Beware of Harmful Cookware
Teflon, and other non-stick cookware surfaces, is touted as a time-saving coating to aid in fast clean-up after cooking. However, when these chemical surfaces are heated, they can give off fumes that could potentially sicken anyone in the home over time. The best way to avoid exposure to these toxic fumes is to get rid of every piece of cookware that has Teflon or other non-stick coatings.
Statistics on Non-Stick Coatings
90 percent of all aluminum cookware sold in the United States has a non-stick coating, according to the Cookware Manufacturers Association (Cooks Illustrated, September 2002). Other research found that pet birds can be extremely affected by the chemicals given off by heated Teflon. Additionally, these chemicals have also been found in humans, and many of them do not break down at all in the environment.
If you’re concerned about the effects of Teflon, consider these cookware alternatives.
Stainless steel actually is better at browning food than Teflon-coated pans. Many people dread cleaning up a stainless steel pan. However, the truth is that they’re actually pretty easily cleaned — if you take the right steps to cook in the first place. To cook properly on a stainless steel pan, first place the pan on the heat source and make sure it heats thoroughly. Then, add in some oil, again waiting for it to heat through all the way. Next, add in your meat, veggies, etc. and cook it through. When clean-up time comes, those extra minutes heating the pan will pay off as it should be relatively easy to clean. If not, let it soak overnight.
Cast iron pans are another safe alternative to Teflon and non-stick cookware. To ensure easy clean-up, be sure to pre-heat the cast iron pan thoroughly, similar to the stainless steel method.
Clean up is a little more intense with cast iron pans, but worth it for the overall safety of using them. The first rule is to never use soap on a cast-iron pan; it’ll absorb the ‘flavor’ of the soap and has the potential to ruin future meals. Instead, clean a cast iron pan with a bristle brush to eliminate any leftover food or oil. To dry the pan, place it back on the stove and heat it for a few minutes. After it’s dry, add in a few drops of oil and heat it again before wiping clean. These steps will ensure a clean pan minus the common wear-and-tear erosion cast iron pans experience over time.
Other Cooking Surfaces
Ceramic titanium and porcelain enameled cast iron are two great alternatives to Teflon and other non-stick cookware coating. These types of coatings are even dishwasher safe, which is a big plus for many home chefs. As an added bonus, they’re actually better at browning foods than Teflon and other non-stick surfaces.
When it’s time to shop for new cookware, consider the dangers of Teflon and non-stick coatings. Instead, stick with any of the other great alternatives to ensure the overall health and well-being of everyone in your home.