One household item you should never cook with
Relatively lightweight, easy to clean, and food never sticks to it. Teflon – miracle for people to busy to scrub?
Teflon has been around for over 50 years , and is more than a 2 billion dollar per year business. So popular that it’s become a sort of household name for many. DuPont (the makers of Teflon) assert that their cookware is safe, and only becomes dangerous at temperatures over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
There is just so much controversy that surrounds it…… But first, I’ll share the the story that many people share. When cooking , birds nearby cooking fumes from Teflon-coated pans can die from Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) poisoning. Those stories are not just urban myths. Small birds are not recommended to be near cooking with the use of Teflon. Humans also can experience direct symptoms from the fumes as well, called “Teflon Flu”. Symptoms can last for a few hours to a couple of days, and many people dismiss it as having the “flu”.
The long-term implications for humans can be much more serious than the flu.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a chemical that’s used in producing the Teflon polymer. PFOA has been implicated in causing cancer to some of the workers, and according to a 2006 ABC news report, a DuPont chemical plant in West Virginia has already paid out over 100 million dollars in lawsuit settlements to residents of a West Virginia town who live near a Teflon plant.
Furthermore, DuPont has done it’s own research that finds that PFOA’s are related to birth defects in some animals. Also interesting to note, is that a study from the EPA has stated that PFOA’s are a likely human carcinogen (cancer-causing agent). According to Web MD (2007), the EPA furthered it’s resolve and actually began urging a Teflon chemical ban.
Me? I use stainless steel cookware. I spent a ton of money on it, but don’t recommend you need to. A lot of discount stores sell great sets for low prices. After using Teflon as many years as I did, it took me a little while to learn how to cook on it without burning food, but I couldn’t be happier. Cleaning? Takes a few minutes longer, but I’ll trade it in for the assurance of knowing that I won’t get PTFE poisoning.
“But Dr Mike, this is just paranoia……. Next you’ll be showing that everything causes cancer”
If that’s your sentiment, I would probably agree; it does sound really paranoid….. But despite all we’ve done over the last 50 years, cancer rates have generally gone up. Is it just possible that reasons could have something to do with environmental toxins?
DeNoon, Daniel, Web MD. 1/7/2006: EPA Urges Teflon chemical ban
Ross, Bryan, ABC news 1/25/2006: Government moves to curb use of chemical in Teflon
US Environmental Protection Agency: Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Fluorinated Telomers