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Health Risks of Using Teflon

Teflon is the registered trademark of Dupont or E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company. It’s a non-stick material that’s durable and stain resistant. Teflon is versatile and not used only for frying pans, but also muffin tins and cake pans. Other than cookware, the beneficial properties of Teflon allow it to be used on textiles,…

Teflon is the registered trademark of Dupont or E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company. It’s a non-stick material that’s durable and stain resistant. Teflon is versatile and not used only for frying pans, but also muffin tins and cake pans. Other than cookware, the beneficial properties of Teflon allow it to be used on textiles, nail polish hardeners, coating for eyeglass lens and others. Using Teflon cookware is obviously convenient, but there are associated health risks that you should be aware of. Perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA is a chemical used in the production of Teflon. Although Teflon is generally safe to use, it can degrade under certain

The US EPA maintains that there’s no strong reason to believe that people should stop using any product with Teflon. It’s also stated that PFOA is already present in human, but at a very low level. PFOA is used in various different products, like water repellent coating on paper, leather, textile and carpet. It is also used in various cleaning and personal care products; as well as fire fighting foams. It’s not fully understood yet how PFOA can be present naturally inside our body. On lab tests conducted on animals. PFOA has been linked to cancer and birth defects. It’s not fully confirmed yet, whether Teflon non-stick coating is a health hazard.

However, if exposure to higher level of PFOA causes potential health problems on animal, there are possible risks on human as well, especially if we use Teflon cookware each day for years. The Environmental Working Group indicated that non-stick Teflon pans could be associated with fever, chills and headache. This happens when Teflon cookware is overheated to about 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Fumes emitted by very hot Teflon surface could attach to food or inhaled. Tests by the FDA have shown that trace amount of PFOA is detected on food when Teflon cookware is heated up at very high temperature, especially when frying with little oil, which cause the cookware to overheat quickly, if the fire is not managed well.

Obviously, Dupont knows about the potential problem of using PFOA in cookware, but they are reluctant to disclose the potential problem. EPA has started to change their opinion about the use of Teflon in cookware. In 2005, EPA distributed letters to multiple companies, including Dupont, to start phasing out any use of PFOA in the manufacturing process. EPA also ordered Dupont to pay civil penalties for withholding various safety and health data, regarding the potential degradation of PFAO in the use of Teflon non-stick coating. There’s a continuing research on how PFOA may affect people.

Dupont is expecting to significantly reduce the use of PFOA in its manufacturing facilities. In 2006, EPA finally indicated that PFOA could be a carcinogenic substance. However, it is not yet added into the carcinogen list. As with various other chemicals, the effects of PFOA on humans aren’t really known. So, it’s important to reduce the use of Teflon cookware in your daily lives, so we can remain healthy for a long period of time.