People have a tendency to forget security and safety issues whenever a new technology provides a great convenience. This is especially true regarding health and diet products. There are consequences to that carelessness, and people tend to forget about potential consequences until the consequences actually manifest themselves. A good example of this phenomena is the broad acceptance of non-stick cookware. It is quite convenient, but it is far from safe.
If a bird inhales the toxic PFOA fumes that are produced by heated non-stick pans, its lungs will ulcerate and it will suffocate in its own body fluids. This is due to it having inhaled either polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Birds were used for centuries as an early warning system in mines, because they rapidly die whenever they are exposed to even small amounts of poison gas. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are both fluoride compounds. Fluoride is a poison that depresses the thyroid, which can cause hypothyroidism, particularly with repeated exposure. It accumulates in the bones, teeth, and the pineal gland. It has been linked to brittle bone disease and cognitive problems. Fluoride is the main ingredient in some rat poisons.
We discovered studies that vastly contradict the marketing of the companies that sell non-stick pans. The E.P.A. reported that PFOA accumulates inside humans for years, and it has been verified to produce cancers in laboratory tests. It noted that the chemical particularly damaged the livers of rats, and it furthermore had a tendency to raise the triglyceride levels in humans. PFOA has been registered with the E.P.A. as a potential human carcinogen.
Dupont, the inventor of Teflon, was sued for withholding safety information about the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in non-stick cookware. The Environmental Protection Agency filed the suit, claiming that "DuPont concealed its own 1981 research". Dupont records demonstrated that traces of this chemical were detected in a pregnant employee's unborn child, which proved that the company knew of the danger, since it had been pre-emptively testing for it in its own employees before anybody supposedly knew of the danger. In 1991, the company likewise omitted reporting its evidence that PFOA had contaminated the water supply of around 12,000 people. It was again sued by eight of the effected families. One of the plaintiffs was a DuPont factory worker, who bore a son with only one nostril and other facial defects. His son has since had about 30 surgeries. He and his spouse have opted not to have further children, lest they risk passing on the condition.
It is impossible to determine exactly what the fumes of the non-stick pans are doing to our bodies, because the research is so sparse. Although, Gary Craig ran into some obvious problems with the pans.
"About three or four years ago, I began having to urinate too often, including getting up five or six times at night. Gradually it got worse until it reached a peak a few months ago when I was urinating two or three times an hour all day long... [kidney failure] I noticed, however, that the problem went away when I left home to go on a trip. Within 24 to 48 hours of walking out my front door, my system returned to normal... Although I never used high heat (nothing above medium heat) I recalled that three or four years ago (about the time all this started) my mother gave me a Teflon frying pan... which I began using regularly. I stopped using the Teflon frying pan and BINGO! About 24 to 48 hours later the problem vanished."
This is far from the "flu-like symptoms" that many of the producing companies admit will occur when the pans are "overheated". They have defined "overheated" as reaching 500 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). It is important to remember that 500 degrees Fahrenheit can be reached with merely the medium temperature setting on some stoves, and some pans will emit the poison gases at much lower temperatures than is admitted by the manufacturers.
What Does PFOA Do to the Body?
Perhaps the hushed studies that have been done by DuPont since the 1950's will provide some enlightenment. Studies which used animals as test subjects revealed that non-stick cookware produces health issues in the following categories:
- Children's health and development
- Risks of liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors
- Altered thyroid hormone regulation
- Generalized damage to the immune system
- Reproductive problems and birth defects
We additionally recommend that people avoid aluminum cookware. Aluminum is a soft metal that will flake toxic metallic particles into foods being cooked with it; especially if metal utensils are being used. Stainless steel is always a better option; both for its low reactivity (low toxicity), and because this hardened steel will practically never output particles into food. Aluminum is an accumulative heavy metal that is known to lead to many degenerative diseases.
Old-fashioned cast iron pans are an even better alternative, and cast iron is naturally non-stick. Its inherent non-stick property means that cast iron is often easier to cook with than stainless steel, and it has the best heat distribution. Men who regularly eat food that is cooked in cast iron cookware should routinely consume something containing resveratrol, such as grape juice or red wine, in order to remove excessive iron from the blood.
High quality cookware is essential for cooking healthy food, so special care should be taken when purchasing cookware to ensure that none of it came from China.
Green Health Watch, Teflon gas the new DDT -- http://www.greenhealthwatch.com/newsstories/newslatest/latest0701/frying-pan-teflon.html
Environmental Working Group, Study Links Hair Products to Early Puberty in Girls -- http://www.ewg.org/node/18598
Washington Post, DuPont Defends Its Reporting on Teflon Ingredient -- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61332-2004Aug12.html
Environmental News Service, Study Warns of Health Risk From Nonstick Cookware -- http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/may2003/2003-05-16-10.asp