What is happening?
Teflon is made from chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroakyl substances, commonly known as PFAS. Once these chemicals enter water sources and peoples’ bloodstreams — as the research has indicated they can when a Teflon surface is scratched or cracked — they essentially never break down, which has earned them the nickname “forever chemicals.”
“It gives us a strong warning that we must be careful about selecting and using cooking utensils to avoid food contamination,” said Professor Youhong Tang from the College of Science and Engineering at Flinders University.
Why is this concerning?
Although the FDA classifies Teflon as a safe food processing equipment, some scientists are not so sure. The long-term health impacts of having PFAS in our bloodstream are not yet fully understood, but there is general widespread concern that having microscopic plastic particles that never break down inside of you is probably not a great thing.
Contrary to the FDA classification, the Environmental Protection Agency says, “There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.”
There is also evidence that DuPont, the company behind Teflon, has covered up evidence of potential harmful side effects from PFAS in an attempt to convince the public that it is perfectly safe.
“Given the fact PFAS is a big concern, these Teflon microparticles in our food might be a health concern so need investigating because we don’t know much about these emerging contaminants,” University of Newcastle researcher Dr. Cheng Fang, who was part of the recent study said.
What is everyone saying?
Considering the lack of a scientific consensus on whether Teflon-coated cookware is safe or not, some people have turned to other types of pans that don’t release microplastics, such as ceramic, carbon steel, and cast iron.
“I only use food-grade stainless steel with the least amount of other metals in it, plus I use a lot of ceramic cookware. As with everything, use with caution and make sure you follow directions for use and safety,” wrote one commenter, responding to the article on the study.
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