Teflon is made with the chemical per-fluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) which is beleived to potentially cause cancer and birth defects. When teflon is overheated, emissions of PFOA are released along with other chemicals. PFOA can also be found in some pizza boxes, popcorn bags, and other common items. It has been tested that 95% of Americans have PFOA in their blood stream.
In the 1940’s up through the 1980’s, Dupont used fluorotelomers and fluoropolymers widely for many products, including Teflon cookware, packaging and cleaning products. These chemicals, when released into the atmosphere, can contaminate people’s blood and are linked to various tumors and cancers. Animals are also affected by these compounds. Their chemical properties that make them desirable for the industry make them almost impossible to break down in nature.
Although it is generally accepted that one should not knowing partake of food that has been prepared on Teflon-coated cookware, the level of risk involved remains debatable. The chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon, perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA), has been linked to cancer found in some lab rats. However, this chemical has also been detected in low levels in most of the world’s population and even occurs naturally in the environment. DuPont, the inventor of Teflon, maintains that the substance isn’t harmful when used in things such as pots and pans, and the only time emissions could occur is at extremely high temperatures: ones you are unlikely to reach on your stovetop while frying an egg. Regardless, customers remain wary of the carcinogenic potential of Teflon.
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