Teflon: is it safe?

A comment to one of my recent posts said: "Hey you wanna do a story? Try researching Teflon and what the FDA's special group studying it has been up to and what the manufacturer has been doing.

A comment to one of my recent posts said: "Hey you wanna do a story? Try researching Teflon and what the FDA's special group studying it has been up to and what the manufacturer has been doing. Then think about all the teflon coating in fast food, popcorn and cooking instruments and see if you don't break out the old iron skillet and wooden spatula."

We've always used an iron skillet and wooden spatula. Not a Teflon pan in the place. But Teflon in my popcorn? Eek!

OK--so here's what I found out. Teflon lawyers (aren't all lawyers teflon?) have won a federal case. The U.S. court threw out an attmepted class action lawsuit against DuPont over Teflon's alleged toxicity.

Also, my blog partner here on GreenTech Pastures should note: many water systems in New Jersey are polluted with Teflon. At least the water won't stick in your throat.

Teflon is the trademarked name of a group of non-stick coatings made by DuPont: PTFE (polytetrafluoroethlyene) fluoropolymer and sometimes other fluoropolymers. DuPont assures the public that Teflon is safe for use with food. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found Teflon® non-stick coatings acceptable for conventional kitchen use."

Three years ago the Environmental Protectin Agency's Science Advisory Board indicated it found Teflon the acid used to make Teflon to be a "likely carcinogen." That has led to exactly zero action on the part of regulatory bodies. DuPont says, "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "does not believe there is any reason for consumers to stop using any consumer or industrial-related products" that are sold under the Teflon® brand."

Teflon pollution is now worldwide. Its molecules show up in human milk and blood. It's gaseous forms are super greenhouse gases. Here's some info on the chemicals used to make Teflon and what they do in the environment, not a pretty picture. At this point the EPA does NOT have any negative recommendation about use of Teflon products.

For the anti-Teflon side, check out Environmental Working Group.

A spokesman for the Cookware Manufacturers emailed this brief rebuttal, underlining my shoddy research: "Teflon is not the problem, but PFOA and PFOS, chemicals used in the PRODUCTION of Teflon, that are pollutants. PFOA was found to a a likely carcinogen, not Teflon. Additionally, NO PFOA has ever been detected in nonstick cookware."