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|05-25-2003, 12:29 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Beware of non-stick cookware.....
Study Warns of Health Risk From Nonstick Cookware
By J.R. Pegg
WASHINGTON, DC, May 16, 2003 (ENS) - An environmental research
organization is urging the federal government to put warning labels on
with Teflon and similar nonstick coatings.
A new study released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
finds that this cookware more quickly reaches temperatures that produce
toxic particles and fumes than chemical giant and Teflon manufacturer DuPont
has previously admitted.
EWG tested coated pans and determined that in two to five minutes on a
typical household stove, the pans reach temperatures that produce toxins
that Dupont has acknowledged kill hundreds of pet birds each year and cause
the flu like "polymer fever" in humans.
"Our simple test showed DuPont is wrong when they tell customers the
pans won't degrade except under extreme misuse," said Dr. Jennifer Klein, a
chemist with EWG. "Actually, the pans started emitting toxic particles and
chemicals quite quickly at temperatures within normal use on a typical
The study's findings prompted EWG to send a petition Thursday to the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)asking the federal safety
label the coated cookware with a warning about dangers to pet birds and
possible human health effects.
The petition calls on CPSC to "require that all cookware and heated
appliances bearing polytetrafluoroethylene nonstick coatings, including
Teflon coatings, cary a label warning of the acute hazard the coating poses
to pet birds and the potential health risks to humans."
The study by Environmental Working Group warns of health risks from
common use of nonstick pans. (Photo by Ian Britton courtesy FreeFoto.com)
There have been no studies on the long term effects of Teflon and similar
coatings to humans, but DuPont has acknowledged that pans heated to some 460
degrees Fahrenheit release toxic particles that can kill birds.
There is ample evidence that this is the case in EWG's report "Canaries in
the Kitchen," which details how birds can die from inhaling fumes and
particles emitted from Teflon coated products.
Studies by DuPont show that humans may experience "polymer fume fever"
when Teflon is heated to 662 degrees Fahrenheit.
The company contends that pans heated under 500 degrees have no risks to
humans because the coating stays intact at this temperature and company
officials say they do not believe consumers often heat pans above this
EWG's findings strongly dispute this as its tests show that cookware
exceeds these temperatures and turns toxic through the common act of
pan, on a burner set on high.
"Not only did we reach normal cooking temperatures in very short times,
but what American adult with a kitchen has not left a pan on once or twice
and forgotten about it?," asked Jane Houlihan, EWG's vice president for
research. "It is hard to follow what DuPont is thinking when they say the
pans don't off-gas toxic chemicals under 'normal' use."
In its tests, EWG found that a generic nonstick frying pan preheated on
a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736 degrees Fahrenheit in
three minutes and 20 seconds - a Teflon pan reached 721 degrees Fahrenheit
in five minutes under the same conditions.
EWG's study determined that at 680 degrees Fahrenheit, Teflon pans
release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global
pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses.
The long term human health effects from these toxins have not been
studied, but there is increasing concern about chemical ingredients in
Teflon, in particular ammonium perfluorooctane (PFOA), a chemical currently
being reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A draft risk assessment on PFOA found evidence of high developmental and
reproductive health risks to humans, in particular to children and women of
DuPont's public statements about the possible health risks from PFOA -
referred to by the company as "C8" - have been questioned. The company is
under federal investigation for the possibly illegal withholding of key
health studies regarding C8 and was sanctioned by a West Virginia court
three weeks ago because a company scientist destroyed evidence from health
research on the
The government has not assessed the safety of nonstick cookware, most of
which does not carry a warning label.
EWG recommends that bird owners completely avoid cookware and heated
appliances with nonstick coatings, opting instead to use stainless steel or
cast iron. The organization says neither of these materials offgas
persistent pollutants that kill birds.
The EWG report on the health risks to birds and humans from nonstick
pans can be found here http://www.ewg.org/reports/toxicteflon
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2003. All Rights