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Teflon linked to birth defects and illness; but is it safe to use in cooking?

Sunday, August 08, 2004
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: Teflon, non-stick cookware, Dupont

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Dupont is facing new charges from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it concealed research showing that pregnant workers were passing on Teflon chemicals to their unborn children. The EPA has also accused Dupont of failing to report evidence that the chemicals used to manufacture Teflon had contaminated water supplies affecting 12,000 people in the local area. Many of those affected families are suing Dupont.

One individual was born with only one nostril and various facial defects and has decided to sue the company, claiming that Teflon chemicals caused his birth defects. Dupont, of course, denies that Teflon is unsafe for use in households, even though when Teflon is heated to a high enough temperature, it gives off fumes that are well known to kill parrots and other pet birds. So what's the real story on Teflon, and is this a safe chemical to use in your household?

My take on Teflon is that it is especially dangerous to workers who are present during the manufacturing process because they are far more likely to be exposed to readily available forms of Teflon chemicals. It's also a danger to communities who may depend on water supplies that could possibly be contaminated by Teflon manufacturing chemicals. However, I don't think Teflon is a huge danger to individuals in terms of using Teflon coated pans, as long as you keep them at a reasonable temperature. The only time Teflon gives off toxic fumes is when it is heated to a very high temperature, something like 600 degrees or more, in which case, yes, it can become dangerous. So if you keep your Teflon pans relatively cool, they are unlikely to give off these toxic fumes in any large quantities.

Again, it doesn't mean that Teflon is good for you, because it certainly is not good for you. A much healthier cooking pan would be an iron pan or stainless steel pans, but with those pans people tend to add a whole lot of cooking oils so that the food doesn't stick to the pan, whereas with Teflon you don't have to add the oil -- you can use water. When using nonstick pans, the added oils can present a health hazard that may be equal to or even greater to the hazard from using Teflon cookware.

Another consideration is the quality of the cookware you are using. I wouldn't even consider using low-cost Teflon cookware that you might purchase at Wal-Mart, for example. Instead I would only buy high-end Teflon coated pans and cookware available from trusted, high-end manufacturing companies. That kind of cookware tends to be a lot more expensive -- one good cooking wok, for example, may cost you $200. But you can be sure that the Teflon won't be peeling off and ending up in your food. Just to let you know, even though I am a stickler about toxic chemicals in the house, and home, I do use Teflon coated cookware. But once again, I keep the pans at relatively low temperatures and I use high-quality pans that are less likely to degrade and allow Teflon particles to enter my foods. I also tend to eat a lot more raw meals anyway, so I'm not cooking very frequently to begin with.

In summary, I'm not recommending that people use Teflon, but I also believe that there are far greater health risks in the average household than Teflon. For example, the health risk associated with the use of perfumes or colognes -- or any product containing artificial chemical fragrance -- is far greater, in my opinion, than any health risk associated with Teflon use. The risk of chronic disease from consuming chemical food additives such as sodium nitrite, MSG, or aspartame is perhaps thousands of times greater than any risk that would be associated with using Teflon. So for most people, if you are concerned about Teflon, I think you're focusing on the wrong area. The real risk to your health comes from other products, not from non-stick pans that use Teflon.

None of this is said as a defense for Dupont, by the way. I think Dupont has clearly engaged in some business practices that are unethical and that pose a health risk both to its employees and the families in the surrounding communities. Hopefully, the EPA will make sure Dupont must answer for its actions and repay the people who have been affected. To expose workers and families to health risks during the manufacturing process of Teflon is an unacceptable business practice.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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