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Dr. Mercola - Teflon lawsuit slides off Dupont

Teflon should be the number one thing you throw in the trash and never ever think of it again.

Date:   6/10/2009 1:38:37 PM   ( 12 y ) ... viewed 5934 times

Teflon Lawsuit Slides Off DuPont


teflon, non-stick cookwareA federal court has dismissed a group of consolidated cases against chemical and housewares company DuPont. The 22 suits alleged DuPont knew for more than 20 years that cookware containing the company's non-stick coating, popularly known as Teflon, could make consumers sick, but concealed the evidence.

The actions alleged that, when heated to normal cooking temperatures, Teflon-coated pans release toxic particles that pose a health risk to consumers. The suits specifically singled out perfluorooctanoic acid, colloquially known as PFOA, as the culprit of the emissions. However, U.S. District Judge Ronald Longstaff found that individual issues differing among the plaintiffs would each require their own inquiry, making the suits improper.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that PFOA is likely a cancer-causing agent in humans. An EPA study has shown the chemical to be present in the bloodstream of 90 percent of Americans.


Dr. Mercola''s Comments Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Don’t let anyone tell you that Teflon-coated pans aren’t safe. They are perfectly safe UNLESS you decide to heat them. The moment you start to heat them they start to volatize dangerous chemicals that ruin your and your family’s health.

So if you have them in your home now either give them away, or better yet, toss them in the trash.

After four years in the courts, a potential class-action lawsuit against Dupont, the makers of the toxic non-stick coating Teflon, has been dropped. However, the issue of whether or not the cookware coating is safe had no part in this decision. Rather, the lawsuit was dropped because it did not meet the criteria to be considered a class-action suit.

The potential lawsuit included 22 cases from about 15 states and alleged Dupont knew for more than 20 years that Teflon could make consumers sick, yet hid the information from the public.

The lawsuit specifically mentioned perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), a chemical released when Teflon-coated pans are heated and which has been classified as a likely cancer-causing agent in humans by the EPA.

It is disappointing that this lawsuit will not be going forward, as Teflon and related chemicals are clearly damaging to your health, and have been since they were first released over 70 years ago.
Why Teflon Cookware Should Not be in Your Kitchen
It’s been shown that once heated, non-stick Teflon pans will quickly reach temperatures at which toxic fumes are released.

The coating begins to break down and release toxins into the air at a temperature of only 446 degrees Fahrenheit. 

After about three to five minutes of heating, when the pans reach 680 degrees, they release at least six toxic gasses, including:
• Two carcinogens
• Two global pollutants
• MFA, a chemical deadly to humans at low doses
The Teflon brand, it was found, rose to 721 degrees F in five minutes under the same conditions.

Now, if you heat your non-stick cookware to 1,000 degrees F, a temperature that DuPont scientists have measured from stovetop drip pans, according to the Environmental Working Group, the coatings will break down into a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene.

Unfortunately, 70 percent of the cookware sold in the United States contains a non-stick coating.

This is one of many reasons why I’ve been recommending you throw away your Teflon or other non-stick cookware immediately for years, to avoid any temptation to continue using it. In its place the best choice out there, in my opinion -- and the one that I personally use -- is a new high-tech ceramic cookware. Glass cookware is also a suitable alternative, but I feel that ceramic cookware is a much better option.

Ceramic cookware is not only extremely durable and easy to clean (even the toughest cooked-on foods can be wiped away after soaking it in warm water), it is completely inert, which means it won’t release any harmful chemicals into your home or your food unlike other sets of cookware.
Your Cookware is Far From the Only Source of Teflon Chemicals
PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are known as perfluorinated chemicals. Aside from being used in the manufacture of Teflon non-stick coatings, they are used in countless items such as food packaging, upholstery and personal care products, along with:
• Clothing (Gore-Tex jackets and other “no-iron,” and “wrinkle-free” apparel)
• Nail polish removers
• Eyeglasses
• Products designed to repel soil, grease and water, such as carpet and furniture treatments
• Pizza boxes, microwave popcorn, and other non-stick food wraps
• Protective sprays for leather, shoes, and clothing
• Paint
• Cleaning products
And in another frightening example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looked at microwaveable popcorn packaging and found PFOA is not only present in the inner coating of the bag, but migrates to the oil from the packaging during heating.

At this point the chemical is so prevalent that 95 percent of Americans, including children, have PFOA in their blood -- even many of your sources of drinking water have been contaminated.
What are the Health Risks of PFOA?
Aside from being ruled a “likely carcinogen” by the EPA, PFOA has been linked to lower birth weights among newborns and a 60 percent to 154 percent increase in the chance of infertility.

The EPA has also revealed that PFOA “poses developmental and reproductive risks to humans” while animal studies have linked the chemical to:
• Risks of liver, pancreatic, testicular and mammary gland tumors
• Altered thyroid hormone regulation
• Damage to your immune system
• Reproductive problems and birth defects
Other unrelated studies have also found evidence of birth defects in babies from PFOA-exposed workers. In 1981, two out of seven women who worked at a DuPont Teflon plant gave birth to babies with birth defects. DuPont then moved 50 women workers at the plant to reduce their exposure to PFOA.

Additionally, PFOA has been associated with increases in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers.
How Can DuPont Continue to Claim Teflon is Safe?
The EPA accused DuPont of withholding health-related information about PFOA far back in 1981. Then in 2005 DuPont reached a settlement with federal officials, including paying fines that may have been as much as $313 million, for concealing the harmful health effects of PFOA.

Yet, DuPont continues to this day to claim the chemical is safe, saying no studies have ever shown Teflon to be dangerous.

Hopefully, however, you will not take their word for it and rather will take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your family from this ubiquitous contaminant.

While the EPA convinced 3M, the manufacturer of PFOS, to stop producing it years ago, PFOA continues to saturate the market. A voluntary program for companies to reduce PFOA emissions and products by 2010, and eliminate them entirely by 2015, has been introduced by the EPA. But again, it is entirely voluntary.
How to Reduce Your Exposure to Teflon Chemicals
It can be difficult to entirely avoid chemicals that have saturated the environment, but in the case of PFOA there are likely some major offenders in your home right now. Some of these, which I highly recommend getting rid of right away, include:
• Teflon and other non-stick cookware
• Microwave popcorn bags
• Packaging for greasy foods (such as take-out containers)
• Stain-proof clothing
• Carpet and fabric protectors
• Flame retardants
Avoiding these products is especially crucial for pregnant women or couples who want to have children, but really anyone who is interested in protecting their health would probably be best off avoiding them.

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