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Having your pantry stocked with healthy foods is only one part of creating a healthy kitchen. Not all cookware is created equal, and it is important to ensure that your pots and pans are made from the healthiest materials available.

Most people have already heard about the possible dangers of using nonstick cookware in the kitchen. Nonstick cookware is made up of a host of synthetic chemicals that have been undeniably linked to some serious potential health conditions.

PFOA is the main ingredient that is present in nonstick cookware. It is used to create the coating that prevents the food from sticking to the pots and pans during cooking. This coating, called polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and commonly referred to as Teflon, is not present on the coating itself.

However, when the coating is exposed to heat, it can create a gas that contains the dangerous chemicals. The substance is currently listed as a possible human carcinogen; however, the EPA has recommended that it be upgraded to the likely human carcinogen category.

Many of the major Teflon manufacturers have voluntarily committed to eliminating PFOA exposure from their products in the coming years.

The health risks that are associated with nonstick coating are undeniable. In animals, PFOA has been shown to cause cancer of the testicles, pancreas, mammary and liver in animals. Workers who are routinely exposed to PFOA are at risk of developing and/or dying from pancreatic cancer and cancer of the male reproductive tract.

There are many studies that have proven a link between PFOAs and altered reproductive hormones in men. This can lead to elevated estrogen levels and an imbalance in testosterone levels. There is also evidence that PFOA damages the thyroid gland.

There are newer nonstick pots and pans on the market that are made from PFOA-free and PTFE-free ingredients.

This nonstick cookware is commonly referred to as green nonstick cookware or simply green cookware. The most common line is the Thermolon line. Manufacturers of this new nonstick cookware are claiming that it is the first ever PFOA-free and PRFE-free nonstick cookware that is not only healthy to cook with, but is also good for the environment.

It relies on ceramic-based materials that come from nano nonstick technology. Some top home magazines and celebrity chefs have given this line the seal of approval. Before you run out to purchase this new line, consider that the nanotechnology that is used to create the nonstick cookware is still relatively new, and there are not many research studies available yet. More time will be needed to test for safety and determine if there are any dangers associated with this type of cookware.

Cookware that is not non-stick often requires some additional effort for proper care and maintenance, however, many cooks are willing to put in the extra work in order to have peace of mind regarding food safety. If you make the decision to replace your existing non-stick cookware with one of the safer alternatives listed below, look for a local metal recycling business in your area. Non-stick cookware is in the “dirty aluminum” category, which means they can be recycled and a small fee is often paid by metal recyclers in exchange for your used non-stick items.

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