Non-stick surfaces that are aluminum pans coated with a synthetic called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), (also known as Teflon, a DuPont brand trademark), can be dangerous.
The aluminum in the pan is a concern because of the link between Alzheimer’s and aluminum, but the fumes these pans give off may be even more deadly. Toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical are released from pots and pans at high temperatures,causing people to exhibit flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or, as scientists describe it, “Polymer fume fever”). Ingesting particles that flake off scratched non-stick cookware isn’t toxic because solid PTFE flakes are inert.
Manufacturers’ labels often warn consumers to avoid high heat when cooking on Teflon, However, Environmental Working Group (EWG)-commissioned tests conducted in 2003 showed that in just two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces could exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases.
My Mom always warned me about the use of these types of pans. It looks like she was right. You can find out more at www.ewg.org/