I can’t believe it, but we just got rid of all of our non-stick cookware.
I hadn’t planned to do it yet. It was actually going to be one of the last things we replaced… mainly because we had a REALLY nice set that was given to us when we got married, and I loved them.
Why We Decided to Get Rid of Our Non-Stick Cookware
A few weeks ago we sat down and watched The Devil We Know on Netflix, and, surprisingly, my husband went on a chunking spree.
I say surprisingly because I’m the one who usually leads the efforts of going “green” or choosing healthier options for our family. He’s just really awesome and goes along for the ride. It was my night to choose the movie too, and I’m the one who chose that documentary. I don’t even think he really wanted to watch it.
The moment the movie was over, he went straight into our kitchen and tossed pretty much everything we owned. Seriously… we were left with one medium-sized stainless steel skillet, a cast iron skillet, and a stockpot.
My mom was in town, and she loves to cook even more than I do, so we may or may not have dug out some of the old pots & pans a few times because we literally did not have enough things to cook with.
The Sticky Life
Using stainless steel has been interesting so far… I’m still not entirely sure how to use it without burning the bottom of the pan. And I’ve always liked the idea of cast iron, but I’m still confused about how to care for it.
So getting rid of our Teflon was excruciatingly difficult for me. It still makes me a little sad to think about, but the health of my family is more important than the ease-of-use of my cookware.
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What’s So Bad About Teflon Anyway?
Wondering what’s so bad about Teflon? I talked about it a bit in my very first blog post, but the long and short of it is that it has been directly linked to cancer, birth defects, and other health issues. You can read more about the risks of cooking with Teflon here.
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE for short because who can actually say that word?) was discovered in 1938 by a chemist working at DuPont. They used it in some of their products, but it wasn’t used widely by consumers until 1960 when DuPont began selling their first trademarked non-stick cookware, called — you guessed it — Teflon.
If you watch the movie, The Devil We Know, you’ll find out all of this information. But in case you’re not the movie-going type (I’m usually not), here’s a very short rundown of what is so wrong with PTFE.
Multiple pregnant women who were working at DuPont near the PTFE ended up having babies with uncommon birth defects.
Many people in the community (some who worked at DuPont and some who did not) ended up with cancer, some dying at a young age.
Livestock & Other Animal Fatalities
A farmer who allowed DuPont to use part of his property for “water” runoff noticed that most of his cows started dying. Birds who flew over the chemical plant were falling out of the sky. Literally… directly over the plant.
It’s in our Blood
And the chemical Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used to make Teflon, was found to be in nearly everyone’s blood… nearly everyone on the planet, not just in the small town with the factory. *Cue creepy music that makes you feel like this stuff is taking over the world.*
PFOA is Now Banned in the U.S.
All of the issues ultimately led the U.S. to make a deal with those who were making non-stick “stuff” that they would not use PFOA in their processes any longer. It started being phased out in 2003 and was supposed to be completely off the shelves by 2014.
(FYI my husband and I got married in 2014 and our cookware was most likely purchased in 2013, so away it went.)
Well, my cookware was purchased after 2014, so it’s safe, right?
As I’m sure you’re aware, non-stick cookware still exists. That’s because these companies replaced PFOA with another chemical, (this is similar to what happened when BPA was found to be harmful. Read more about BPA here). Head to pretty much any store that sells cookware, and you’ll see “PFOA-free” marked all over their packaging.
I’m always skeptical of using “new and improved” chemicals though. Without a ton of information out there about what the chemicals are, I don’t like to use them until I know more about them.
For now, I’ll “stick” with my old-school stainless steel and cast iron everything, and I’ll just learn how to use them properly. Maybe it will make me a better cook. I have to admit that the eggs I’ve made on our cast-iron have been pretty darn delicious.
Looking for the best non-toxic cookware? I’ve made an entire post dedicated to finding the best in all categories, including the best stainless steel, best cast iron, and best glass cookware. Check that post out here.
In the meantime, here are the products I’m using right now:
When you need to clean your cast iron, this little scrubber is amazing! You can’t use soap on cast iron, so this little thing helps loosen up the harder bits to clean your pan properly.
Thanks for reading! Do you have some tips for cooking on stainless steel? I’d love to hear them because I could definitely use the help! Write your tips in the comments section below.