Throw away your Teflon cookware!

Throw away your Teflon cookware!


If you haven’t yet relegated your nonstick cookware to the dustbin, you now have even more reasons to do so now.

Even though Teflon™ (technical name: PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene polymer) has been on the market for more than 50 years, numerous studies show that it can offgas toxic chemicals at high heats. The Environmental Protection Agency says it is “likely” that Teflon™ causes cancer.

Thyroid risk

Now a recent study implicates Teflon™ in thyroid disease. A British study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (affiliated with the National Institutes of Health) shows that people with high levels of perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA), a compound found in Teflon™, are more likely to develop thyroid malfunction as well as to have various types of cancers.

Teflon™ is used in cookware, but also found in stain resistant carpet and fabric coatings.

Dupont, the manufacturer of Teflon™, says the non-stick coating is safe and adds that it has had no adverse health effects in humans. It adds that there is conflicting evidence on the thyroid issue.

Trace amounts of PFOA have shown up in blood samples taken from people across the country. When rats and mice were exposed to PFOA in far greater amounts, they developed brain tumors.

Now, an EPA advisory panel reports, “PFOA is a likely carcinogen in humans.”

Carcinogenic fumes

In terms of toxic fumes, Dupont says its cookware doesn’t decompose, possibly releasing toxic gases, until the pan reaches 680 degree Farenheit.

However, those high heats are easy to achieve. Studies show that an empty pan left on a burner for as little as three minutes can reach temperatures of 700 degrees.

PTFE fumes certainly effect birds and other small animals and there is evidence they effect humans. Studies report flu-like symptoms experienced by people who are near fumes from nonstick pans. The Environmental Protection Agency has even given the syndrome a name: polymer fume fever.

Other studies show that even higher temperatures cause the release of several other types of toxic gases.

All cookware with nonstick coatings can have the same problems, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). More information on the Teflon™ studies is available from the EWG.


1 thought on “Throw away your Teflon cookware!

  1. Hi Kathleen — Because there’s so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I’m not surprised that you are concerned. I’m a representative of DuPont though, and hope you’ll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions. Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at Teflon. This article highlights what they found — the bottom line is that you can use Teflon without worry.

    The recent Exeter study tried to determine whether there was a potential relationship between PFOA and thyroid changes. The study’s authors state that the observed association is a correlation, which may or may not be causal. This is inconsistent with other studies, including studies of workers who have had much higher levels of PFOA exposure than the general public. These workers have not shown any changes that would indicate impact on the thyroid. The weight of evidence gathered from a number of significant health studies continues to indicate to us that there is no health risk to the general public from exposure to PFOA. and can provide you with additional information.

    I’d truly be glad to share additional information about it if you are interested, and appreciate your consideration of this comment. Thanks, Ross4Teflon.

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