Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) are synthetic chemicals used in many household products. PTFE, also known by the brand name Teflon, is used to coat pots and pans. It provides a convenient surface for cooking and frying foods, as it creates a smooth veneer that prevents foods from sticking. The American Cancer Society reports that Teflon itself is not a cancer-causing agent. However, the chemical PFOA, also known as C8, is used in the manufacture of Teflon. This chemical, suspected of causing cancer, is burned off during the production process. Here is what you need to know about PFOA and your household products.
11. The Environmental Protection Agency and PFOA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took action against the manufacturer of Teflon, Dupont, in 2004. The company had improperly disposed of the toxic chemical C8. Additionally, the company had failed to address the devastating effects of this chemical on human health and the environment. Dupont paid fines for this activity in 2005. In 2006, the EPA launched the PFOA Stewardship Program and asked eight companies to work toward eliminating PFOA from emissions and products by 2015. All eight of the companies, including Dupont, have reported meeting these goals.
10. Links Between Cancer and PFOA
Exposure to high levels of PFOA may result in kidney cancer and testicular cancer, according to reports by the National Institutes of Health. Thyroid cancer may also be linked to PFOAs. Carcinogens are agents that cause changes in the DNA of your cells. This may occur due to lifestyle factors, exposure to chemical substances in the workplace or home, pollution, or medical treatments. While PFOA has not been officially deemed a carcinogen, there does seem to be evidence that it is linked to cancer.