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Picking the Right Pots and Pans

Safety and Quality Is It Safe?

The issue surrounds perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) -- a compound used in making Teflon, T-FAL, and other nonstick surfaces. While PFOA is being investigated as a possible carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the FDA has& analyzed nonstick cookware for residual PFOA and determined that the level is so low that the risk to consumers is negligible, according to Paul Honigfort of the FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety. Honigfort added that it is important to use the pans properly. Heat the cookware only to the temperature needed and add ingredients right away. Do not leave empty nonstick pans over heat for any length of time.

Quality Control

The difference between so-so and sensational is in the details. Visit a store and hold potential purchases before you buy.

  • Cookware should be easy to lift up and feel comfortable in your hand. Look for heft. “Thicker pots and pans hold in heat and are less likely to warp, bend, or dent,” says Sharon Silver, customer service project manager at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
  • Heavy pieces should have two handles or a small “helper” opposite the main one for steady transfer from stovetop to counter.
  • Plastic or wood handles are not recommended if you plan to put the pan in the oven; choose metal instead. Be careful when handling hot pans straight from stovetop or oven.


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