I am currently working on cookie recipes in anticipation of the holidays. You will notice that I am very specific about my choice of a shiny aluminum cookie sheet. To be perfectly honest I really want a stainless steel cookie sheet, but shiny aluminum is what I have and use for now.

The truth is that I avoid non-stick cookware. In addition to my shiny cookie sheet, all my pans are stainless steel lined with aluminum cores.

There are two reasons for this.

First, there is a culinary reason. Dark non-stick cooking surfaces tend to burn whatever is touching them, so your cookies can end up undercooked on top with the part touching the cookie sheet kind of burnt. They also make certain sauces impossible as you cannot truly deglaze a non-stick pan. You need some burnt on bits to make those sauces.

Second, there is growing data to suggest that non-stick coatings may have adverse health effects specifically around allergies and tumors. I would not call any of these studies definitive, but I do think that the abstracts are worth reading.

The following study from Taiwan is a bit technical but it shows altered levels of IgE in the umbilical cord blood of babies exposed to perflorinated chemicals (nonstick coatings tend to use one or more of these as part of their plasticizers). When you get an allergy test they are testing IgE levels so this linkage, if demonstrated further, could be of concern.

In this study the chemicals corresponded to lower birth weight in human babies.

These compounds are in the water and to some extent the air which makes it a public health issue if there is a problem. In this instance for some Sprague-Dawley lab rats…it was a problem. The rats did not do so well.

In a different rat study the rats got liver cancer at elevated rates.

What is right for me may not be right for others, but everyone deserves to understand the choices that they are making. Based on the information that I have, I see no reason to use a cooking pan that burns my food, might kill my pet bird, and appear potentially linked to adverse health consequences.

I will be sticking with stainless steel.