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Saturday, September 2, 2017


Teflon is a brand of a type of fluoropolymer coating created by DuPont, is also called PTFE (polytetrafluroethylene). It's used on lots of cookware to make them non-stick, on vascular grafts used in coronary bypass surgery, ironing board covers, heat lamps and prosthetic limbs. But it can be dangerous.

EWG has some studies showing it kills birds. Here's a quick summary from EWG:
Studies show that thermal degradation of Teflon leads to the slow breakdown of the fluorinated polymer and the generation of a litany of toxic fumes including TFE (tetrafluoroethylene), HFP (hexafluoropropene), OFCB (octafluorocyclobutane), PFIB (perfluoroisobutane), carbonyl fluoride, CF4 (carbon tetrafluoride), TFA (trifluoroacetic acid), trifluoroacetic acid fluoride, perfluorobutane, SiF4 (silicon tetrafluoride), HF (hydrofluoric acid), and particulate matter. At least four of these gases are extremely toxic - PFIB, which is a chemical warfare agent 10 times more toxic than phosgene (COCl2, a chemical warfare agent used during World Wars I and II), carbonyl fluoride (COF2 which is the fluorine analog of phosgene), MFA (monofluoroacetic acid) which can kill people at low doses, and HF, a highly corrosive gas.
Teflon can also appear on heat lamps. One University of Missouri study showed a 52% mortality rate for chicks. These chicks showed severe pulmonary damage and lung lesions. Even temperatures as low as 325F can cause deadly off gassing.

The study published by Hamaya in 2015 says "The essential etiology of polytetrafluoroethylene fume–induced pulmonary edema seems to be increased pulmonary vascular permeability caused by an inflammatory response to the toxic fumes."

This 2012 study by Shuster shows Teflon's toxicity in chickens and found up to a 92% death rate, probably from using Teflon-coated heat lamps. Quote:
Two groups of chickens (Gallus domesticus; White Leghorn; age, 4 day and 2 wk) housed in a university research vivarium were found dead or moribund without prior signs of illness. The overall mortality rates were 92.3% (60 of 65 birds) for the [4 day old] birds and 80% (8 of 10) for the 2-wk-old birds. All chicks were housed in brooders with heat lamps in a temperature- and humidity-controlled room.
At temperatures over 290F the Teflon begins to emit various toxic gasses, which are especially deadly to birds.

From the Hippocrates Institute we see a problem with a similar chemical called C-8:
The law firm of Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, P.L.L.C., one of three law firms representing the thousands of people who recently sued DuPont for polluting their tap water. In 2001, residents living and working around a Teflon-producing plant and landfill at the Ohio-West Virginia border filed a class-action lawsuit against DuPont for withholding information about the contamination of their water, air, and bodies by a controversial chemical produced by the chemical maker. C-8 or PFOA, according to DuPont, is “an essential processing aid used to make fluoropolymers,” including Teflon – the non_stick coating found in much of the world’s cookware, but also found in fabrics, rugs, stain repellants, cosmetics and food packaging.  
From The Intercept we have more reports of drinking water contaminated from nearby chemical plants.
PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. PFOA has [also] leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan.
DuPont has tracked the PFOA blood levels in workers for years. Some workers had high levels, some had extremely high levels in their blood. Here are the documents. In Shimuzu, PFOA was found in 10 different water wells.

Any Teflon use in the home should be carefully monitored, or Teflon pans should be replaced with ceramic coated cookware, which lasts longer. Be sure never to leave a Teflon pan on a hot burner for more than 1 hour, and make sure, using a laser thermometer, the temperature of the pan does not go over 290F.

  1. The Intercept
  2. Hamaya R, Ono Y, Chida Y, et al. Polytetrafluoroethylene fume–induced pulmonary edema: a case report and review of the literature. Journal of Medical Case Reports. 2015;9:111. doi:10.1186/s13256-015-0593-9. Retrieved from NIH library on Aug 22, 2017.
  3. Shuster KA, Brock KL, Dysko RC, DiRita VJ, Bergin IL. Polytetrafluoroethylene Toxicosis in Recently Hatched Chickens (Gallus domesticus). Comparative Medicine. 2012;62(1):49-52.

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