Should Your Cookware Be “Clean,” Too?

Photo: Stocksy/Santi Nunez

These days, all my beauty products fall under the "clean" category, the wine in my house is biodynamic, and when I get a mani-pedi, I opt for fume-free nail polish. But my goal of total non-toxic living means I inevitably stumble upon a new cause for concern almost daily.

At a recent clean-living event, I overheard some people chatting about "clean cookware" and of course my ears perked up. I dared to ask the question: How bad is it if I don’t use non-toxic cookware? 

I learned that Teflon often can't stand up to high heat, which is what sometimes causes the flakes to come off into your scrambled eggs. (You know what I'm talking about. Right?) And while that sounds pretty icky, don't freak out. Teflon itself isn’t suspected to be carcinogenic. The main concern is Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a suspected carcinogen. Luckily, dangerous amounts are typically burned off while the pans are made, and its use has mostly been phased out. Phew.

So is non-toxic cookware really necessary? Jesse Arter is a buyer for TreeHouse, an Austin-based home store that stocks sustainable and eco-friendly brands thinks so. He says ceramic nonstick is the best choice—and calls his approach "prudent avoidance."

"If you don’t have to have a chemical in your home, why would you?”

“That pan may not be the end-all-be-all, but it’s a contributor. If you don’t have to have a chemical in your home, why would you?” he asks. "Maybe that chemical coming off the pan doesn’t amount to much, but what does it look like when you add in the fire retardants from your sofa, or your mattress, and whatever other various chemicals you have in your home?”

That said, there are plenty of non-toxic options available for anyone who wants to cook a worry- (and fleck-) free omelet. Here are some affordable (and splurge-worthy!) options.

Keep reading if you want to take your clean lifestyle into the pots and pans department.

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