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Teflon, PFOA and more reasons to avoid teflon products  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Ever since I found out tephlon is bad to breath when heated up, or eat when scraped, I've avoided using any tephlon products. I however did not know just the extent of  tephlon's toxicity. It goes way beyond the effects of tephlon being heated about 350degrees. The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in tephlon and other scotch gard products is linked to various cancers and reproductive problems. And, DuPont knew this for 40+ years, yet let it leach into public waters and seep into aquifers. They even dumped it straight into a streams, killing wildlife and cattle.

Bilott watched the video and looked at photographs for several hours. He saw cows with stringy tails, malformed hooves, giant lesions protruding from their hides and red, receded eyes; cows suffering constant diarrhea, slobbering white slime the consistency of toothpaste, staggering bowlegged like drunks. Tennant always zoomed in on his cows’ eyes. ‘‘This cow’s done a lot of suffering,’’ he would say, as a blinking eye filled the screen.



In 1961, DuPont researchers found that the chemical could increase the size of the liver in rats and rabbits. A year later, they replicated these results in studies with dogs. PFOA’s peculiar chemical structure made it uncannily resistant to degradation. It also bound to plasma proteins in the blood, circulating through each organ in the body. In the 1970s, DuPont discovered that there were high concentrations of PFOA in the blood of factory workers at Washington Works. They did not tell the E.P.A. at the time. In 1981, 3M — which continued to serve as the supplier of PFOA to DuPont and other corporations — found that ingestion of the substance caused birth defects in rats. After 3M shared this information, DuPont tested the children of pregnant employees in their Teflon division. Of seven births, two had eye defects. DuPont did not make this information public.

In 1984, DuPont became aware that dust vented from factory chimneys settled well beyond the property line and, more disturbing, that PFOA was present in the local water supply. DuPont declined to disclose this finding. In 1991, DuPont scientists determined an internal safety limit for PFOA concentration in drinking water: one part per billion. The same year, DuPont found that water in one local district contained PFOA levels at three times that figure. Despite internal debate, it declined to make the information public.



I can honestly say that, after reading this article, I want nothing to do with tephlon--not only for the health reasons, but also because I do not want to support a company that would willingly poison people and then try to cover it up.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/10/magazine/the-lawyer-who-became-duponts-worst-nightmare.html
 
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It’s my understanding that PFC’s (perfluorinated chemicals, the whole family of chemically similar non-stick chemicals) like Teflon are no longer allowed in the production of cookware or other food related packaging like pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. Ever notice how the new ceramic non-stick and copper non-stick pots & pans all of a sudden surged onto the market in the last few years? They filled the void in the market created when PFC’s were banned in cookware.

PFC’s are still allowed in other products, like Scotchgard in fabrics, Stainmaster in carpets, Gore-tex in shoes and jackets, etc.

Yeah, DuPont is quite an evil company, and all giant corporations are evil in my opinion, but this is just one of the downsides to capitalism; profits above all else inluding morals and ethics. :-(
 
pollinator
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I do wish people would stop calling this Keynesian idiocy capitalism.

I like to call it consumerism, as whenever there is an economic downturn, there is always the call for the people to consume, so that the coffers are replenished.

Yes, in broad strokes, it is still a system operated by private interests for profit, rather than the good of the state. But I think it's specific things about how capitalism is used today that are the culprit, and specific theories about free market economics using a cherry-picked accounting system that pretty much fails to consider environmental and social costs until their feet are held to the fire on the matter.

If capitalism were conducted according to permacultural principles, it would still be capitalism. It would just factor in the cost of earth and people care, and would probably invest a greater portion of returns across the board to environmental and social initiatives, and recoup a tax credit for it. It would be a matter of efficiency to ensure that people and the earth are put first at every step, because there would be an accounting later, and any lazy or dirty steps would cost ten times as much to fix down the road.

It's really, in my opinion, none of these -isms that are the problem. It's people. I think that a majority of people on this planet aren't mature enough to be able to look past a stuffed billfold to the greater issues their greed causes.

People are greedy, so they will sell toxic products and not say anything. People are lazy, so they don't want to have to lift cast-iron cookware, or to take care of their pans so that they stay naturally non-stick. And while things have improved in some places, people still don't want our groceries falling out of ripped paper bags, so plastic is still an option at the grocery.

Also, I don't think it's accurate to say that all giant corporations are evil. They are at best amoral.

Blue whales devour tonnes of krill throughout their lives. Are they evil?

I don't think it's the fact that the corporations are amoral that's an issue either. I think, like the whale, that the harm they do is the result of their size. If the krill are money, the whale's appetite is the demand for constant returns on investment by shareholders. But the only thing in nature that exhibits constant, unrestrained growth is cancer.

If they weren't giants, corporations wouldn't have the financial or political clout to fight legal battles they should reasonably be forced to settle out of court. It would be financial suicide to take the kind of risks with health, safety, and the environment that they routinely do these days with the expectation that they can either settle out of court for less than they would otherwise be ordered to pay out.

I do apologise for the brief hijack, but this is a dynamic, and a problem, the world over, and is responsible for many product-related issues.

I think it is a human problem. If consumers weren't so ready to get a great deal on something that's too good to be true, whether it be Teflon pans or shares in a company, it wouldn't be so easy to pull the wool over our eyes.

I think a great thing to keep in mind when someone is trying to sell you something is the old saw, "If something looks too good to be true, it probably is."

-CK
 
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James Freyr wrote:It’s my understanding that PFC’s (perfluorinated chemicals, the whole family of chemically similar non-stick chemicals) like Teflon are no longer allowed in the production of cookware or other food related packaging like pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags. Ever notice how the new ceramic non-stick and copper non-stick pots & pans all of a sudden surged onto the market in the last few years? They filled the void in the market created when PFC’s were banned in cookware.(



I don't understand this as Teflon Pans are still being sold in stores?

This article confirms what you are saying:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012502041.html

All my pans are stainless steel as I haven't wanted anything Teflon since the 1990"s.
 
Nicole Alderman
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According to the nytimes article, in 2013 they stopped using PFOAs...but continue to use other fluorochemicals  (PFASs). DuPont thinks those PFASs exit the body faster and so are safer.

As part of its agreement with the E.P.A., DuPont ceased production and use of PFOA in 2013. The five other companies in the world that produce PFOA are also phasing out production. DuPont, which is currently negotiating a merger with Dow Chemical, last year severed its chemical businesses: They have been spun off into a new corporation called Chemours. The new company has replaced PFOA with similar fluorine-based compounds designed to biodegrade more quickly — the alternative considered and then discarded by DuPont more than 20 years ago. Like PFOA, these new substances have not come under any regulation from the E.P.A. When asked about the safety of the new chemicals, Chemours replied in a statement: ‘‘A significant body of data demonstrates that these alternative chemistries can be used safely.’’

Last May, 200 scientists from a variety of disciplines signed the Madrid Statement, which expresses concern about the production of all fluorochemicals, or PFASs, including those that have replaced PFOA. PFOA and its replacements are suspected to belong to a large class of artificial compounds called endocrine-disrupting chemicals; these compounds, which include chemicals used in the production of pesticides, plastics and gasoline, interfere with human reproduction and metabolism and cause cancer, thyroid problems and nervous-system disorders. In the last five years, however, a new wave of endocrinology research has found that even extremely low doses of such chemicals can create significant health problems.



I honestly didn't know that companies don't have to prove a material safe before selling/manufacturing it. I thought it was like medications, and they had to be tested and shown to be (somewhat) safe before released to the public. But, that is apparently not so.
 
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Took me a good 20 minutes to find it, but I recalled reading about the history of Teflon one day and how it was first utilized. Hope you don't mind me adding in some backstory. :)

Source

In 1938, former New Carlisle, Ohio, resident Roy J. Plunkett accepted a position with DuPont in Deepwater, New Jersey. One of his first assignments was to find a non-toxic, non-flammable coolant to be used in refrigerators. One of his attempts led to the creation of a slippery powder now called Teflon. Teflon's scientific name is Polytetrafluoroethylene. The powder proved capable of withstanding temperatures as cold as minus four hundred degrees Fahrenheit and as warm as five hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

It took several years for scientists to discover ways to use Teflon. During World War II, designers of the atomic bomb utilized Teflon to manufacture gaskets and linings that could resist the bomb's corrosive components. In 1954, two French engineers discovered that cookware coated in Teflon prevented food from sticking to the pots and pans. This discovery led to the first widespread commercial use of Teflon. Later in the twentieth century, scientists began to develop ways to utilize Teflon in the practice of medicine, as well as in numerous other industries



Considering what Teflon was being used for in the 40's, it's not really surprising to read DuPont's 1961 findings.  

I can remember boiling all the water out of a teflon pan one time; young and distracted. The smoke that came off the teflon gave me an instant migraine for the next 36 hours. After that day all the teflon got thrown out.








 
James Freyr
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Anne Miller wrote:

I don't understand this as Teflon Pans are still being sold in stores?



Apparently they can't manufacture new ones, so it's my best guess that Teflon pans currently being sold were made before the ban deadline and it's just a surplus of back stock being sold. Or, maybe china allows manufacture of new teflon pans... I don't know, just thinking out loud.
 
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Weird, "Teflon Classic" pans are currently for sale on Amazon.com, ie in the US. I wonder if the pan vendors think that Teflon is such a well-recognized brand name that they are using it for other non-stick products, or if they are still selling the same old nasty stuff that was banned for use on pans and food packaging?

HEALTHY - This frying pan with Teflon Classic From DuPont non-stick coating that makes cooking and cleaning easy, PTFE/PFOA free & FDA approved. Fried egg without oil. Nonstick, release food easy.



Yet another reason to go for plain old cast iron pans!!!
 
You ridiculous clown, did you think you could get away with it? This is my favorite tiny ad!
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