An advisory panel for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently announced that Perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA or C8, the chemical substance used to create Teflon and other non-stick materials, should be classified as a "potential" carcinogen.
It is common knowledge that most non-stick frying pans are coated with Teflon, but few know that a similar substance is used to package food such as microwave popcorn, fast food, drinks, and candy. For years, consumers and health professionals have worried about the long-term health risks of Teflon.
Controversy continues among health officials and corporate researchers regarding the level at which Teflon can disintegrate and become a health risk. Conflicting opinions and research shows that Teflon may decompose into fumes or leach onto food between 325 degrees to 600 degrees. It is known that exposure to Teflon fumes can kill birds and can sometimes lead to fever, nausea, cough, and death in humans.
Aware of the health risks of Teflon and PFOA, the EPA is working with major corporations to eliminate use of the toxic chemical by 2015. Many consumer groups feel this problem of epidemic proportions will not be solved soon enough.
Teflon and PFOA Health Risks in the NewsThe EPA settles with DuPont after accusing the company of concealing known health risks associated with perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA. Dupont agrees to pay $10 million in fines and fund $6 million in environmental studies. (Feb-08-06) [NY TIMES]
Studies show that Teflon or PFOA was found in the blood samples of millions of U.S. consumers including newborn babies. Researchers believe that most humans are exposed to this chemical everyday but the side effects are still unknown. (Feb-07-06) [CONSUMER AFFAIRS]
A DuPont chemical engineer blows the whistle saying that since 1987 the company was aware of the health risks of PFOA found in their plastic food packaging Zonyl. (Nov-17-05) [
In 2001, DuPont settled a lawsuit for $107 million brought against the company by consumers near its West Virginia factory. Consumers claimed the harmful chemical PFOA polluted the drinking water and put 60,000 people at risk.