Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Teflon Chemical May Cause Allergies

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used to make stain-resistant clothing and non-stick surfaces such as Teflon, may cause the immune system to overreact to allergens.

Mice given PFOA produced more allergen-specific antibodies, and experienced more constriction of their airways, when exposed to an egg allergen.

Currently, no studies have looked at the effects of PFOA on allergies in humans.

PFOA is now present in the blood of 95 percent of the U.S. population. PFOA has already been identified as a "likely" human carcinogen by an advisory panel to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

New Scientist June 21, 2007

 Dr. Mercola's Comment:

PFOA, also called C8, is a widely used chemical found in products such as:

 * Stain-resistant fabrics and carpets  * All-weather clothing  * Teflon coated cookware  * Non-stick boxes and wrappers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already called for a voluntary ban on PFOA because of its probably cancer-causing properties.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Occupational Safety, looking into allergic reactions, have found this new evidence adding to the risk factors of PFOA -- it appears as though the chemical primes the immune system to overreact to any allergen you're exposed to afterward.

Previous studies have also linked birth defects and infertility. Nearly everyone in the U.S. has PFOA present in their blood stream, although officials have repeatedly stated that they don't understand how it gets there.

From a common-sense standpoint, however, it's fairly easy to conclude that eating food cooked on teflon coated frying pans, and ingesting popcorn saturated with teflon from the bag coating, might be a way to introduce the chemical into the system.

In animal studies, PFOA caused:

* Serious changes in organs including the brain, prostate, liver, thymus, and kidneys 
* Death of several rat pups that were exposed to PFOA 
* Changes in the pituitary in female rats, at all doses (the pituitary controls growth, reproduction, and many metabolic functions) 
* Tumors in at least four different organs in animal tests, and PFOA has also been implicated in an increase in prostate cancer in PFOA plant workers

It is actually ok to keep you all your Teflon-coated cookware as long as you don't cook in it because as long as the surface is not heated very little of the fluoride is volatilized. However once you heat it then the fluoride is released into the air and atmosphere where it can also destroy the ozone layer.

So why not consider cooking with enameled cast-iron pots and pans  that are far more inert and provide a great cooking surface.

Related Articles:

More Troubles With Teflon Toxicity

Teflon Finds Itself in Sticky Situation

Teflon Chemicals are a Threat to Health
Get 20% off Mercola products, plus 20% of the sale goes to Organic Consumers Association.

Get Local

Find News and Action for your state:
Regeneration International

Cool the planet.
Feed the world.