Teflon Chemicals are a Threat to Health


Dupont recently defended its position about partially complying with federal reporting guidelines on the health risks of a key ingredient found in Teflon.

The chemical giant has been criticized on many sides for its decision not to release all the information it compiled on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a soap-like ingredient used in making non-stick surfaces and materials. As a result, EPA has sought fines up to $300 million, arguing the company failed to inform the government and public about PFOA. The concerns:

  • DuPont concealed its own 1981 research showing traces of the chemical in a pregnant worker's unborn child
  • Ten years later, the company failed to report evidence that the chemical had contaminated the water supply of 12,000 people

The son of a DuPont factory worker who was born with only one nostril and other facial defects (he has had 30 operations) is one of eight families suing the company over PFOA. Although the man recently married, he and his spouse have opted not to have children in case they inherit his condition.

Two DuPont experts argued an internal document about elevated PFOA levels in childbearing workers and their infants wasn't a toxicology report and didn't meet the risk threshold that would've required contacting EPA. In fact, one attorney claimed PFOA and other chemicals were expected to pass through the placenta.

The company also believes EPA is unfair to apply DuPont's internal guidelines to reporting requirements of higher PFOA levels in local drinking water when the government found three years ago levels could be raised 150 times without posing a health risk. However, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group pointed out that PFOA, like other fluorochemicals, is in people everywhere, never breaks down in the environment and is toxic at or near levels found in humans.

Another health issue, “Teflon flu” causes aches and pains when non-stick pans are overheated, although a DuPont spokesperson said the physical problems are temporary and pass quickly. Yet birds, particularly small ones like finches and cockatiels, can die in short order from those kitchen fumes.

A British environmental minister has said his country will eventually ban one chemical associated with PFOA, perfluorooctane sulphonate, along with other European countries and in line with the United States. One expert on perfluorinated polymers noted the PFOA in Teflon to be potentially as harmful as perfluorooctane sulphonate, pointing out that PFOA has been recognized as a rat carcinogen for decades.

Washington Post August 13, 2004

Telegraph August 8, 2004



Dr. Mercola's Comment:

I find it absolutely amazing that companies can develop chemicals that essentially persist forever in our environment and not be held to a higher level of accountability to the chemicals' effects on our health.

One should certainly not heat Teflon to high temperatures, and it seems wise to potentially avoid this material all together. Similarly, I recommend avoiding aluminum cookware because of the potential aluminum toxicity that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. Although aluminum pots are probably less problematic than other sources of aluminum like drinking water and antiperspirants , I personally would not use aluminum cookware.


Not to mention tooth-paste which is made of aluminium oxide and penetrates the gums and is swallowed by many because they think it makes their breath smell better. - JAH


After deciding on a safe material to cook in--think stainless steel, ceramic or porcelain--it's also important to use a stable oil like coconut oil (vegetable oils are easily damaged by the heat) and not overcook your food .

Related Articles:

Warning: Teflon Can Cause Birth Defects & Infertility

Stainless Steel Stents and Cookware May Cause Problems

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