Written by Sarah Cain
Sunday, 24 February 2008 23:40
People have a tendency to forsake security and safety for convenience. This is often seen in regards to computing, health, and diet. There are consequences to complacency, and many of us have never taken time to consider these consequences. Most people would prefer to "pop a pill" when they have already become severely ill than to take sensible preventative measures such as maintaining a good diet. Likewise, the public overwhelmingly prefers the convenience of non-stick cooking pans. These pans are indeed convenient, but they are far from safe.
Before I began studying alternative medicine, I had no idea of the dangers of PFOA (the chemical coating on non-stick pans). I did not know that when a bird inhales the toxic PFOA fumes from a heated non-stick pan that its lungs will ulcerate, and then it will suffocate in its own body fluids. This is the effect of inhaling either polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Birds were used for centuries as an early warning system in mines because they rapidly die whenever they are exposed to poisonous gases. After learning these facts, I was driven to research the effects of inhalation of these poisons on humans.
I found studies that completely contradicted the marketing done by the companies that produce these pans. They do not appear to be safe at all. Dupont, the inventor of Teflon, was involved in a lawsuit due to withholding safety information about the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed the suit, claiming that DuPont concealed its own 1981 research showing traces of the chemical in a pregnant worker's unborn child. In 1991, the company did not report evidence that the chemical had contaminated the water supply of around 12,000 people, and there were 8 families who sued over PFOA. One of these involved the son of a DuPont factory worker who was born with only one nostril and other facial defects. He has since had around 30 surgeries. He and his spouse have opted not to have children lest they risk passing on the condition.
The EPA report states that PFOA stays in humans for years, and has been found to produce cancers in rats. It reported that the chemical also particularly damages the livers of rats, and it furthermore has a tendency to raise the triglyceride levels in humans to stimulate heart disease. PFOA has been registered with the EPA as a potential human carcinogen.
It is unknown exactly what the fumes of the non-stick pans are doing to our bodies. Gary Craig ran into some personal problems with the pans.
"About three or four years ago I began having to urinate too often, including getting up five or six times at night. Gradually it got worse until it reached a peak a few months ago when I was urinating two or three times an hour all day long… I noticed, however, that the problem went away when I left home to go on a trip. Within 24 to 48 hours of walking out my front door, my system returned to normal… Although I never used high heat (nothing above medium heat), I recalled that three or four years ago (about the time all this started) my mother gave me a Teflon frying pan… which I began using regularly. I stopped using the Teflon frying pan and BINGO! About 24 to 48 hours later the problem vanished."
This is far from the "flu-like symptoms" that many of the producing companies admit will occur when the pans are "overheated" (above 500 F). It is important to remember that 500 F can be reached with merely the medium temperature setting on some stoves, and some pans may emit the poison gases at much lower temperatures.
So, what does PFOA do to the body? I am sure that I do not know everything, but perhaps the hushed studies that have been done by DuPont since the 1950s will provide some enlightenment. Many studies which used animals as test subjects revealed that non-stick cookware produces health issues in the following areas:
- Children's health and development
- Risks of liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors
- Altered thyroid hormone regulation
- Generalized damage to the immune system
- Reproductive problems and birth defects
We pay a much bigger price than we realize whenever we opt for convenience over reliability, security, and well being. Perhaps you will pause before choosing the fast and easy option in the future to consider the consequences of the easy path. Consequences are things that we were taught about as children, but so many people seem to have forgotten this lesson. It is wiser to reflect upon such basic lessons now than to reflect upon them only after being prepared for emergency surgery, or giving birth to a child who cannot hope to compete.
We also recommend that people additionally avoid aluminum cookware. Aluminum is a very soft metal that will flake particles of itself into the foods being cooked, especially if metal utensils are being used. Stainless steel is a much better option, both for its lower toxicity, and because this hardened steel will practically never output particles into food. Aluminum is an accumulative heavy metal toxin that is known to lead to degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's. Let us never forget the associations between heavy metals (also found in vaccines) with autism either.