportunity presents itself, replace the old kitchen ware with a healthy alternative.


About Author: Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to carpenters and fencing contractors, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn “Stove and Pot” /

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About the Author

Jakob Barry is a green living journalist for helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to carpenters and fencing contractors, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Top 10 Posts and Blog Statistics for March 2011 : Become a Healthier You | April 2, 2011
  2. Non-Stick Cookware That Is Non-Toxic As Well! | March 7, 2011
  1. Samantha says:

    Why do I personally choose to use non stick cookware? To make it easy for me to clean all my cookware especially if I burned something. However, I never expected that these easy to clean cookware can cause trouble on our part. I wonder if you could actually recommend non-stick cookware that can be safe to us?

  2. Budy Review says:

    Nice info..i,m looking for Alternative cookware..this useful for me..thanks

  3. Bryan says:

    I’ve always been wondering if my non stick cookware is safe. Heard from some that non stick cookware is cancerous. I’ve never known about PFC before reading this article. Something to definitely look into.

  4. Alex says:

    I had no idea that the non-sticking cookware is actually toxic and can lead to so many problems in time. Happily I only use one frying non-stick pan that I’ll try to change whenever I`ll afford it. You are giving out great advice and I want to thank you for that. Keep up the good work.

    • Hi Alex,

      I need to replace mine when I can afford it too. Something, I’ll be saving up for. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Take care,

  5. misslycia says:

    This post was right on time! I told my parents that I need to overhaul their kitchen ware, because they are super old. I am sure they fall into the toxic category. Time to renew! Great info.

  6. Jakob Barry says:

    Thanks for being interested in the article folks…
    Another tip: if you do replace your pots and pans with ones made from healthier material be sure not to use hard metal utensils when cooking as it may scratch the surface. But check with the manufacturer on purchase.

  7. Anne Sales says:

    Wow, I learn everyday! It seems that most things today have a hidden health hazard. However, I will not pan-ic (pun intended!). Will follow your advice and buy eco-friendly, health-promoting cookware from now on.

  8. Tai says:

    I’ve needed to change my cookware for sometime now. I love Le Creuset cookware but it’s so darn expensive! Thanks for pointing out the health concerns. I guess I’m having take out tonight.

  9. Henway says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention! I never knew I had to pay attention to what cookware I used. I’m planning to move to a new house next month, so I’ll make sure to replace our old stuff =)

  10. Hi Jakob,

    This is great information! I currently have anodized non-stick cookware and I am wondering if this is okay. Either way, I’ll be looking into purchasing new cookware in the very near future.

    Thanks for such an informative article!