Saturday, November 15, 2003

Teflon Considered Teratogenic?

Time to buy a cast-iron skillet, maybe? Caveats:

  • The EPA is still reviewing the subject and has not issued any warnings about Teflon products.
  • It's not clear that the reported birth defects are statistically significant.
  • The 20/20 transcript is maddeningly vague on the exact levels of C-8 found in the blood of humans who use Teflon. Is it one tenth of carcinogenic levels? One millionth? Nor are they very clear on the differences in exposure between DuPont factory workers and ordinary people who cook with Teflon pans or wear Gore-Tex.

On the other hand, the "Teflon flu" is definitely real, by DuPont's own admission. Don't leave your Teflon pans on the range too long. (Once again, the 20/20 transcript is infuratingly vague on this subject: exactly how long, on a typical home range, do you have to heat a pan before it reaches the 554-degree point where particulates come off the Teflon?)

I'll be keeping my eyes open for the EPA's report. Most of my cookware is Teflon-coated.

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