4 Safe Alternatives To Nonstick Teflon Cookware

Don’t let toxic pots and pans spoil your meal.

March 20, 2017
Teflon is toxic. Here are the safer alternatives to cook with instead.

The nonstick industry seems to be putting us all in a sticky situation. A string of studies have found links between perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and female infertility, low sperm count, high cholesterol, and thyroid disease. (Here are 9 thyroid damager hanging out in your home.The chemical PFOA is listed as a likely carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and persists in the environment, and in your body, indefinitely. However, there are no current restrictions on the use of PFOA in consumer products, and it is used extensively in nonstick cookware.

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Chemical manufacturer DuPont uses PFOA in nonstick Teflon, but says the chemical is not present in the finished product. However, even studies done by DuPont have found that Teflon and similar nonstick services emit six toxic gases under high heat. The Environmental Working Group's testing found has found that some nonstick surfaces break down under just medium heat (325 degrees). These heated nonstick surface fumes have been known to be harmful to pet birds, according to the ASPCA. Perhaps you're familiar with the expression, "canary in a coal mine?"

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To create a more ecofriendly kitchen, one of the top things you can do is phase out Teflon and other non-stick cookware. Get in the habit of reading labels closely: a lot of nonstick pans will say they have no Teflon, but they're still coated with PTFE, which is essentially the same thing. To steer clear of PTFE-based coatings, avoid pans advertised as Fluron, Supra, Greblon, Xylon, Duracote, Resistal, Autograph, Unison, Swiss Diamond, and T-Fal. 

Here are the best non-toxic alternatives to chemical nonstick cookware. 

 Enameled Cast Iron Skillets are a safer alternative to Teflon.
Photograph courtesy of Amazon.com
Enameled Cast Iron

For skillets with a non-toxic nonstick surface, try enameled cast iron, which is basically a glass coating over iron. It's naturally nonstick, and it's great for roasting meat and for making tomato sauces (which will react with regular cast iron and eat away at the pans' seasoning). 

Lodge enameled cast iron skillets are American-made and has a good track record for safety and durability.

In addition to Lodge, both Le Creuset and Staub sell enameled cast iron, and have lifetime warranties on their products. 

Clad stainless steel saucepans are a safer alternative to Teflon.
Photograph courtesy of Amazon.com
Stainless Steel

For saucepans and pots, look for clad stainless-steel pots, which means that the pots and pans are made from layers of heat-conducting metals, such as aluminum or copper, that are stainless steel, which doesn't react with food doesn’t pose any health threats. 

All-clad stainless steel saucepans feature stainless steel over an aluminum core. 

Glass is a safer alternative to Teflon.
Photograph courtesy of Amazon.com

Glass is a safe and affordable alternative to nonstick cookware.

These baking vessels by Pyrex are pre-heated oven, microwave, freezer, refrigerator, and dishwasher safe, and comes with BPA-free lids so the set can do double-duty as food storage containers. 

Ceramic, also known as stoneware, is a safer alternative to Teflon bakeware.
Photograph courtesy of Amazon.com

Stoneware, as in ceramic, is another great alternative to non-stick when it comes to baking—it conducts heat evenly, and can't be beat when it comes to casseroles and cookies.

Try the Emile Henry Baker for lasagna and casseroles, and the Rada Cutlery stoneware cookie sheet for pastries.