Is It Safe To Use Non-Stick Cookware?

There is a lot of discussion going on about the safety of using non-stick cookware. It started when a study by the advocacy group found that non-stick pots and pans could reach 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 C) in 3-5 minutes, releasing 15 harmful gases and chemicals, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. Non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas, phosgene.

DuPont, the manufacturer of Teflon Non-Stick, acknowledges that the fumes given off by non-stick coatings can also sicken people, in a condition called "polymer fume fever", which can be erroneously diagnosed as the common flu. No one has ever studied the incidence of illness among users of the billions of non-stick pots and pans sold around the world, or the long-term effects from the sickness.

While DuPont acknowledges that its nonstick coatings begin to deteriorate when the cookware reaches about 500 degrees, it notes that those temperatures are higher than typical cooking heats. And while it admits that birds may be harmed by the fumes, the company maintains that its pans are safe under normal use.

I am still using my non-stick cookware until now, but if I cook something with it, I don't let it sit on the stove for long before adding food. Because if you let sit on the stove too long, the temperature will rise high enough to emit chemical fumes. Avoid cooking at high temperatures with nonstick cookware. Use low to medium temperatures instead.