Most people, particularly vegetarians, are aware of the harmful effects of certain types of cookware. Nonstick pots and pans, particularly any with a Teflon label, have the potential to leach harmful PFCs (perfluorinated compound) into food. These chemicals have been shown to cause flu like symptoms, and may even cause detrimental harm to pets.
Touted for their convenience, nonstick cookware has become a favorite for many despite their negative reputation. In today's society, little can negate from convenience, even when one's health could be compromised. Nonstick pans heat food quickly, often come in stylish colors, and can take seconds to clean. Stainless steel and cast iron cookware, in contrast, can take minutes to clean or may even require an overnight soak. Although these types of cookware are the safest, there are better alternatives to the widely used Teflon pots and pans.
Just as many other companies have jumped on the green bandwagon, companies who manufacture cookware have begun designing healthier alternatives to Teflon. Green pan, for example, are coated with Thermolon, a ceramic coating that is entirely PTFE-free and will not break down below temperatures as high as 850 degrees Fahrenheit. Other available brands such as Ecolution and Calphalon Aluminum (using anodized Aluminum) offer safe alternatives to PFOA and PFTE coated Teflon.
Ultimately the most reliable and safe cookware for consumers are cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans. As many can agree, clean eating and healthy lifestyles are often rooted in simplicity. Despite the claims made by the more green and health-conscious companies referenced above, stainless steel and cast iron are the most durable, safe, and chemical free. For those who are set on nonstick cookware, however, rest assured that alternatives to Teflon do exist.
Below are two great resources for information regarding PFCs and cookware brands that are being touted as non-toxic: