Health conscious individuals do their best to eat healthy,
exercise, and cook at home.  But current research
is showing what you cook in maybe as important as what you cook with.

There have been rumors about the safety of Teflon for a long
time.  But the most stricking came out in
2006.  The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) declared one of the chemicals, PFOA, used to make Teflon a “likely
human carcinogen.”  What makes PFOA even
more dangerous is that it is an indestructible chemical so all the PFOA
manufactured since 1950 will remain indefinitely in our soil, water and bodies [1].  PFOA can cross the maternal and fetal blood
barrier which may increase the risk of birth defects [2].  All ten newborns tested by the Environmental
Working Group (EWG) for PFOA had the pollutant in their blood.  A study conducted in 2007 in Demark found the
higher the concentration of PFOA in the newborn’s blood the lower its birth
weight [3].  This makes PFOA a significant public health
concern [3]. Birth defects are not the
only concern when it comes to PFOA, multiple animal studies have reported an increased
risk of cancer, birth defects and other health problems [4].  In humans, PFOA has been found to increase
cancer risk especially prostate cancer but these studies have been inconclusive
[4]. Additionally, the American
Council on Health and Science claims that the amounts of PFOA used in animal
studies is much higher than what the general population is exposed to and
research has not been able to make a definite link between humans and cancer
induced by PFOA [2]. 

In short, PFOA is an everlasting, manmade chemical used in
production of Teflon.  Although there are
two sides to the argument both sides agree that PFOA has devastating effects on
animals and may have side effects on humans. 
More recent studies are showing that PFOA does have some negative
impacts on human newborns but more research on cancer and other health problems
is needed before any decisions can be made.

Teflon cooking ware is not a must in the kitchen.  Stainless steel, glassware, and iron pots and
pans have with stood the test of time. 
They are more expensive than Teflon but at least one can be sure they
are safe for preparing food for family and friends.

 

1.            Environmental
Working Group. EPA Science Panel Says
Teflon Chemical ‘Likely’ Cause of Cancer

2006  [cited 2009; Available from:
http://www.ewg.org/node/21302.

2.            American Council on Health and
Science. Teflon Contains a Cancer-Causing
Chemical PFOA
. Top Ten Unfolded Health Scares of 2006 # 6  2006 
[cited 2010; Available from: http://www.acsh.org/publications/pubID.1438/pub_detail.asp.

3.            Fei, C., et al., Perfluorinated chemicals and fetal growth: a
study within the Danish National Birth Cohort.
Environmental Health
Perspectives, 2007. 115(11): p.
1677.

4.            Steenland, K., et al., Predictors of PFOA levels in a community
surrounding a chemical plant.
2009.

 

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