In 2006 the makers of non-stick pans were given until 2015 to remove the harmful chemical PFOA (and PTFE) from it cookware. Most have complied already. The substance is known to be linked to cancer, low birth weights and even high cholesterol.
If your non-stick pans are pre-2006 or scratched, it’s best to replace them. Non-sticks used daily have about a three year life span.
If you have some old pieces you still want to hold on to, the FDA says they are safe, IF you don’t use metal utensils or steel wool on the cookware. Don’t exceed temperatures of 450 degrees, as this could cause the coating to break down and toxic fumes to escape. It’s been proven that toxic fumes emitted from non-stick cookware can make a bird drop dead if it’s in the same room.
And don’t pile one pan on top of the other as that could damage the coating. If cookware is chipped, scratched or damaged, you should dispose of it ASAP. You don’t want to cling to a Teflon relic and wake up some morning and find your parakeet in the bottom of the cage.
There are a number of nonstick options today that are safe and eco-friendly. When considering any new purchase, be sure it says PFOA free.
I even bought a cast iron wok recently. It weights a ton, but it’s a great piece of cookware.