Recent news shares that chemicals released from cooking in teflon can perhaps contribute to early menopause.  While this commentary wasn’t conclusive one statement was …traces of the chemical in teflon coating is found in human blood at very high levels.

This isn’t new news.

I remember the first teflon skillet my mom bought. It had rules. We were never supposed to use metal utensils when preparing food in it. Or immerse the pan while hot into cold water. It was officially the skillet we made eggs in. I also remember that somehow my younger brother or someone started not following the rules and the pan started to peel. I thought to myself, I don’t think pots and pans are supposed to peel. I personally didn’t like making my eggs in that pan because they just didn’t taste right.

When I moved out I was supposed to be grateful for whatever someone gave me along the way, but the teflon stuff – uh – uh – I wasn’t going to use it.

I was teflon phobic even 30 years ago.

Teflon is a so called heat resistant plastic. Discovered by accident ( hmmm not by design) by a Dupont chemist in 1938. They began using the stuff in the 50′s as a low-friction coating for bearings and gears. In the 60′s it was approved by the FDA for use in cookware. Not the EPA, the FDA. A chemical coating used in manufactoring was now going to make pots and pans slippery and easy to clean was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Does that make sense to you? Things we were going to cook/heat food in and then and eat, are now coated in plastic. Plastic that as far as I know melts when it gets hot.

Don’t mind me if I am simplistic in my thoughts here.

A small detail was later discovered – gee, if we get the pan hot enough it will release a lovely chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA – The fumes of which are fatal to pet birds. The company also further acknowledged that in humans there is a flu like condition called polymerfume fever, mostly noted in the company’s labs. In animals the lovely chemical can cause cancer, immune system damage and oh – I especially like this one - death.

Death by Teflon!

Here’s an absolutely amazing statistic: 95% of all Americans have traces of this chemical in their blood.

Excuse me? Ninety Five Percent?

Dear EPA and FDA,

What is it about languaging like — fatal, cause of illness, cause of cancer, damaging to the immune system and death, don’t you understand?

Dear Consumer,

WHY are you continuing to consume these harmful chemical products ?

While no study actually proves that Teflon is harmful to humans, who would actually pay to conduct a study like that? Dupont paid out a 107.6 million dollar lawsuit in 2005 brought to their attention by 50,000 people along the Ohio River near it’s West Virginia Plant. These people claim they had health challenges and birth defects from PFOA contamination. While the company admits no liabilty they did pay for EIGHT EPA based violations, one of which was failure to disclose what they knew about the harm this chemical could cause.

Non-stick users from 15 states have similar concerns and an EPA advisory board labels PFOA as a likely carcinogenic

Hmmmm… carcinogenic

EPA has asked Dupont to phase out the chemical.

I don’t understand this request.

Whatever happened to stop making this stuff?

Dupont won’t.

Although by 2015 (that’s years from now folks) they say they will reduce the amount of PFOA used, and they will guarantee that the chemical won’t be released into the environment from it’s manufacturing plants. In the mean time it is being released into the environment just loads.

It’s OK to do that now but won’t be OK in 5 years?

Further the EPA says, oh go ahead and use these carcinogenic pots and pans, under normal use there is really little harm. Forget the the part where it says in microscopic print on the teeny tiny sticker label on the plastic you rip off— promise not to heat an empty nonstick pan to high heat and do not put a hot pan in cold water cuz if you do it releases Dupont from any liability?

Wonder how many people actually read their packaging labels ?

I have this image of mass production of these slippery convenient carcinogenic cooking items, enough to fill warehouses across the country from floor to ceiling. So that when someday when the EPA has the gumption to actually enforce some real action and regulation. Dupont will have made enough to last an eternity.

That along with marachino cherry’s banned ever so long ago for it’s carcinogenic red food dye – duh – again when supplies run out. That’s the thing – they will never run out.

There are secret tunnels all over the world filled with jars and jars of these harmful cherries, it’s some sortof hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top plot.

above sourced partly from an article in Time – June 2006 ( not the cherry part – ha! )

Regarding which pots and pans to use, and what’s safe? EWG suggests stainless, cast iron and enamel

I personally choose glass, stainless steel and cast iron.