Environmental dangers of teflon

This week in the HSI e-Alert

A thread on the HSI Forum this week just might help keep you from coming down with a very unusual type of “flu.” environmental dangers posed by the production and widespread use of Teflon and other products (such as some stain-resistant carpeting) that are made with DuPont’s Teflon technology.

But this isn’t your father’s influenza; this flu is the body’s response to a familiar synthetic chemical, and it’s dubbed the “Teflon flu.”

In a tread titled “Warning – Teflon Cookware,” an HSI member named Roz starts off by describing a recent edition of ABC’s 20/20 that included a disturbing report about the possible

A member named POCKETCHANGE responds with this note: “Having spent several years in the teflon coating business and knowing firsthand the pitfalls involved in the application process, it should be noted the problem is EXCESS HEAT.”

Exactly right. I happened to catch that airing of 20/20, and it was an eye-opener. Representatives from an activist organization called the Environmental Working Group demonstrated how a Teflon coated pan can easily reach a temperature of 500 degrees while cooking bacon. At that temperature, they claim that ultrafine particles may be released from the pan. And at around 680 degrees, the pan will begin to emit toxic gases. When inhaled, the gases may cause a reaction with symptoms that are typical of the flu, including a temperature several degrees above normal, chills, headache, etc.

DuPont’s vice president of research and development, Uma Chowdhry, was interviewed by 20/20, and when asked about the Teflon flu she admitted that heated Teflon does emit fumes which can cause a “flu-like symptom, which is reversible.”

Somehow that doesn’t put my mind at ease.

And Roz agrees, saying, “proof has been found that DuPont has known for a long time of the dangers of Teflon. Well, that enough for me – out goes the 2 small skillets and 2 small pots I’ve been using. And back to the trusty ole cast-iron skillets and stainless steel only pots.”

This comment prompts a number of responses about different kinds of cookware, including this caution from Voila: “I have heard stainless steel is not really recommended either. It is made with nickel, a highly poisonous substance.” And a member named Bob adds, “A reminder to everyone not to use aluminum pots & pans as aluminum is associated with Alzheimers.”

A member named Owen follows Bob’s comment with this intriguing posting: “Our bodies don’t normally like to store aluminum compounds in our cells. Aluminum isn’t readily absorbed — UNLESS it’s in the presence of fluoride. Put fluoride and aluminum together in your body, and you’re in deep trouble. When you cook with fluoridated tap water in an aluminum pan, you increase the aluminum concentration of your food by up to 800 times.”

These and other more detailed comments about cookware and Teflon are certainly worth reflecting on as we reheat Thanksgiving leftovers this weekend.

A wide variety of health topics are being discussed on the HSI Forum this week, including omega-3, glycemic index, mercury tooth fillings, HepA outbreak, burning feet, Epstein Barr virus, and in a thread titled “Sugar in Cocoa” a member named Lisa comes to the defense of cocoa with a recipe that avoids sugar in this winter warmer that has high levels of antioxidants. Log on to our web site at www.hsionline.com to join in with these and other informative conversations about natural health alternatives.

And as for football

Who let the dogs out? Anthony Wright, Marcus Robinson, and Matt Stover did, that’s who. Ravens fans are not accustomed to watching their team unleash a stunning offense, but after a shaky start last Sunday, Wright suddenly connected with Robinson for four touchdown passes, while the most reliable field goal kicker any team could ask for (Stover) punched two through the uprights; one at the final second of regulation play to tie the game, and another during overtime to cap the most remarkable come-from-behind victories in team history. Most importantly, this team proved it’s got a ton of heart and plenty of drive to back it up. If last Sunday’s game was a preview of things to come, then we’re in for some very exciting football in the second half of the season. Next up: the 49ers come to Charm City. The dogs are barkin’.