Measured Against Reality

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Truth About Teflon

In scientific circles, creationists are well know for shoddy scholarship, outrageous claims with no evidence, misconstruing existing evidence, writing specifically to confuse, and many other tricks to convince people that their idiotic point of view is correct. Well, this article about Teflon is about as bad.

First off, let me say that I work for a Teflon manufacturer, Applied Plastics Technology. We don’t make pans, we actually mold Teflon parts. We’ve been working with Teflon for over thirty years, and we’re currently pioneering new ways of working with it. On my first day I read through the OSHA booklet about Teflon, plus a whole bunch of other manuals about it. So I know more than a little about Teflon.

Continue reading...Teflon is an amazing chemical, and without it many different industries would shut down. It won’t react with any other chemical, it’s almost frictionless, it’s nearly a perfect insulator, and it’s one of the purest materials ever made. It’s used to insulate wire, in HDTV broadcasters, in submarine valves, to make Egg McMuffins, to hold dangerous and reactive chemicals, and too many other ways to count. Essentially, if you need something pure, something inert, something nonconductive, or something frictionless, Teflon is the only material that will do. Our world is pretty dependent upon it.

There is only one way to make Teflon dangerous, and that’s to heat it up to over 700 degrees Fahrenheit. When this happens Teflon enters a gel stage, something like Jello. When it gets this hot chemicals such as Hydrogen Fluoride are released as gasses. There are several people I work with who smoke, and they’re very careful about not getting the Teflon powder in their cigarettes for this reason. But as I said, this is the only way Teflon is dangerous.

The site I linked to claims that pans can heat up to 700 degrees in five minutes. I highly doubt this. The only time I’ve seen something get that hot on a stove was when I destroyed a tea kettle by letting all the water boil off, and that was probably not even over 700 F. But the important point is that if there’s anything in the pan it won’t get this hot on a conventional range.

Not to mention that an FDA study on the safety of Teflon cookware found that, at cooking temperatures, the gasses from oils and fats being cooked are more dangerous than those from the Teflon. A myriad of other studies have been done, and they universally show non-stick coatings to be safe. See the PTFE Wikipedia entry for more info on these.

The site makes a lot of statements about birds, and how Teflon can kill them, but neglects that being in a kitchen that doesn’t use Teflon pans can kill them. This is classic misinformation tactic, not giving all the available facts. As I mentioned before, the gasses from food are deadlier at lower temperatures than the Teflon itself.

The site also makes claims about a chemical called C-8, and implies that it comes from Teflon. But it doesn’t; it’s used to make it. Teflon itself is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE (or some other form such as PFA, but never C-8), and that’s all you get with it, unless it’s mixed with something else (such as a metal). This is the tactic that initially reminded me of creationism: make a lot of claims about something in the context of another thing, and hope the reader relates them. It’s intentional confusion, and it’s dishonest and reprehensible.

The only other claim on the site is that Teflon is present in everyone’s blood. The author doesn’t say that this is bad, just leaves it up to the reader to assume. After all, it’s in our blood! It must be bad! Unfortunately for them, lab rats fed a diet of 75% Teflon for months had no health effects, so even if it is in our blood, it’s not dangerous. It’s almost as though it never occurred to this author that agencies exist to make sure we know things are safe, and that they do experiments, instead of just making stuff up.

But I doubt it’s even true, mainly because Teflon is so inert it probably wouldn’t get absorbed in the stomach. A chemical that doesn’t react with anything, not even HCl, is not going to be digested. Even if it was, it would just kind of chill out, not doing anything because it doesn’t react. Most likely, whatever Teflon you do eat just gets pooped right out.

Teflon is a very cool chemical. It’s less reactive than stainless steel, as frictionless as ice, a nearly perfect insulator, and about as pure as any material can be. Not to mention that, as long as it’s kept relatively cool, it’s harmless. So pay no heed to these doomsayers, Teflon’s one of the safest chemical you’ll ever deal with.

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  • Your profile lists "Atheism" but I don't believe it for a moment. You're really a Priest of Darwinism. And those who subscribe to the Fudamentalist religion of Darwinism are much nastier and hateful than any Isalamofacist terrorists.

    You see, evolution requires much more faith in the unseen than any other religion on earth. The so-called evolutionary tree is nothing but dashed lines leading to species with no proven intermediates.

    The eyes you are reading this page with are the best proof that evolution is an untrustworthy faith; they would be of no use in any lesser state and so would have been discarded rather than 'evolved' to what they are today. Mutations lead to less function, not more, unless there really are mutant ninja turtles ...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:29 PM, September 11, 2006  

  • Is it me or is the above comment a tad off-topic? (Not to mention being also nonsensical drivel.)

    By Anonymous Skeptico, at 8:16 PM, September 27, 2006  

  • Yeah, that was one where I just kind of chuckled to myself when I saw it.

    By Blogger Stupac2, at 9:03 PM, September 27, 2006  

  • Great article - there was something on dangerous fumes from Teflon in one of my mother's cooking magazine's a couple of months ago. They advised oiling the pan more - without mentioning any of the carcinogens you get off coking oil. Good grief.

    Your first commenter obviously believes that you are arguing that Teflon has evolved. When everyone knows it was Created by God. Since you work with Teflon, you must work alongside God - he nice to work with? Brings in biscuits for you all?

    By Blogger Marge, at 1:10 AM, September 28, 2006  

  • Are they still doing "the eye bit" as their strong argument..? Jesus Christ!

    By Blogger Lars J., at 4:24 AM, September 28, 2006  

  • Funny, anonny. So, how do you explain all the "lesser" eyes out there that do function well enough to be retained?

    Oh, and why'd the designer give us that blind spot from building our eyes backwards, rather than follow the general plan for squids, who don't have that problem?

    As for mutation, does anyone else here suspect that anonny would refuse the most recent antibiotics because there's no such thing as new bacterial immunities?

    Anonny needs to get updated. Evolution (including mutation) is everywhere, and it's doing practical applications. Just ask Dr. Adrian Thompson about his computer chips.

    Mutation's quite useful for coming up with new stuff. Denying the usefulness of large-scale parallel innovation strikes me as equivalent to claiming that Google doesn't exist.

    By Blogger Bronze Dog, at 8:07 AM, September 28, 2006  

  • It is immediately clear the page you linked to is not an accurate summary of the concerns over PFCs. It looks like a hackjob of quotes from an ABC news story ( and apparently some other sources. It appears guilty of oversimplification and conflation.

    In spite of that kind of idiocy, this appears to be a topic that deserves attention, and it has been getting it recently.

    The Environmental Working Group is cited multiple times. On their website they have a large, detailed, and referenced section devoted to this topic.

    Here’s my summary of what I’ve read and what I think is relevant to this discussion. Please correct me if I’m wrong here; I welcome any rebuttal to these points I have gleaned from EWG’s material.

    Teflon is really a brand name, not a chemical. Teflon products include PTFE, used for non-stick cookware, and related compounds called fluorotelomers, which are used for packaging, stain repellants, and loads of other things. They collectively are classified as PFCs—perfluorochemicals--along with some of the compounds they are made from, like PFOA (C8), and PFOS (no longer used). Other companies also produce these are similar chemicals.

    PTFE releases various toxic gasses and particulates, including PFOA, when heated above 700 F. Fluorotelomers break down into PFOA and other similar persistent compounds.

    From what I gather, there are several distinct issues here.

    1. The overall environmental impact of persistent PFCs. PFOA has been a particular focus, along with over a dozen other similar chemicals. PFOA has an infinite half-life and its emissions have been unregulated for decades. It is now found globally, in animals, and in the blood of over 90% of Americans surveyed. Again, it does not break down.

    2. In light of it being found in human blood, the EPA has recently turned close scrutiny to this compound and is considering a draft by an outside expert panel which suggests it is a likely human carcinogen. Other studies indicate a number of health hazards.

    3. How PFCs are getting into human blood. At least 15 PFCs are commonly detected in blood surveys. Although PFOA has been detected when PTFE is heated over 700 F (see below for evidence this can easily happen in a kitchen), it appears that it is not the main source of contamination. Environmental contamination and terminal breakdown products of fluorotelomers seem more likely. In January of this year, the EPA and PFC industry agreed to a voluntary phase-out of PFOA and related chemicals by 2015, to be replaced with less toxic and persistent ones.

    It looks like it mostly boils down to the indestructible PFCs and how they are literally everywhere, in everything, and will be for what likely is the rest of Earth’s existence. How are they getting into our bodies, why haven’t they been regulated, and what toxic effects do they exert in animals, the environment, humans? Regulatory agencies like EPA are now turning serious attention to this subject.

    About the stovetop scenario:

    “The site I linked to claims that pans can heat up to 700 degrees in five minutes. I highly doubt this. The only time I’ve seen something get that hot on a stove was when I destroyed a tea kettle by letting all the water boil off, and that was probably not even over 700 F. But the important point is that if there’s anything in the pan it won’t get this hot on a conventional range.”

    EWG conducted that experiment:

    PTFE-coated pans were pre-heated on a conventional burner set on ‘high’. According to their results, the pans certainly did exceed 700 F in that time. (Real-life equivalent situation would be pre-heating a pan and forgetting about it.)

    They apparently did a similar demonstration on that ABC 20/20 episode, but with bacon being cooked normally. In this case the pan exceeded 500 F.

    By Anonymous Edmund, at 12:31 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • "The site also makes claims about a chemical called C-8, and implies that it comes from Teflon. But it doesn’t; it’s used to make it. Teflon itself is polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE (or some other form such as PFA, but never C-8), and that’s all you get with it, unless it’s mixed with something else (such as a metal)."

    Again from EWG's material, and their reference:

    Scientists have not identified the particular offgas compound from Teflon and other nonstick pans and other kitchen equipment that is responsible for the bird deaths, but among the many chemicals that have been measured in the air when nonstick pans are heated are PFOA and other gases that scientists consider highly toxic [3].

    3. Ellis DA, Mabury SA, Martin JW, Muir DC. 2001. Thermolysis of fluoropolymers as a potential source of halogenated organic acids in the environment. Nature 2001 Jul 19;412(6844):321-4.


    If you have access to this, I'd be interested in knowing how PFOA might come from heated PTFE, perhaps from decomposition of other offgas chemicals.

    By Anonymous Edmund, at 1:06 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • Much like those who write quotes they find to be poignant and put "anonymous" underneath them, so are anonymous comments on blogs, or really anywhere on the internet. To be truthful my identity isn't much less anonymous, but at least it doesn't appear I'm attempting to conceal anything.

    regardless, I always find it odd when the anti-intellectual evolution-deniers always refer to the "faith" required to "believe" in evolution. There is no matter of faith or belief in the use, support, understanding, or advocacy of a scientific theory or position. Being the antithesis of proof (or lack of disproof in this case) is hardly the case when talking about scientifically supported theories.

    By Blogger Justin, at 1:14 PM, September 29, 2006  

  • I wonder if a 75% Teflon diet in rats "for months" without illness is the same as a small serum level in humans for decades? Is there a long term followup study of workers exposed to Teflon in progress?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:39 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • I agree Teflon is quite safe. What worries me is the chemicals used to stick Teflon (used in the generic sense) to pans.

    These chemicals are, if I understand correctly, siloxane-terminated perfluorocarbon oligomers, similar to Scotch Guard.

    Basically, these chemicals scare me because they are chemically similar to Teflon, but can bond to most anything. I'm worried that whatever gets picked up by such a chemical will get lodged in a cell wall somewhere (since that's a low-energy place for a molecule that resembles soap) and cause a tumor.

    Also, this may be nit-picking, but Teflon isn't entirely inert at room temperature: it will react with any alkali metal. I worked with lithium foil years ago, and we had to be careful not to touch it with anything made of Teflon.

    By Blogger Joel, at 9:45 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • evolution requires much more faith in the unseen

    No, it requires reasoning about the unseen. I can't see atoms, electromagnetic fields (except certain types of high frequency oscillating ones), gravitational fields, individual atoms, molecules, electrons, DNA and a whole host of other things. But I can still reason about all of them. Of course, if your intellectual ability only extends as far as what you can see, the 'unseen' is always going to be a bit of a mystery to you.

    By Blogger sigfpe, at 10:37 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • Your refutation of the anti-Teflon article using words like "probably" and "maybe" without testing anything is useless.

    You don't know how hot an empty pan gets do you? If you don't know, you can't use it as evidence to support your point. Your highly doubting it is meaningless to the matter. You assume Teflon is harmless in the blood, but you don't know do you? Then you cannot use it as evidence.

    You just wanted to rant, and went off half-cocked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:50 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • I used to be on the fence about believing in God. But after seeing posts like that first one about eyes, I'm less inclined to give credence to the existance of a god.

    I mean, what kind of god would create idiots that have to resort to such stupid arguments?

    If God really exists and wanted to offer people proof, he could do a much better job than that. Since creationists haven't found it, it must mean either he doesn't want to offer proof or that God doesn't exist.

    If God doesn't want to offer proof, creationists that use eye or banana arguments are working against God's intent and thus actively evil.

    If God doesn't exist, well, then creationists are just wrong.

    So either creationists are actively evil, or just plain wrong.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:58 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • ...PFOA has an infinite half-life...

    Oooh! Half-life! It sounds like it might be radioactive! And dangerous for infinity!

    Or perhaps it's just a scary-sounding rephrasing of "extremely stable." That's right up there with calling for a ban on dangerous dihydrogen monoxide.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:00 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • there are many many anecdotes, some extremely well-documented, of people's birds dying from very limited exposure to teflon fumes. there are not similar anecdotes regarding other 'dangerous' kitchen fumes. nearly all teflon-pan manufacturers recommend not using their products near pet birds.

    have experiments been conducted regarding how and why teflon fumes kill birds? and, assuming the bird-killing proves to be accurate, is it not then reasonable to inspect if a similar physiological mechanism might be at work in humans?

    every element or chemical found useful by industry has been trumpeted as being safe and benign, from mercury to radium to thalidomide to asbestos to popcorn flavoring. sometimes it takes generations for problems to emerge, and significant advances in scientific analysis to determine harmful causative mechanisms. personally i feel that it is better to err on the side of caution.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • kleenex is a brand-name too, that doesn't stop all facial tissues from being called kleenex.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • I recommend that people interested in this topic find a book called "The Fluoride Deception" written by Christopher Brison. It is an excellent account of how corporate interests have and can subvert science to its own interests. Of course Teflon has been deemed safe. The big money players behind it would accept no other answer.

    When looking at issues like the Teflon debate, one needs to look at the bigger picture. Each one of these products is deemed "safe" on it's own. Teflon is deemed safe because it only poisons us a tiny little bit - barely even detectable. But when you add up all of the nearly infinite sources of toxic materials that surround us, and add up the total years of exposure time, taken as a whole they are no longer safe at all.

    I feel Teflon easily falls into this category.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:42 AM, October 02, 2006  

  • Anon said: "Your refutation of the anti-Teflon article using words like "probably" and "maybe" without testing anything is useless. "

    Actually, the anti-teflon article was using poor arguments and fallacies to "prove" teflon is bad. The blogger was simply pointing it out.

    Anon said "You don't know how hot an empty pan gets do you? If you don't know, you can't use it as evidence to support your point. Your highly doubting it is meaningless to the matter. You assume Teflon is harmless in the blood, but you don't know do you? Then you cannot use it as evidence. "

    Actually, the blogger pointed out that cooking foods emit gas that's worse than gas from an overheated Teflon pan. If it's bad, then don't leave an empty teflon pan on the stove to overheat. Not a difficult concept, is it?

    Teflon has been shown not to harm rats that eat it. It also hasn't been detected to be harmful in the blood. Shouldn't the article bashing Teflon be the one that does the tests to prove their point rather than someone who merely points out that they didn't do any tests?

    Anti-teflon bashes teflon. Makes silly arguments, does no tests, provides no evidence.

    Someone points this out. You jump in and claim anyone who disagrees with the anti-teflon article should be proving them wrong. Sorry. Doesn't work that way.

    Anon said: "You just wanted to rant, and went off half-cocked. "

    Isn't that what you are doing?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:13 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • There's evidence that birds can be harmed by fumes if kept near teflon pans in use on a stove.
    I say since profit has always been more important to businesses than customer's health, a good rumor is enough for me to run away from whatever dupont is selling..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:30 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • > Isn't that what you are doing?

    Nope. I-guesses and maybes aren't enough to refute something. I didn't defend the original article at all, but the blogger didn't prove a thing.

    His article basically said "Hey, I know tons about teflon, and I doubt pots get over 700 degrees, and I doubt teflon in the blood hurts anything, and other things kill birds too, so teflon must be safe."

    Whether or not he is right, he hasn't given any evidence. He gave a claim to expertise, two uninformed opinions, and an unrelated fact. (That food gases kill birds is unrelated to whether teflon gases kill birds.)

    Reading the teflon MSDS sheets doesn't make an expert on pot heating, untested bio effects, and bird mortality. If you want to debunk something, you can't just say "I'm an expert, so you should listen to my opinions on something I haven't studied."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • Maybe Teflon does emit harmful fumes at cooking temperatures. Does the expected amount by which it shortens your life add up to more than the total amount of life wasted by scrubbing pans that aren't non-stick? This is the real issue. I'd rather die younger having made good use of my time then live longer as a human scrubbing machine, as long as the expected loss of longevity due to Teflon poisoning is reasonably low.

    By Blogger sigfpe, at 2:06 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • You read the OSHA guide and lots of other Manuals. You're an EXPERT!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:41 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • "The site I linked to claims that pans can heat up to 700 degrees in five minutes. I highly doubt this."

    As the owner of a kitchen thermometer, I don't doubt it a bit. That is a flame, after all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • First commentor, to your religious babbale. I hope there's a hell so that you might go there. Lucifer is kick ass God himself could not destroy him, and God could not tortue people alive and dead for eternity and live with himself. So he appointed Saintan to do that job. If you think 70 billion people(pre-modern religion) are being tortured right now, you should'nt be allowed to procreate. Your just mad Atheism has science on it's side to help destroy your religion, I didn't say God just your cult and all its idols.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:46 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • bulding on one of the annonies, "god" "said" that "without faith [he] is nothing". so technically your attempts to prove his existence are really attempts to disprove his exsistence. Evolution is not faith. Faith is belief without reason. Evolution has scientific proof, and lots of it. and to the first anonymous, yes, most mutations are harmful, but some are helpful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:52 PM, October 02, 2006  

  • Evolution has scientific proof

    hmmm ... I'm a Christian PhD student in a scientific field. I'm not professing to be an expert in the age old Evolution/Creationism argument ... my personal beliefs are mine, I have enough subjective evidence to have convinced me, personally, that there is a God who cares for me, and that I have a personal relationship with Him, I don't expect (although I hope) that my subjective experience will convince anyone else that I am right ... and I don't think that a belief in God necessarily excludes a belief in evolution or vice-versa.

    I am going to take your word "proof" to task. Within the scientific research field "proof" means something has been demonstrated irrefutably. This is how I am reading your statement (if this is not how you used this word, then I apologise in advance). I don't think that evolution has been proved, as all we have is circumstantial evidence. However compelling any evidence is, it should not be taken as "proof", at least scientifically ... therefore Evolution still needs to be proved.
    Similarly, the story in creationism also needs to be proved, and seeing as there is only circumstantial evidence for this, this too hasn't been proved either.

    My personal belief is that there is a God and that evolution, mutation and natural selection are amongst His tools, but again, I only have my subjective evidence for this, and I am not going to preach to you that I have the correct view point. Every reader has an intellect, and it is for the reader to consider their own view point, and research more if they feel that they have exceeded the depth and breadth of their personal knowledge, experience and faith. From that I am quite happy for you to decide that I am wrong, that I have bits right, or that I am right.

    I guess that there are a load of other issues that we could spend our time thinking about far more usefully ... like how should we be looking after (as opposed to simply conquering) those individuals and/or countries who are less well off than ourselves, rather than participating in relatively pointless theological debates.

    Back on subject ... I've been using Teflon pans for years, and it hasn't stopped me from doing my PhD, from overtaking cars on my push-bike, socialising with friends or enjoying food and wine ... :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:14 AM, October 03, 2006  

  • Sure, Teflon won't break 700 degrees with food in it, but left empty, 700 is easily done. The nickel-aluminum elements on cooktops hea to thusands of degrees and are the same used to drive the interior airspace of a kiln to 2350F, or "cone 10". The elements themselves get significantly hotter. Most Teflon users have had the experience of ruining a Teflon pan, where the room fills with a foul, toxic-smelling smoke. Just because this doesn't happen in a couple minutes doesn't mean that people don't sometimes turn the heat on to the wrong burner or get an ill-timed phone call. Well, Teflon pans used to do this far more readily than they do now days (just speculating, perhaps the chemical wasn't as pure...?), and pet birds dying in these fumes was distribugingly commonplace. You've made some good points and I generally agree, but I think you yourself have fallen into the trap of refuting a poorly made argument and drawing the conclusion from that that there are no good arguments. I'm not an anti-Teflon zealot; I merely consider my self-imposed requirement of monitoring the cookware to be a disadvantage that, when combined no specific need for non-stick cookware, generally results in me using another pan. My favorite is a big old cast iron Lodge frying pan, which has come to be nicely seasoned. A slurry of carbon and grease makes a fine non-stick coating =)


    By Blogger Scott, at 9:09 AM, October 03, 2006  

  • Just an interesting sidenote... PTFE is used extensively as a biocompatible material used in medical implants. For example, ePTFE is used for vascular grafts which are used to replace diseased blood vessels (the e in ePTFE refers to an extra processing step - I believe). PTFE never gets credit for its importance in the medical community and the corresponding the number of lives it has saved.

    By Anonymous Garret, at 8:05 PM, October 08, 2006  

  • And the next thing is that they'll be coming for our precious bodily fluids....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:42 PM, October 21, 2006  

  • It's interesting that oil, trans-fat and other things we put directly into our food, either as seasoning or coloring do not get such attention as teflon. Comparatively, teflon seem to be safer than them.

    Having said that, while teflon is inert and all, if let's say enough of it is being ingested, and becomes part of the blood stream, would it not physically block the cells in our bodies from doing their job?

    By Anonymous Snappy!, at 9:22 PM, January 01, 2007  

  • Sure Teflon if very useful.

    However, we should not use it in our food prep.

    The FDA study found every American tested had measurable levels of Teflon in their blood.

    The study didn't prove it was bad for us but claiming that it can't get into our foods is quite simply a lie.

    Both NewScientist and ScienceDaily linked the FDA study a couple of years ago.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:56 PM, April 16, 2007  

  • FDA likes to follow the money trail and cover its ass against being sued... if we all stop taking authority as truth on so many levels we might be able to figure out more truths for ourselves... and stop fighting over bullshit and religion which was invented by early mankind in order to have something to believe in and control the masses with morals so that more powerful people could be immoral. Nowadays, we are all so conditioned and divided and conquered and so stuck in arguing with eachother in the dark, getting us virtually nowhere. The FDA and other status quo health organizations are controlled or infuenced by the people that profit off of these various industries... My gut says no to teflon and flouride and chlorine in water and various other questionable substances... Just say no to conventional reality and companies that are doing the bare minimum and you might make it through these dark ages my friends...
    Instead of focussing on what doesn't kill us we should focus on what makes us radiant... all science aside and conventional reality aside, we are powerful and vibrant beings born of the sun and can heal ourselves if we will it... follow your instincts and don't do anything from a place of fear.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 PM, October 25, 2007  

  • Just recuperated from being poisoned by the gases that came off of my teflon pans. It was the night before Thanksgiving when my daughter and I were about to bake pumpkin pies. I have a double oven and never usually use the bottom one, but needed to because other Thanksgiving food was baking in the top . My daughter preheated the bottom oven to 425 degrees . Little did we realize but I sometimes use that bottom oven for storage of my extra 4 big teflon pans. When I went to put the pumpkin pies in the oven I was hit in the face with gaseous poison. At first I thought i was ok. My husband and i took off in our car to go to the grocery to get more things for Thanksgiving. I was not in the car more than 7 minutes and my whole body started to ache like i had the flu. I was severely ill, really needing to go to the hospital, but didn't. I vomited at least 10 times that night and had a fever for at least the next 48 hours. I was perfectly healthy one minute and totally ill within a couple of minutes. My family could not believe what had just happened to me. Consequently , i missed Thanksgiving. I have now thrown all of my teflon pans out. I will never use it again! It will make you very ill. The nausea was horrible and i could not even think about that teflon smell without making myself sick.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:27 PM, November 26, 2007  

  • Okay, y'know what? I am a 12 year old girl who is english and I am doing school on the IB program. I think that alot of people who are posting comments are only doing it because they have absolutley nothng better to do with their lives. Personally I would like to thank whoever wrote this piece because I have had to write an essay on teflon and this has been particularly helpful. Well anyway, Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:14 AM, December 03, 2007  

  • Anonymous wrote:
    "[Edmund wrote]...PFOA has an infinite half-life...

    Oooh! Half-life! It sounds like it might be radioactive! And dangerous for infinity!

    Or perhaps it's just a scary-sounding rephrasing of "extremely stable." That's right up there with calling for a ban on dangerous dihydrogen monoxide."


    If I'm not mistaken, 'half-life' is commonly used to refer to how persistent a chemical is in an environment. This includes environments such as the bodies of living creatures.

    Did you actually read my original post? Did anyone? A long time ago when I wrote that post, I had hoped that someone, such as the blog's author, would respond with something interesting, like intelligent debunking, or just anything at all...

    By Anonymous Edmund, at 12:11 PM, December 10, 2007  

  • I really thank you for putting this out. I talked to my wife about replacing out existing cookware (6 months old) because I had got wind that Teflon was something was something that was so dangerous. Granted just about everything in moderation does cause cancer. The world is so full of misinformations and it seems as though there are so many people out there with a agenda for what ever reason. It's nice to know that there is someone out there like yourself who will take the time and clear things up for people. Thanks a lot.

    By Blogger FOIL, at 5:10 PM, February 17, 2008  

  • I'm constantly amazed at how quickly we go to market with products and then latter decide to check into their effect on our health and our planet. Smoking was good for you at one point according to advertisers.

    It's a long list of products, we rush to market and then create ridiculous over the top solutions.

    It was very unfortunate that the author of this had to throw in his religious, "scientific" view on creation, it has nothing to do with the topic PTFE and did nothing but stir up off topic responses.

    It takes a lot of arrogance I believe to claim so much knowledge of such a broad range of topics.

    I wish I could be so enlightened as to clearly understand how the earth came to be. The effects on PTFE on the earth, nature, our bodies, etc..

    The EPA sure could save a lot of money simply by hiring the all knowing author of "The Truth About Teflon"

    By Blogger Casual Observer, at 7:54 AM, August 30, 2008  

  • Last night I cooked using a Wok with Teflon. The oil overheated causing a smoke to appear that literally burns the eyes like onions. This morning the entire family is sick with flu like symptoms. Yes this is from the Teflon. I am throwing all my cookware away this evening. Personally I think someone shold start a class action lawsuit

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 AM, November 04, 2008  

  • Ignoring or vilifying an argument you don't agree with is not science. Use proof, not sarcasm to disprove creation or evolution. And aren't you confusing natural selection with evolution? They are not the same. Natural selection only selects pre-existing genes and does not create new genetic information. Evolution includes the belief that new genetic information was introduced within an organism, which hapened to be beneficial and allowed the organism to survive and pass on those genes leaving progeney better equipped to survive. That mechanism has been said to be mutation. The problem is that The mechanisms though to be resonsible for mutation as observed have only demonstrated selection of already existing genes and never the emergence of totally new genetic information. That sounds like natural selection, which merely shuffles already existant genes. Bacterium which inherit the ability to resist antibiotics didn't evolve that ability because resistance was already coded in a small percentage of the population. And bacterium have been demonstrated to have the ability to chemically signal distress and subsequently receive shared genetic packets with other bacterium. No new material is created through this process, just selection and sharing of existing genes. The resistant population survives the antibiotic and recolonized their environment.

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