The Dangers of Teflon
The dangers of Teflon, a chemical which is used to coat non-stick cookware and other surfaces, has recently come to light. Teflon is manufactured by DuPont. It contains C8, which is a likely human carcinogen, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although studies were conducted on animals, it indicated a carcinogenic potential in humans. Moreover, DuPont is facing litigation over the fact that it withheld information about the dangers of C8 from regulators and from the public. DuPont has denied that C8 causes cancer in humans. Residents of Parkersburg, West Virginia, where Teflon is made, are concerned. There, Dupont has disposed of large amounts of C8 waste, which has made its way into drinking water.
Evidence has shown that scratched Teflon cookware, when heated, has the potential to kill birds. Chemicals are released into the air during heating, specifically perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The respiratory system of birds is very sensitive to gases (the reason why canaries were used in coal mines). If their lungs are affected, who knows what harm these gases are doing to human lungs?
To underscore the growing concern over this product, the EPA instituted a "global stewardship program" to reduce PFOA emissions, totally eliminating it by the year 2015. Dupont has signed up for the new program, underscoring the fact that something can be done about teflon-coated cookware.
According to E-magazine, Dupont has announced that it will be phasing out the chemical PFOA from production.
If you have scratched Teflon-coated cookware in your possession, throw it out! If you still wish to use your cookware, it's important not to use metal utensils. Use wood, rubber, or plastic to avoid scratching the surface.