6. Non-Stick Cookware And Cancer

Pots, pans, and other cookware made with a non-stick coating (Teflon) have been controversial for many years. The main chemical in non-stick coatings is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is known to cause cancer.

The question has been whether enough PFOA gets into the human body from pans to pose a risk. Some experts believe that PFOA and as many as 15 other chemicals can be released when cooking with these coatings, particularly at high heat. Other concerns involve whether the chemicals can get into food once the surface becomes scratched and nicked over time.

The EPA has called on manufacturers to phase out PFOA, but it hasn’t happened yet. The takeaway: Don’t use non-stick pans to cook foods over 300 degrees, and toss them when the coating gets scratched.

Safer substitute: Glass, cast iron, copper, and ceramic or porcelain-coated pans are all safe. There are also lines of non-stick cookware made with other surface coatings (often ceramic, titanium, or both) that are PFOA-free.

This list was written by Melanie Haiken for Caring and was last updated on October 9, 2012. Photo by theladymargaret/ Flickr.

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