Non-Stick

If you thought chemicals from Teflon being absorbed into your food was the only danger, think again. It turns out you can even be breathing it in.

When you heat a Teflon coated pan at medium heat, it emits a toxin known as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) into the air. How dangerous is it? it is dangerous enough that many pet-bird deaths have been linked to it.

Unlike DuPont, though, 3M no longer sells PFOA: In the late 1990s, when testing blood samples for a health study, the company found PFOA even in the “clean” samples from various U.S. blood banks that it had planned to use as controls. “They realized they were contaminating the entire population,” says Richard Wiles, the Environmental Working Group’s executive director. In 2000, 3M announced that it was discontinuing PFOA production.
— Please read full article: Mother Jones Magazine.

Bird Deaths

Why bird deaths? Small birds have a higher metabolic rate and react faster to toxins than other animals. This is why canarys were once used to test coal mines for poisonous gases.

It seems it has been common knowledge among veterinarians for decades that invisible fumes emitted by from non-stick cookware can kill birds. For example, in a single year, a Chicago veterinarian documented 296 bird deaths in 105 cases involving non-stick cookware. Many bird-pet owners web sites and manuals these days carry this warning.

DuPont publicly acknowledges that Teflon can kill birds, but the company-produced public service brochure on bird safety discusses the hazards of ceiling fans, mirrors, toilets, and cats before mentioning the dangers of Teflon fumes.
— More bird-deaths: Link

In a related incident over 1,200 chicks died in a research facility at the University of Columbia, Missouri. Almost a 100 of them died in the first 4 hours. It was found due to toxic gases emitted by light-bulbs coated with a Teflon chemical – PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). Source: http://www.ewg.org/node/21780.

If it is so toxic to birds that it kills them, wouldn’t it be common sense what prolonged exposure to it is doing to the human body?

Health effects

If bird deaths aren’t a good enough warning, here some of the health effects of PFOA build up on the body.

First, note that alarming studies from the EPA show that PFOA is found in more than 90% of Americans. It seems once absorbed the chemical appears to remain in the body for a long time. It also appears at higher toxicity levels in young children, and is present in the blood of new born infants.

Health risks: cancer, liver damage, growth defects, birth defects, and  immune-system damage.

Bucky was born in January of 1981 with only one nostril and a deformed right eye.

Today, two decades later, scarred from more than 30 surgeries, Bucky is coming forward and telling [ABC’s] 20/20 he wants to know who or what is responsible for a life that has not been easy.

The Bailey family and others lay the blame at the place where Sue worked when she became pregnant with Bucky – the huge DuPont plant in Parkersburg, W.Va., where workers mix the chemicals for Teflon, the famed non-stick substance used on pots and pans.

The same chemical, C-8, was found not only in the blood of Sue Bailey when she became pregnant but, it turns out, is in the blood of virtually every American, in much smaller but still detectable levels. This discovery make this a story that reaches far beyond what happened in one small town in West Virginia.

‘And how could they not be in our blood?’ Houlihan said. ‘They’re in such a huge range of consumer products. We’re talking about Teflon, Stainmaster, Gore-tex, Silverstone. So if you buy clothing that’s coated with Teflon or something else that protects it from dirt and stains, those chemicals can absorb directly through the skin.’

— Full article at: Medical News Today

Denial and Acceptance

What do these few points tell you:

  • Dupont was fined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for allegedly hiding data for years on the toxicity of PFOA. Dupont also claims PFOA is used only in the manufacturing process to bond the non-stick to the metal, and is virtually absent in the non-stick coating itself.
  • In early 2006 Dupont and eight other American companies have agreed to eliminated PFOA by 2015.
  • The EPA recommends bird owners to avoid non-stick coated cookware altogether.
  • Dupont is also in trouble for the chemicals in the wrapping paper widely used by the fast food industry to wrap your foods. See Food Wrapping.

You still think non-stick is safe after reading that? More details can be obtained from the Washington D.C. based Environmental Working Group which investigates health and environmental safety.

Keep in mind the government is waging a war against a multi-billion dollar industry – which in turn has many insiders in the government. I recommend two videos that illustrates this (from two different sectors):

Just to show how hard it is, only 5 chemicals have been banned in the last 30 years: PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), CFC (chlorofluorocarbons), Dioxin, Asbestos, and Hexavalent chromium.

Conclusion

Even if Dupont creates a new “revolutionary” and “safe” Teflon, how much would you trust them? They are in it for the billions of dollars in money they make from selling non-stick all over the world in so many products. Your health is not even a secondary concern for them. They have such powerful lawyers and such powerful media control that you’d have to do invest massive amounts of money and time (the dangers of Teflon have been known for over 10 years). By then millions of people’s health would have been damaged, and they’d get away with a “small fine”.

So why not just switch back to steel? It’s far more healthier to use oil to coat a steel or cast iron pan than to use non-stick. Just make sure you don’t use trans-fatted oils – another dangerous product of modernity (see Trans Fats).

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