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Group seeks warning labels on Teflon pans

An environmental group is asking the U.S. government to require that Teflon(R)-coated cookware carry a label descri...


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May 16, 2003 by Canadian Plastics

An environmental group is asking the U.S. government to require that Teflon(R)-coated cookware carry a label describing the potential health risks of the polytetrafluoroethylene coating. The Environmental Working Group says new tests conducted by a university safety professor show that a Teflon-coated pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 735 degrees F in three minutes and 46 seconds. The temperature exceeds DuPont’s recommended operating temperature of 500 degrees F for Teflon coated cookware.
The environmental group cites internal DuPont studies showing Teflon gives off toxic gases at temperatures as low as 446 degrees F. The group says the same studies show that at 680 degrees F Teflon-coated pans release at least six toxic gases, including chemicals reputed to kill birds.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Teflon for food contact applications in 1960 based on a food frying study that found higher levels of Teflon chemicals in hamburger cooked on heat-aged and old pans. The FDA judged the level of these chemicals to be of little health significance to humans.
DuPont denies knowing of any adverse or long-term health affects associated with using Teflon cookware, according to a Reuters report posted on the Internet.
In North America Teflon is manufactured at a DuPont facility in Parkersburg, W. VA.