Is There Hidden Teflon in Your Water?


Teflon cookwareTrouble finds DuPont's Teflon non-stick coating (again), as tens of thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents will have their tap water tested over the next 12 months to determine if their health has been compromised by drinking water contaminated with a chemical used to make the coating known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Aside from cookware, Teflon can be found in everything from clothing to car parts and flooring.

Tests will be administered on as many as 80,000 residents who receive their tap water from six public water districts or private wells where PFOA has been found near DuPont's Washington Works plant along the Ohio River near Parkersburg.

And in addition to knowing whether their water is contaminated with the chemical, residents will also receive $150 to answer a health questionnaire; and if they agree to submit a blood sample, an additional $250. The blood sample will be subjected to 51 blood tests that check for cancer markers, organ functioning and the presence of PFOA.

However, only residents who received the water for at least a year before December 3, 2004 will be eligible to participate in the testing.

DuPont Fits the Bill

DuPont agreed to pay for the screenings to settle a 2001 class-action lawsuit filed by residents who claimed the company intentionally hid and misrepresented information concerning the nature and extent of the human threat posed by PFOA in drinking water.

Costs include:

        About $70 million for resident payments and lab work.

        An estimated cost of $10 million to provide the six water utilities with new treatment equipment to reduce the chemical in water supplies.

        And, based on the findings, another $235 billion to monitor the residents' health.

The goal is to complete all testing in a year and hand it over to a panel of court-approved epidemiologists for their review.

MSNBC July 8, 2005

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Teflon-coated cookware does offer a certain level of convenience that is difficult to find elsewhere. But are you willing to sacrifice your health for ease in kitchen cleanup? I know I certainly am not, and there are many practical tricks you can use to achieve virtually the same benefit as you do with non-stick cookware.

Do you really want to exchange a few minutes of convenience for an increased risk of cancer and many bizarre health complaints?

My strong recommendation is to ditch these pans and avoid non-stick finishes altogether. I threw my Teflon pans out a long time ago and have never regretted it.

If you plan to continue using these products, please at least refrain from cooking with them at high heat or continuing to use them if they have been scratched, as both situations can liberate PFOA into your food.

The safest cookware you can use is made with ceramic-coated metal. Ceramic is virtually inert and will not transfer any metal ions to your food. My staff is currently researching specific brands to recommend and we hope to have some shortly.

For safe cooking, it is also important to use a stable oil like coconut oil -- vegetable oils are easily damaged by the heat -- and to not overcook your food.

If you still aren't convinced of the potential dangers of using Teflon cookware in your kitchen, I highly encourage you to read this story from prominent health educator, and contributing editor for, Gary Craig, who linked his problem with frequent urination to his Teflon-coated frying pan. It's quite an amazing testimony.

Related Articles:

EPA Says Teflon Could Put Your Health at Risk

Teflon Finds Itself in Sticky Situation

Teflon Chemicals are a Threat to Health

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