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Feeling burned by Swiss Diamond pans. Nontoxic, reliable alternatives?

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I (used to) love my Swiss Diamond pans. They are truly nonstick. They are solid and conduct heat evenly. They are easy to care for--dishwasher safe. But, I guess I'm realizing that they really are "Teflon" even though the coating is not Dupont's Teflon branded coating. I own four of these pans and they are expensive. I'm really ticked that I was hoodwinked by the marketing people.

So, I'm back to square one. I'm looking for safe, nontoxic, (no leaching of harmful metals or releasing of toxic gas) cookware. I am feeling information overload from looking at all of the recommendations from eco-friendly sites. None of them talk about carbon steel as an option, for instance. Is it nontoxic? (I thought there was a great carbon steel nonstick thread here on CH but I can't find it anymore.)

I've seen some of the claims for Xtrema cookware. Also for Cuisinart's Greenware or Green Gourmet. But, after having been burned by Swiss Diamond, I'm leery of these too good to be true kinds of claims.Maybe I should just forget about newfangled cookware and go for the tried and true.

I know this question has probably been posed in one form or another zillions of times, so forgive me for asking again. I realize no cookware is perfect, but what's the all-around best cookware out there that is nontoxic? By nontoxic I mean that it doesn't leach harmful chemicals into your food or release toxic fumes into the air.

Nonstick would be great. Easy to care for would be great (I think this is one of the most important requirements: I hate our cast iron skillet because I don't want to bother cleaning it). Lightweight would be great. I am willing to spend whatever it takes within reason, but I do not want another Swiss Diamond debacle where I spend a bunch of money and have to replace everything in 3 years when I realize I've been duped by clever marketing.

Could you point me in the right direction, please?

Thank you

~TDQ

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  1. Seems to me that eco-friendly sites are not aware of carbon steel pans. Most Americans in general are not.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pabboy

      Do you think it's "safe" (doesn't leach or fume?)

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        At what point in time are you concerned about leaching and fumming? Is it only whilst you're cooking, or is it at any time in the entire life cycle of the product? For some reason, many people who think "Green" don't look much to either end of the product spectrum, only at one point in time. If you are only concerned about during the cooking cycle, your Swiss Diamond are fine as long as you don't use them for high temperature cooking. The chemicals in the PTFE coating that are of most concern are leached out in the manufacturing process at temperatures much higher than your cooking temperatures. It's king of like cooking with wine, once the temperature exceeds a certian point, the alchol in the wine is evaporated. Just grasping for an analogy that's easier to grasp for a non-chemist. Once it's seen the higher temperature, no more will come out at temperatures below a certian point.

        If you are worried about the overall environment, there are alot of nasty solvents use in the process of stamping steel. The steel has an oil like coating on it when it's manufactured, this may be removed and replaced with some other lubricant for stamping and that then needs to be removed with some sort of cleaning solvent, all of which must be disposed at some point. So, although once entirely cleaned, at least as well as you can clean it, there isn't anything in the carbon steel that's going to leach or fume at normal cooking temperatures, there are "green" issues as there are with just about any manufactured product.

    2. If you hate the cast-iron because of the cleaning, you're going to equally hate carbon steel because of the cleaning.

      That said, I've been playing with a DeBuyer Mineral and while I'm likely going to have to redo the seasoning (again) it does show some excellent non-stick properties even when I got it wrong.

      11 Replies
      1. re: wattacetti

        wattacetti, I was afraid someone would say that about carbon steel. Honestly, I'm just very lazy. Well, I'm not really lazy. I'm just really, really busy. I own a dishwasher and want to use it! I don't mind seasoning the pan from time to time, but it's the daily special care that goes into washing it that gets to me.

        Is carbon steel safe? No leaching/fuming?

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          dont think that there is much but ceramic and stainless steel that you would want to put through a dishwasher, would bet it will degrade teflon before its time - I always handwash mine - and aluminum, which I like is out.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Ceramic is interesting, but it sounds fragile. Is it? I've never cooked with it.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Get a cheap carbon steel pan and see if how you like it.

              It is much easier to take care of than cast iron. Here's how you care for it after the initial seasoning -- Wash it out with hot water and a tiny drop of soap. Wipe it dry and then apply a thing coating of cooking oil (to keep it from rusting).

              That's it.

              Its easy, dead simple, and will likely be the last pans you ever have to purchase.

              Here's more detail on seasoning and maintenance from the De Buyer website:

              http://www.debuyer.com/video.php?id=44

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            I think everyone else has replied to your questions, but no it doesn't leech (a little extra iron in your diet that you can't absorb anyway), and the only time it fumes is if you leave it on high heat too long and watch the coating start to burn away. Then you re-season.

            But seriously, the initial seasoning will take a little effort and the maintenance is as ToothTooth said.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Carbon steel is just like your cast iron - mostly iron, with some additional carbon that makes the metal more ductile (less brittle). Steel can rolled into sheets which are then formed into pans. Cast iron is - cast. That is, it is melted and poured into molds, and then cleaned up.

              Carbon steel can rust, just like cast iron. But because it is thinner, it is not as heavy - though still not lightweight. It is not maintenance free; it is not dishwasher safe.

              Stainless steel is iron with other metals added (like chromium) which prevents the formation of rust. Technically the other metals form an invisible 'rust' layer which does not flake, and hence does not grow deeper. Aluminum does not 'rust' for the same reason. But stainless steel tends to stick - though proper use of a hot pan and oil can reduce that problem.

              Most of the eco-friendly and 'ceramic' coated pans have a 'glaze' that is melted onto the pan surface. Think of them as a variation on enamel.

              Give you over all requirements, I think your Swiss Diamond is still the best choice.

              I suspect that to you, words like 'leach', 'off gas' and 'toxic' are just scary, without any real meaning. If you are running away from PTFE, it would help if you understood why. Otherwise you'll just be running from one scary thing to another.

              1. re: paulj

                Yep, I'm running from one scary thing to another. I think I'd like to get off the "scary" merry go round and just stick with the classics, if you know what I mean. My immediate response was to run to the Greenware (and yes, I imagine it as a ceramic glaze) but it's not really tried and tested. I don't want to be a guinea pig and I don't want to replace everything in 3 years.

                I don't need the latest technology. I think I'd just like to have the stuff that works and has always worked and learn to use it properly. The right pan for the right job, as opposed to trying have one kind of pan (plus my cast iron skillet for browning) do everything.

                (P.S. I might hang onto my Swiss Diamond skillet for eggs. We'll see. And thank you for the plain English explanation of the different types of pans. That helps!)

                ~TDQ

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Do you truly believe the companies that say their pans are safe? According to who, them? I have the best used car for sale too, I promise, my research says so. . .

                That being said, I've tried stainless, I've tried carbon steel, and I've tried cast iron. Don't really care for the stainless, hated the carbon steel, love the cast iron. After about 6 months of moderate use, I can fry an egg with a very small (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) of butter with no sticker. You can't put in the dishwasher though.

                1. re: Rick

                  What didn't you like about the carbon steel?

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I couldn't get it to season properly. I did the whole boil potato skins in water thing as the instructions said, and t was just a mess. I ended up trying it twice and I just had no luck. I had no problem seasoning the cast iron.

                    1. re: Rick

                      DeBuyer has removed the potato skin boiling from the seasoning instructions. I believe that's just to clean the dust leftover from the manufacturing process.

            2. You were looking for this thread which has contributions from lots of happy carbon steel users:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696019

              3 Replies
              1. re: ToothTooth

                Thank you for that link. For some reason, I thought there was an original thread where the the OP of the thread you linked asked a question, but the thread you linked seems to be the one I was thinking of.

                I'm not a chemist or anything like that [as if that weren't already painfully obvious]. Do you know how I can be confident that carbon steel doesn't leach and doesn't "off gas?" I was a little nervous reading some of the threads about carbon steel because it didn't seem clear what metals (or alloys? I'm not even sure of the right word to use) were actually used in the construction of the pan. Just in the different DeBuyer lines (Mineral vs. Carbone Plus), for instance: one line they seem to use recycled. How can you be confident of what's in your pan and that it's not toxic?

                Sorry for the dumb questions.

                Signed, not a chemist.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  You can never really be confident of anything and nothing can be conclusively declared 100% safe. However, none of the materials discussed here are "unsafe" it's just that for whatever reason, you've decided to avoid them.

                  1. re: ferret

                    Ok, thank you! I just needed someone to say that. :).

                    ~TDQ

              2. We're about to celebrate our 25th anniversary and I still use the Revere Ware (stainless steel, copper bottom) cookware given to us for our wedding. Color me old school, but stainless is about as inert (safe) as you can get.

                The only drawbacks:
                --can't go from stovetop to oven unless the oven is on low heat (bakelite handles)
                --bottoms aren't super heavy, so blackened fish, etc is out
                --anal cooks will polish the copper incessantly if you want it to gleam

                1. What about Stainless Steel?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Oh right! Forgot to mention that Revere is stainless, not teflon. If you want the "non-stick experience", then you heat the pan dry, for about a minute on medium heat. Swirl a tiny drop of canola oil around (If it smokes heavily your pan was too hot). Drain the excess oil or rub the surface with a clean paper towel. Return the pan to the flame (i do this on gas burners) and proceed.

                    This works for me, even with fried eggs.

                  2. What type of cooking are we talking about?

                    For boiling water any pan, including stainless steel will be fine. For oven brazing, stainless, enamel steel or cast iron, etc are great. For sauteeing onions, stainless is fine. For searing meat, nonstick usually isn't the best.

                    Nonstick, whether PTFE, ceramic, or seasoned iron/steel, is best for things where sticking is an issue - frying delicate fish, some egg preparations, and starchy foods like pasta. The only non-stick pans that you really need are a couple of sizes of frying pans. The rest can be stainless or enamel or glass.

                    You have survived so far with the Swiss Diamond. Using them a few more years isn't going to kill you. In the mean time, buy a few pieces in other materials, and learn which works best for different tasks. Later you can toss the pans that are no longer useful.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      I agree. I kept my non-stick pans available while weening off it. Took me less than 6 months to be confident enough to hide the pan in the attic.

                      1. re: cutipie721

                        I have a new baby. I don't want the PTfE/Teflon in my house in case it does "off gas". And I certainly don't want to cook for him in it , when that time comes. Plus, I feel like a total chump. The sight of it pisses me off. i'd rather sell these pans to someone who will love them as much as I used to.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I'm not trying to get you to change your mind, but hundreds of millions of people have had "new babies" with PTFE in the house (I've had 2). You can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid real and imagined hazards but, as I posted above, you'll always be running from the unknown. Keep them away from fire, sharp objects and heavy traffic. As for most other things, kids are resilient and not every "threat" is real.

                          1. re: ferret

                            You should probably reserve that argument for someone who has had more sleep lately. ;-).

                            ~TDQ

                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                            If you don't want PTFE around, that's certainly your call. But FWIW, the stuff only off-gasses at high temperatures. High as in the food in the pan will be on fire before it becomes an issue. Just FYI...

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              You know, I've read that about the high heat. (Do birds really die or is that just urban legend?).

                              But isn't there also an issue with scratching Teflon? I've had Teflon pans in the past and I babied those puppies. Nothing but wooden utensils, no dishwasher, etc. Part of the appeal of the Swiss Diamond pans for me was that they seemed indestructible. I've not been treating these pans with them same care as my old Teflon pans. (Swiss Diamond says they are okay in the dishwasher and with metal spatulas.)

                              Now I worry that I've damaged the pans and damaged the Teflon surface, making them less safe. And even if I haven't damaged them yet (I suppose it can't be that bad if food isn't sticking), from here on out, I'm going to feel as if I should care for them more carefully. If I'm going to baby my Swiss Diamond pans now, maybe I should baby a different kind of pan that doesn't have the same kind of health concerns.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Birds are definitely more susceptible to PTFE fumes than humans. A dose that might give a person mild upper respiratory symptoms (aka "Teflon flu") or even no symptoms will kill a parrot dead.

                                But you still have to get a dose. And the only way that happens in a residential setting is when you overheat the pan. Having room-temp PTFE in your body isn't a problem (in fact, it's an important ingredient in numerous medical implants). If you scratch the surface of your skillet and end up ingesting a little bit of the stuff, it'll pass right through you. On the other hand, if you heat a teflon-coated pan to 750F, you're going to have problems.

                                In your shoes, I'd continue using the Swiss Diamond pans. You like 'em, right? That's got to count for something. Don't go scraping the bottom with a butter knife and they should provide you with years more good service. You can easily avoid atomization of the PTFE by never heating them empty or using them on high heat.

                                IMO PTFE has its place in the kitchen. It isn't good for everything, but it's perfectly safe if you don't abuse it. Use it for gently cooking eggs and delicate fish; don't use it for searing steaks or blackening catfish. My two kids grew up eating food cooked on Teflon, and they're perfectly normal. (So did I, and although my daughters would deny any claims of normality, they wouldn't blame it on cookware.)

                                I totally understand why other people make different choices. Get the best info you can and make your own decisions. Just my $0.02...

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Birds have a markedly different respiratory system. They're also sensitive to foods that are otherwise harmless to humans,like chocolate (okay, maybe not totally harmless to humans),

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    Interesting, thank you. I didn't know that about medical implants containing PTFE.

                                    s far as the scraping of the pans that may have happened to this point, I guess I was less concerned about ingesting the PTFE (though maybe I should have been wondering that) and more concerned that the delicate Teflon surface has been damaged exposing something less safe --like aluminum or something-- underneath.

                                    o you not think that's a problem?

                                    Thank you!

                                    ~TDQ

                        2. Try carbon steel or cast iron pans -- if you truly turned off by the idea of Teflon/PTFE pans.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I am truly turned off, so that's what I will do! Thanks all!

                            P.S. I'm sure I can deal with the small amount of extra effort to care for the carbon steel pan properly. A small inconvenience but sometimes you just have to be a grown-up!

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              You won't regret the carbon steel experiment. It really isn't a lot of work. For example, I've left my pan on the stove for (horrors!!) a few days with the fats and bits still in it. When I returned home I simply rinsed it in hot water and plucked off the bits. Put it on the stove for a quick heat dry and then wiped it down with a tiniest bit of oil while it was still hot. Yeah, at times I'm that lazy and it's okay.

                              My initial reasoning, the very first time I thought about using c/s was this: we cook on the outside grill all the time and what do we do when we use it next? Burn off the crap and cook on. No problem. What does a diner do when they have that big flat top that's so well seasoned - not put it in the dishwasher that's for sure. Cook on.

                              So you can relax and breathe because that good old carbon steel will work just fine.

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I have several carbon steel pans

                                - a 9" Lyonaise fry pan - other than shape this isn't that different from a cast iron skillet. Basically the same care and use issues. I use it to sear meat, and things like browning onions. But deglazing and simmering can remove seasoning. I have mixed feelings about this.

                                - a crepe pan - this is used only for crepes, pancakes, and omelets; as such it has a very good seasoning. This may be the best place to start.

                                - comal - very inexpensive Mexican griddle. Nice for warming tortillas, and even cooking them in the first place. I don't worry about seasoning on this.

                                If you are already using cast iron, carbon steel is NOT a major step or improvement.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  We have a cast iron griddle and a cast iron skillet and they get some heavy use/abuse--basically, they live on top of the stove. I don't even bother to put them away.

                                  Based on what you're saying I like the idea of getting the carbon steel crepe pan, not so much because it's so much better than the cast iron, but because we won't use if for anything also and it will always because ready for eggs.

                                  ~TDQ

                            2. Teflon, PTFE, begins to out gass at about 500*F
                              I doubt you'll ever eat any thing burnt at that temperature.
                              Worry about the important things in life!

                              1. I'd strongly recommend that you check out Silit Silargan cookware.

                                Ceramic bonded to stainless steel, reasonably nonstick (about the same as Le Creuset enameled cast iron), scratch-proof, easy to clean, dishwasher safe, induction capable, indestructible, fast even heating, no PTFE (or nickel, if you have nickel allergy), made in Germany.

                                IMO, the only downside is price, but if you can afford Swiss Diamond, it shouldn't be a problem.

                                Here's a link describing Silargan:

                                http://www.silit.com/silit-know-how/s...

                                And a pic of my Silit Silargan Fry N Serve Pan:

                                 
                                3 Replies
                                1. re: tanuki soup

                                  Never even heard of that! Thank you!

                                  EDIT: do you happen to know if the glaze is lead free? Also, I have a gas stove and the link suggests it's best for induction. Have you used it with success over gas?

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Hi, DQ,

                                    I believe that both the inside and outside are ceramic coated. As for your question about gas, sorry, but I've only used it on my induction cooktop.

                                    PS. There have been several previous threads discussing Silit Silargan here at Chowhound. You might want to do a quick search. There are also a couple of reviews at Amazon.com.

                                    PPS. I just checked out Amazon's blurb about the Fry N Serve Pan, which confirms that the outside is also ceramic coated. I've cut-and-pasted it here for you:

                                    "This Silit Energy Red Fry N Serve Pan features an extra sturdy steel core for the most efficient heat distribution, which translates into energy conservation, while the interior is made of Silargan, an ultra hard, smooth ceramic surface that is nickel-free and anti-bacterial. The exterior of this fabulous fry pan features Silit's durable ceramic coated steel surface, which is scratch- and chip-resistant, along with all metal handles that are heat-insulating and oven-proof. What's extra fabulous and unique about this frypan is the absence of a traditional long handle, instead there are two small handles, making this piece perfect for stovetop-to-table-serving. The rim is designed for spill-free pouring. The attention paid to every detail on this piece underscores Silit's commitment to the highest design and production standards, delivering the very best quality products to your kitchen. All super-hygienic and dishwasher-safe, and colors will not fade. This saucepan has a 11 inch diameter and is suitable for all cooktops."

                                    1. re: tanuki soup

                                      I've been looking at the Amazon reviews, but completely forgot to do a search on Chowhound. Doh! Thanks for the info. I'll have a look.

                                      ~TDQ

                                2. Swiss Diamond is NOT, repeat, NOT teflon. The coating is industrial diamonds. The surface is applied in the same manner as teflon, but that is as close as it comes. The PTFEs are burned off by very high firing during the application process. There are ghosts of POFAs remaining but you'd have to get the pan to well over 650 to release any. I have seen 2 cases of misuse with SD, one idiot left his pan on the cook top, empty and on high and burned it up. SD would not replace it. Another dug into the surface with a very sharp fork.

                                  I have been selling lots of SD for over 4 years, it is our best seller, after that is Chantal and Le Creuset. All Clad comes in last, people have gotten over that hype. Chantal is stick resistant but not non-stick. It is extremely energy efficient, fabulous on an induction burner, medium heat should be sufficient.

                                  Again Swiss Diamond is not teflon, never was and never will be.

                                  37 Replies
                                  1. re: Candy

                                    So when Swiss Diamond's own website says "we use far less PTFE in Swiss Diamond than any other non-stick pan" then they're wrong?

                                    http://www.swissdiamondstore.com/page...

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      Is Swiss Diamond using DuPont™ Teflon® non-stick coatings?

                                      NO! Swiss Diamond is not using DuPont™Teflon® non-stick coatings. Teflon® is a trademark of DuPont and describes a big range of products that answer the needs of many industries, to learn more about it, please check the web site: www.teflon.com. Our unique coating composition is manufactured by us, and without any components from DuPont. Teflon® and PTFE are not the same. In the following paragraphs we explain more about PTFE.. Check it out. The Chicken Little news groups are constantly fear mongering. Buy into it if you wish, it leaves more for the rest of us.

                                      Dig a little further and don't blindly follow Chicken Little's lead.

                                      1. re: Candy

                                        The link you provided is currently down. Can you cite some other sources for stating "Teflon® and PTFE are not the same"?

                                        1. re: pabboy

                                          pabboy, teflon.com appears to be DuPont's website. Here's the link (there's a period at the end that is causing the problem.) www.teflon.com

                                          ~TDQ

                                        2. re: Candy

                                          Chicken little here. Still not a chemist. Just a layperson trying to make the best choices.

                                          Per wikipedia Teflon is simply the best known brand name for PTFE: "In chemistry, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene that finds numerous applications. PTFE is most well known by the DuPont brand name Teflon." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytetr...

                                          So Swiss Diamond doesn't contain Teflon in the same way my Canon copier isn't a Xerox machine and my Scott facial tissue isn't a Kleenex.

                                          No? (I'm completely happy to be educated on this topic if I have misunderstood...).

                                          SD says their product has PTFE, but less of it. Why would they bother to brag that there is less of it if it isn't a problem?

                                          DO SWISS DIAMOND PRODUCTS CONTAIN “PTFE”?
                                          YES! PTFE is the component that gives non-stick properties to the surface of the cookware and many other consumers’ products. Our patented inherent slippery coating is reinforced with Diamond Crystals which are amalgamated into a nano-composite (mixture of extremely thin particles). Thus it requires lower quantity of PTFE, much lower than most of other non-stick products.

                                          http://www.swissdiamond.com/us/info/f...

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            "So Swiss Diamond doesn't contain Teflon in the same way my Canon copier isn't a Xerox machine and my Scott facial tissue isn't a Kleenex."

                                            Exactly. Now you see why I dislike these misleading advertisements.

                                            "SD says their product has PTFE, but less of it. Why would they bother to brag that there is less of it if it isn't a problem?"

                                            Under normal use, I don't believe PTFE has any proven problem. However, some people do not like the idea of using PTFE pans, so Swiss Diamond is trying to capture those customers. It all comes down to marketing and profits. It also put up a big bold sign that it does not contain (Dupont) Teflon, right? Same idea.

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              SD says their product has PTFE, but less of it. Why would they bother to brag that there is less of it if it isn't a problem?

                                              For folks like you, The Dairy Queen. The general public has been told by someone with their own agenda, that Teflon(r), a flouropolymer, isn't healthy and can out gass PFOA, and although that is true as part of the manufacturing process, companies are working to eliminate PFOA from the manufacture of PTFE and perhaps some have succeded, this remains an issue. Since Teflon(r) is the most widely sold PTFE used for coatings in pots and pans, it, as a product, has taken the brunt of the abuse. So marketing MARKETING decides don't use Teflon(r) use some other PTFE and then use less of it, this way people that don't know Teflon(r) is a PTFE will not make that association and throw in less as extra measure, just in case.

                                              I'm still of the opinion that the bad actor in PTFE is all but gone by the time you get the cookware, I agree with Chem 100%.

                                              1. re: mikie

                                                I guess I'm still unclear on the relationship between PTFE and PFOA.

                                                I thought PFOA was a danger to the local community and workers during the production process, not to the consumer.

                                                I thought PTFE is what is dangerous to the consumer when the pan is heated beyond the suggested temperature.

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  What most people are worried about with the over heating of PTFE is the release of residual PFOA from the PTFE. As a plastics professional this is simple stuff to me and I may tend to over simplify it, to a non chemist or someone not familiar with plastics, this is probably much more complicated.

                                                  In my opinion the key to the use of PTFE cookware is follow the manufacturers direrctions and don't overheat the pan and there is no issue with the PTFE.

                                                  Your house is full of chemicals and many of them can react in unsuspected ways if improperly used, some of these reactions can produce gasses that are much more toxic than anything you might get from your Swiss Diamond, especially if you use it properly.

                                                  1. re: mikie

                                                    OK, I think I finally understand, thank you.

                                                    Would you mind addressing the issue of scratching the surface of the Teflon or Teflon-like product. Is the danger to the consumer there what gets revealed under the surface of the pan, say, aluminum or something and not necessarily the ingestion of the Teflon layer itself?

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      There's no health risk associated with ingesting Teflon, although it's not something anyone would recommend (and it should pass through you like ... Teflon). As for exposing aluminum underneath - you're just jumping from one unfounded controversy to another. If you fear aluminum, then you fear aluminum.

                                                      As far as scratching goes, I have certainly owned Teflon pans in the past (15-20 years ago) where the surface flaked off. My current cookware collection has non-stick of various vintages and manufacture and the surfaces all look pretty damn pristine, from my decade-old heavy aluminum T-Fal skillet to my more recently purchased 6-egg poacher.

                                                      Maybe its because all my utensils are silicon e or nylon or maybe it's because the coatings are tougher, but even when my not-so-careful wife scrambles an egg with a metal fork it doesn't really scar the surface.

                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Why are you worried about the PTFE in your Swiss Diamond pans, since you are not heating beyond -- or probably anywhere close to -- the suggested temperature?

                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                      First, I can only control what I do with my cookware, not what others in my household do with it.

                                                      Furthermore, we've been using the pans for more than just eggs and fish. We've been using them for stir-frying etc, too. And while a lot of people (most of whom are way more knowledgeable than me) are very confident they know the exact temperature at which the pan becomes problematic, I'm not sure I'm that confident that we're going to find out 10 years down the road that, whoops, the temp at which the pan is problematic isn't 700, it's more like 500.

                                                      I might keep my SD skillets and insist that they only be used for eggs and fish at our house. I'm getting rid of my SD saucepans no matter what, I think.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        I definitely agree with your idea of keeping the Swiss Diamond skillets around for eggs and fish. That's what I use my nonstick frying pans for.

                                                        As for stir frying, I have to agree with those who have recommended carbon steel. After all, that's what most woks are made of, and they are routinely heated far beyond what you can achieve using a domestic stove.

                                                        1. re: tanuki soup

                                                          Furthermore, I just bought a wok when Grace Young's books were Cookbook of the Month on the Home Cooking board. Might as well use the proper tool for the proper application, especially now that I own said tool!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Well, if you are talking about a wok for stir fry, then yeah, I do recommend a carbon steel or thin cast iron. Wok cooking can get very hot... at least you want to get it very hot. The two main points for stir fry is hot and fast. You cook the foods at a high temperature, but for a short duration. Anyway, the "hot" thing does not go very well with Teflon/PTFE.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I have a small PTFE coated wok in my camping gear. But I don't use it for true high temperature stir frying. The combination of a nonstick coating and smooth rounded surface makes it ideal of breakfast grits and scrambled eggs.

                                                              A similar diameter, but flat, steel comal is my choice for higher temperature cooking, especially grilling meats.

                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                Good advises.

                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          @The Dairy Queen:
                                                          Good point about others in household; we've been a two-cooks-only kitchen for so long that I hadn't taken that into account.

                                                          One other function for which SD seems well suited, that might encourage you to consider keeping a large-ish saucepan: slow, low simmer to reduce things like applesauce, apple butter, homemade ketchup. Even heating and nonstick surface both helpful in these cases, and SD seems to be well liked for those qualities.

                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                            Well, ellabee, if I do that, I will just end up keeping it all and you will have all talked me out of getting rid of my SD cookware( because if I 'm going to keep my two skillets and one saucepan, I might as well keep the fourth!)

                                                            Maybe what I really need to do (as someone, breadchick?, suggested above is just use the proper cookware for the proper cooking application. I sort of considered my SD my all-purpose cookware and reverted back to cast-iron if I specifically needed it.

                                                            I am already pining for the Silit. I'd like to read more about it.

                                                            Darn all of your for your knowledge, experience, and level-headedness!

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                2. re: Candy

                                                  Your post is extremely difficult to comprehend and at best a bit misleading. I've been in the plastics business for almost 40 years, I have a great deal of understanding of trademarks, proprietary formulas, coating technology, etc. Yes, Teflon(r) is a DuPont tradmark that covers more products than plain vanilla PTFE used as coatings on pots and pans, however the Teflon trademark is for DuPont's flouropolymers, which includes PTFE sold for and used as a coating or constituant of a coating for pots and pans. So although not all Teflon(r) is PTFE, some Teflon(r) is PTFE, although not all PTFE is Teflon(r). But your post seems to imply Teflon(r) is not PTFE, which is not correct, at least not according to DuPont's web-site.

                                                  I'm not saying Teflon(r) or PTFE is harmfull in cookware, I don't believe it is at normal cooking temperatures and following the manufacturers use guidelines. Every manufacturer has their propriatary formulation for their coating, just like DuPont Silverstone(r). It doesn't change the fact that there is chemically PTFE in it. Your post reminds me of a GE appliance salesman that told me the drawers in the refrigerator I was looking at wasn't plastic, it was Lexan(r) a tradmark of General Electric now Sabic. We all know Lexan(r) is polycarbonate, a thermoplastic, regardless of what the salesman said.

                                              2. re: Candy

                                                "The PTFEs are burned off by very high firing during the application process."

                                                That does not sound right. Why on earth would anyone intentionally burn off PTFEs. PTFE is what gives Swiss Diamond the nonstick property.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  If you dig through their website they say PFOAs are burned off during the application process. It also says, as noted multiple times here, that SD contains PTFE. If Candy has been selling the product for 4 years she needs to get a better handle on her facts.

                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                    If I understand correctly (and I'm always willing to be proven that I don't!), there two issues with Teflon and Teflon-like products 1) The safety (to the consumer) of the PTFE nonstick surface itself when heated to high temps and 2) the impact the release of PFOAs during the manufacturing has on the employees that produce the product and on the local environment air/water etc.? Two different issues.

                                                    So, if SD is saying the PFOA burns off during the production process (what they say on their website is: "the nano-composite containing real Diamond Crystals requires such high temperatures in the production process that any particle of PFOA which might have been contained in the PTFE will be eliminated thus NO PFOA can be traced on Swiss Diamond products’. We have a test result from the Danish Technological Institute, clearly testifying that our products do not include PFOA"), I don't really see how that's any different than the manufactoring issue that DuPont has with Teflon that they've been told to correct by 2015 (I might have the date wrong).

                                                    Interestingly enough, SD also says, "Nevertheless, since March 2008 we have been using PTFE that is manufctured without any PFOA." So that's good from an environmental and worker safety perspective. I think. Maybe they are ahead of DuPont on addressing the manufacturing problem.

                                                    http://swissdiamond.com/us/info/faq/f...

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      T-Fal touts the PFOA-free thing as well - and gives you a little more detail. This "fear or Teflon" thing is a tempest in a teapot.

                                                      http://www.t-falusa.com/Tefal+magazin...

                                                      To the extent that PFOA exists in the environment, it's not sourced from non-stick cookware.

                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                        I'll have a look at that link, but you you're saying the PFOA impact on the worker and community where the products are produced is a non-issue.

                                                        But isn't there still a safety issue to the consumer re: PTFEs? (when the cookware is overheated and used improperly)

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        "We have a test result from the Danish Technological Institute, clearly testifying that our products do not include PFOA"), I don't really see how that's any different than the manufactoring issue that DuPont has with Teflon that they've been told to correct by 2015 (I might have the date wrong)."

                                                        There is a difference. In truth, PFOAs are extensively burned off from most cookware. It is not a surprise that Swiss Diamond pans have little to no PFOAs in the final product. Here is an article on green pans and I quote:

                                                        "Of course, Consumer Reports also heated up both new and used cookware made with PFOA, collected air samples and found very little PFOA in them. Beck says that consumers don’t realize that PFOA is removed when the pots and pans are being made, “like the alcohol in Bananas Foster is all burned-off before you eat it,” she explains"

                                                        http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2010/0...

                                                        Now, what you said about Dupont is different. What that is about is that no PFOAs will be used during the manufacturing. In other words, no PFOAs from start to finish -- not just "finish". Hope this helps.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          I'm afraid I still don't understand, so thank you for your patience with me (I am not trying to be dense), but isn't the issue with the burning off of the PFOAs NOT the issue to the consumer BUT the issue of exposure to the factory workers and community that produces these products? I understand PFOA isn't a problem for me as a consumer in my household, but isn't SD's PFOA impact on the community where its products are manufactured the same as DuPont's in its community?

                                                          (Except that SD claimed they stopped using PFOA's in 2008?)

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            "isn't the issue with the burning off of the PFOAs NOT the issue to the consumer BUT the issue of exposure to the factory workers and community that produces these products"

                                                            Yes.

                                                            "isn't SD's PFOA impact on the community where its products are manufactured the same as DuPont's"

                                                            Agree, but like you said Swiss Diamond is buying its products from a different manufacturer so PFOA's is longer used. (I doubt Swiss Diamond makes its PTFE. It just buys it from someone). So when I said it is different is that the Swiss Diamond pans may no longer has PFOAs during the manfacturing whereas the Dupont ones still have.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I researched this for one of the other PTFE thereads, and I don't recall for certian what the final virdect was, but I know there is a committment from flouropolymer manufacturers to no longer use PFOA in the manufacturing process of PTFE by some date in the next few years. Some manufacturers may have made more progress in this area than others, the last information I could find indicated DuPont was not there yet. But there are at least a couple of other manufacturers and perhaps they have made more progress.

                                                              If in fact the PFOA is no longer part of the manufacturing process for the PTFE that Swiss Diamond applied to their cookware, I'm not sure what other chemicals are at issue. Again, assuming you don't take the thing over 700 degrees.

                                                      3. re: ferret

                                                        Ferret,

                                                        Yes, I agree with you. PFOAs are burned off, but that is true for most nonstick cookware. No one I know would burn off PTFE in a process. That is just nonsense.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          That's what I was saying in response to Candy's post. Swiss Diamond clearly has PTFE.

                                                      4. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        It's the PFOA that's off gassed at the high application temperatures. The PFOA is a plasticizer to aid in processing, it's not part of the final non stick coating. I think what Scanpan and Swiss Diamond have done is add some surface texture to reduce sticking which also accounts for the use of less PTFE. My Staub braiser has surface textrue and a hexagon pattern in the bottom, which I believe is intended to reduce sticking. Works reasonably well, although I have not fried eggs in it at this point. And if you have bacon with your eggs, you really don't need non-stick for them anyway.

                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                          "I think what Scanpan and Swiss Diamond have done is add some surface texture to reduce sticking which also accounts for the use of less PTFE."

                                                          Interesting idea.

                                                          Hey, do you know if manufacturers apply multi-layer of PTFE on cookware? If so, I wonder if Swiss Diamond and Scanpan apply fewer layers and therefore less PTFE since their cookware have high and low valleys to protect the PTFE surface and don't need a real thick layer of PTFE. Just a random thought.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            I suspect the use of diamonds, or other textured surfaces, has more to do with getting the PTFE to adhere well, than with reducing the amount of PTFE needed. The low stick properties of PTFE mean that it is difficult to make it stick well to the pan surface. Most of the enhancements to nonstick coatings seek to improve the durability. 'Diamonds' are just one of those enhancements.

                                                            Some people worry about ingesting Teflon as the pan surface wears or even flakes. I suspect that is one of the least worrisome as issue. The material is used in implanted medical devices in part because it is so inert - Teflon surfaces on artificial joints are not absorbed by the body.

                                                            By the way, plumbers also use Teflon tape to ensure water tight seals when pipes are screwed together.

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I agree with paul's take, but manufacturers do apply multiple layers of PTFE. Fagor's coated cast aluminum cookware advertises two layers, and this Berndes set has "triple layer of DuPont Autograph 2 non stick coating" http://www.amazon.com/Berndes-Milesto...

                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                It's quite likely that one layer is designed to maximize adhesion to the metal, while the top layer provides cooking surface. Think of the inner layer as a primer coat.