how to tell if it's a teflon pan?
I just received a set of second-hand pans (Eurocook brand). They look well-used with some scratches, but are otherwise, heavy, quality looking pans.
The scratches have me worried though because I can't tell from looking if these pans are or were once teflon covered.
Is there a way to tell? Or test the surface?
It needs to be tossed only when it no longer works well. Any Teflon (or similar) pan, new or old, should be used only at moderate to low temperatures. If the cooking surface is scratched, it won't be as slippery as a new pan, hence less useful as a nonstick pan. The wear shown on the side of the pan wouldn't matter. If you use it to cook a pancake, and you like the result, you don't need to toss it. Particles which come off where it is worn are nontoxic.
On the other hand, used and abused Teflon doesn't work as well as new Teflon which is handled carefully. I want Teflon only for my fried and scrambled eggs, and I want it kept in near-perfect condition, so I wouldn't want an old Teflon pan.
<So....I guess I should chuck this set then huh>
<How do you decide when a teflon pan is ready to be tossed?>
Well, really you can use it as long as you want. Most people will retire/toss the pan when it is no longer non-stick. As long as it cooks the way you expect of it, you can keep using it.