Health Risk of Non-Stick Cookware (and Some Great Alternatives)

Open the average Aussies kitchen cabinets and you'll likely find a mixture of different types of cookware. A set of aluminum fry pans from a Boxing Day sale ten years ago here, a speckled blue late-night-tv non-stick special there, and the odd cast-iron hand-me-down tucked all the way in the back. But have you ever actually wondered which surface is the best for cooking? And which one is safest for your health?

While it may be true that non-stick pots and pans offer the most convenient option (until the non-stick starts flaking off anyway), a recent study from Harvard University suggests that this kind of cookware may play a role in weight gain, particularly in women. According to researchers, the chemicals that make the surface non-stick potentially disrupt the endocrine system in both animals and humans. I don't know about you, but this certainly makes me reconsider the so-called convenience of non-stick cookware.

And potential health risks aside, as many home chefs will attest, nothing beats the beauty of a beautifully seasoned cast-iron frypan. All it takes is a little occasional maintenance, and that baby will not only cook your bacon and eggs to perfection but will clean up with just a wipe and dry with a tea towel.
Another fantastic option is the often-underrated stainless steel. The water droplet trick is a fun and easy way to test when a stainless-steel pan is hot enough for cooking and will also make food far less likely to stick once its cooked.

So, next time you're tempted to use a cheap non-stick pan, consider these alternatives, and reach a little farther back into the cupboards for the cast iron or stainless steel.