Recently I was shopping for non –stick skillets and found most store personnel were unaware of the toxicity issues. Most cooks are familiar with non-stick pans through the name TEFLON. This collection of pots and pans is a DuPont brain child and has become a household name. In order to bond TEFLON onto a pan PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) or C-8 is used. In 2003 Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported non- stick coatings "could reach 700 degrees F in as little as 3-5 minutes releasing 15 toxic gases and chemicals including two carcinogens! HINT: PFOA is bad! It doesn't break down.

In 2006 the EPA labeled PFOA a likely carcinogen known to cause cancer, low birth weight, suppressed the immune system and finally raised levels of cholesterol.

Unfortunately sources of PFOA are everywhere: in microwaves popcorn bags, fast food packaging, shampoo, carpeting and clothing. Studies even show that most of us have PFOA in our blood streams.

Because of this information, I shop as health conscious as I can when it comes to non- stick skillets. Other non stick cookware names are T-Fal, Greblon, Silverstone, Supra and Excaliber. Silverstone is the brand name I've been using until recently. I'm careful to replace my non-stick pans every two (2) years and get rid of them if they start to flake.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to see Ecolution cookware in our new health food store! This brand uses hydrolon, a water based solvent that is non- toxic and uses no PFOA.

Also, here are six tips when using non- stick cookware:

  1. Never preheat an empty pan.
  2. Don't cook on high heat, better to stay at medium.
  3. Ventilate your cooking space.
  4. Don't boil or stew meats.
  5. Choose a heavier non-stick pan over a lighter one.
  6. Avoid chipping or damaging the pans.

There you have it. Cook and eat healthier!