You’ve probably heard by now that there’s a problem with Teflon. You might make it a point to never use stainless steel on your non-stick pans, so the coating won’t get into your food. Maybe you’re careful to never heat your pan above medium, or to leave a dry Teflon pan on a hot stove.
These are all great steps. And I’m glad you’re being careful. But, there is so much more you need to know.
Teflon is Just One Piece of a Toxic Non-Stick Puzzle
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that are resistant to heat, water and oil. The chemical in Teflon is one of several PFAS.
Here are some other products that contain PFAs:
Stain-resistant fabrics (like on sofas and mattresses)
Grease-resistant paper (like pizza boxes and microwave popcorn packaging)
Paint and varnishes
PFAS travel around the world through groundwater, air pollution and soil. So, they migrate to drinking water and the food supply. PFAS are bioaccumulative, so the further an animal is up the food chain, the more PFAS in their body. For this reason, larger fish tend to have significant amounts of PFAS in their bodies.
The Problem with Teflon and Other PFAS
There is still a lot that is not understood about PFAS. Nonetheless, there is enough evidence to suggest a wide range of potential health conditions that the plaintiff team of a recent lawsuit is fighting to make the companies producing these chemicals to arrange for third-party testing.
Part of the problem is that when one of these chemicals are proven to be hazardous, it just gets replaced with a new chemical in the same class.
Some of these hazards include:
Behavioral and learning disabilities
Admittedly, PFAS can be a bit more difficult to avoid and even harder to remove from our bodies than some other chemicals, like phthalates. But, there are things you can do to reduce your exposure.
Now that you know the problem with Teflon, get rid of it. Switch to cast iron and stainless steel for the stove top, and glass for the oven
Buy used rain gear. Newer gear will off-gas more chemicals. And consider storing it in a garage or other area besides your coat closet.
When remodeling, consider going with hardwoods or tile. Carpet not only is saturated with PFAS that will make its way into your dust, but a host of other chemicals as well.
When buying new furnishings, opt for the items that aren’t treated with Scotch Guard or other stain-repellants. There are more and more options in the marketplace with removable covers that can be thrown in the wash.
Cover your mattress. While not perfect, an organic mattress cover that encloses the entire mattress will help keep chemicals and mites out of the air in your bedroom.
Use an air-popper for your popcorn. Not only does this give you the ability to control what gets added to the popcorn, but you will avoid the PFAS in the bag liner. Just make sure you’re using organic popcorn, since most corn in the US is genetically modified!
Sign up for my free Kitchen Detox to learn about avoiding other common kitchen chemicals.