STICKING IT TO THE PAN

Just about every supermarket offers housewares that include nonstick pots and pans, the bulk of which are included in promotional give-aways tied to store purchases. A quick glance at the headlines shows this might be time for health and wellness-minded retailers to rethink the idea. Teflon, the substance that makes cookware stick-free, is currently taking a lot of heat.In February, a panel of scientists

Just about every supermarket offers housewares that include nonstick pots and pans, the bulk of which are included in promotional give-aways tied to store purchases. A quick glance at the headlines shows this might be time for health and wellness-minded retailers to rethink the idea. Teflon, the substance that makes cookware stick-free, is currently taking a lot of heat.

In February, a panel of scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency decided that perfluorooctanoic acid - a primary chemical used to manufacture nonstick products - was a likely cancer risk. Now, DuPont is facing a $5 billion, 15-state class-action lawsuit over Teflon in a Des Moines, Iowa, court. The case will feature a cast of two dozen attorneys and 73 named plaintiffs, arguing whether a ubiquitous household product causes cancer. It's tough to imagine the consumer media passing on the issue as details emerge.

However the case is decided, the coverage might play out at store level, as customers start turning up their noses at nonstick products, leaving retailers with an inventory that's too hot to handle.