A sauce pan and tea towel.

Avoid toxic non-stick cookware

Avoid PFOA — a key chemical found in Teflon. Try cooking with stainless steel, glass, ceramic or cast iron instead.

PFOA is a suspected carcinogen and hormone disrupter that stays in the body and the environment. About 95 per cent of people have PFOA in our blood, including newborns. It’s also in marine animals and polar bears.

Aside from choosing safer cookware, reduce your exposure by avoiding products coated with non-stick chemicals. These include some types of dental floss, microwave popcorn bags, windshield cleaning solution and even pizza boxes. Also, watch for products that may appear safe but have non-stick inserts, like rice cookers.

Before ditching your scratched-up frying pan, check your city’s recycling guidelines or call its recycling hotline. Old non-stick pots and pans can’t go in your blue bin. Chances are you’ll need to drop them off at a depot that accepts scrap metal.

Is silicone bakeware eco-friendly and safe?

Health Canada says, “Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages, or produce any hazardous fumes.”

Silicone is a synthetic rubber that contains bonded silicon and oxygen. Bonded silicon is a natural element, abundant in sand and rock. Silicone bakeware is heat-resistant and safe for the oven and freezer. It doesn’t change flavours or release odours that might affect food quality.

It’s believed to have low toxicity and thermal stability. It’s also non-stick and easy to clean. One safety tip: Use food-grade silicone products at recommended temperatures — not above 220 C (428 F).

Silicone bakeware can be reused. It allows you to replace disposables like paper muffin tins and parchment — but both of those can go in the compost. It doesn’t biodegrade and can’t be recycled. For now, silicone is a safer alternative to non-stick cookware treated with perfluorooctanoic acid.

Queen of Green image that reads: David Suzuki's Queen of Green gives you tips and recipes to live sustainably.