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Ceramic alternative to Teflon?

Non-Stick cookware without Teflon.
Non-Stick cookware without Teflon.
Image courtesy of Target

Teflon was invented in 1938 and has been used for non-stick cookware since the 1950s, but now there is an alternative. Teflon is stable and nontoxic but it begins to deteriorate at high temperatures, producing gases which can have a negative health effect on humans and birds. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has petitioned for a rule requiring that cookware and heated appliances with Teflon coatings carry a label warning of these potential hazards.

Now there is an alternative to Teflon- Thermolon™. The ceramic-polymer coating is made without PTFE or other potentially harmful chemicals associated with more traditional non-stick cookware, and reportedly produces sixty-percent fewer greenhouse gasses in it’s production process. The ceramic coating can withstand temperatures of up to 850 Degrees and resists blistering and peeling if overheated. Since the traditional Teflon-based coatings have never been particularly durable the ceramic Is intrigueing. But does it work?
In a word, yes. Most users report that the coating is durable and works well, cooking foods such as eggs with no oil without problems with sticking. The coating does not seem to be flexible, however. There are reports that impacts sufficient to distort the pan can cause cracking and flaking, though in it’s most common application the pan’s construction is stout enough that it would take an unusually heavy impact to cause such distortion.
If you are in the market for new cookware it’s worth looking into GreenPan™. If you aren’t you shouldn’t necessarily rush out to buy one just because it bears the ‘Green’ label. It is almost certainly ‘Greener’ to continue to use your existing cookware until it wears out. Alternatives such as glass and cast iron, while not offering the convenience of a modern non-stick pan, are also considered ‘Green’ and continue to be viable options.
The GreenPan™ Lima is a well-designed 12-inch frying pan with a pale-green ‘environmentally safe’ ceramic coating. The pan itself is cast aluminum with a thick bottom (approximately 1/2 inch) for better heat distribution and an anodized coating on the outside to resist oxidation. It comes with a nicely made metal-rimmed glass lid with a steam vent for $39.95. Other cookware is also available.