Glenn Evers, a former
DuPont Co. engineer, has accused the chemical giant of deliberately ignoring
evidence that its grease-resistant coating on paper products may have been
entering consumers' blood at high levels.
Evers first became concerned about the health effects of a perfluorinated
chemical used for food packaging in 1987, when company tests showed it was
dissolving into wet paper at much higher levels than the FDA had approved.
When the paper coating is dissolved and absorbed into the human body, it
breaks down into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a likely carcinogen.
DuPont has denied Evers's allegations, The FDA will also soon decide how
much to fine DuPont for failing to report for more than 20 years' possible
health effects associated with PFOA.
Millions of Bags of Popcorn
Meanwhile, an FDA study has revealed that PFOA could be present in
millions of bags of microwave popcorn. This alone could account for over 20
percent of the PFOA levels present in the average U.S. citizen.
Most Americans have 4-5 parts per billion of PFOA in their blood; the
source has been largely unknown. Products such as nonstick cookware such as
Teflon pans, which are produced by a process that uses PFOA, are thought to
play a role.
The FDA found that microwave popcorn bags are treated with more
grease-repelling fluorotelomer coatings than any other food wrappers. Many of
these coatings contain mixtures of long-chain chemicals that can be
metabolized to PFOA.
A significant amount of the fluorotelomers transferred from the bags to
the popcorn oil. Microwave popcorn bags are particularly dangerous, because
not only is the amount of fluorotelomers in the coatings is high, but because
popcorn bags get very hot, heating to more than 200 degrees Celsius in a
short time. This significantly increases the chances of the fluorotelomers
entering the food itself.