Toxic Teflon

One of the chemicals used to make Teflon is called PFOA (ammonium perfluorooctanoate), also known as C-8.  I decided to do a little more research into C-8, when one of my readers sent me a link to an article about babies being exposed to hundreds of dangerous chemicals in the womb (thanks Taylor).  Before I even began to think about getting pregnant over 20 years ago, my parents had already supplied me with enough information regarding toxic chemicals in products I use on my skin, not to mention what I eat.  I knew that what I ate or put on my skin would make it into my unborn baby.  I started changing a lot of things back then and just continued that.  Now I am blessed with the opportunity to tell all of you some of the things I’ve known for some time. 

How are our unborn babies getting exposed to toxic chemicals?  Here’s a quote from the article I mentioned above, “…according to a new study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group…..laboratory tests of the umbilical cord blood taken from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U. S. hospitals…..revealed a total of 287 chemicals….The blood…collected by the Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.  Of these chemicals, the researchers say, ‘we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous systems, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests’.”  Mmmmmmm….I think I’d be concerned if just ONE of these chemicals were found, let alone 287!  Some of these chemicals were mercury, fire retardants and the Teflon chemical known as C-8 (PFOA).  In 2009, a study at the University of California found a strong link between levels of PFOA in blood and infertility in women of child-bearing age.  This chemical has also been found to alter hormone levels, affect the immune system and cause dangerously high cholesterol.

Toxic chemicals are far more dangerous to a fetus or developing child.  Here we have a product, Teflon, being advertised as making life easier, but it is poisoning us and our children.  This product is also used in carpet and clothing cleaners and in cosmetics and food packaging.  C-8 has been linked to cancer, organ damage and other health effects in laboratory animals (I do not believe in animal testing).  Two to five minutes on a stovetop and cookware coated with Teflon can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and starts to emit toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesess each year.  C-8 is not only in cookware, but also clothing.  “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some of the highest C-8 levels were found in children”.  DuPont claims that the substance is completely safe.  That C-8 is in everyone’s blood.  And inhaling the chemical may get you flu-like symptoms that are reversible and last only a couple of days.  A warning is on the DuPont website, but not on their pans.  Time to take a second look at your cooking products?  No?  Ok, then I’ll give you more.

In birds, when inhaling the toxic fumes, their lungs hemorrhage and fill with fluid, leading to suffocation.  DuPont has never studied the incidence of fever among users of their non-stick pots and pans. 

In 2001, residents living and working around a Teflon plant and landfill, filed a class-action lawsuit against DuPont for withholding information about contaminated water, air and bodies by the chemical C-8.  C-8 was originally produced by the 3M Company. 3M stopped their production due to concerns about toxicity. C-8 accumulates over time and never breaks down in your body or the environment.   Local residents were drinking the water and breathing the air.  Children were exposed to this chemical.  Residents also worked at the plant and were lied to.  DuPont has never volunteered any information.  Residents are also being denied health insurance coverage due to their exposure to a toxic chemical.  Cancer and birth defects are high in this area. 

What else?  Did you know that recent FDA studies revealed that 20% of PFOA levels in human blood may come from the leaching of PFOA coating from the lining of microwave popcorn bags? 

Here’s some good news: In 2006, the EPA entered into an agreement with 8 major makers of PFOA to eliminate virtually all sources of this chemical in the environment by 2015.  Could it be too little too late? 

Make your own choices.  Read labels.  Breathe.

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