Teflons Toxic Legacy

Non-stick cookware has gained the reputation of being a possible source of chemical toxins amongst the general populous in recent years. What most people don’t know is that DuPont, the creators of the original non-stick material called Teflon, have known about its possible dangers for over fifty years.

Studies by some of DuPont’s own scientists conducted in the 1950’s showed Teflon to be a source of dangerous chemical particulate and gasses. [1] Multiple peer-reviewed studies over the years have delved into the health problems associated with Teflon.[2] Here is a list of the main gasses/particulates that can be released while using a non-stick Teflon type of product in your daily cooking:

  • Four chemicals that are considered highly toxic relative to most other industrial chemicals (PFIB, MFA, COF2, HF).
  • Two chemicals linked to cancer or tumors in laboratory studies (PFOA and TFE)
  • Two chemical warfare agents (PFIB and MFA) and a chemical analog of WWII nerve gas phosgene (COF2)
  • Four gaseous chemicals and some components of the particulate matter that are highly persistent environmental pollutants, that likely never break down in the environment (TFA, PFOA, CF4, PFB, and the perfluorinated particulate alkanes)
  • Two chemicals that are potent global warming gases (PFB and CF4)
  • At least two chemicals that have widely contaminated the world (PFOA and TFA), one currently undergoing a rigorous safety review at the Environmental Protection Agency (PFOA)

[1] Clayton, JW. 1967. Fluorocarbon toxicity and biological activity. Fluorine Chemistry Reviews 1(2): 197-252. [2] Blandford, TB., Seamon, PJ., Hughes, R., Pattison, M and Wilderspin, MP. 1975. A case of polytetrafluoroethylene poisoning in cockatiels accompanied by polymer fume fever in the owner. Vet Rec 96(8): 175-8.