About two months ago, I heard about a new “green” non-stick pan that Bed Bath & Beyond was carrying. I was interested and relieved – finally a safe, inexpensive, non-stick pan for people who love this convenience. Well, I was wrong.
On June 9, 2008, The Environmental Working Group sent out an email explaining that there is no public data available about the health risks of these new “green” chemicals. The email goes on by saying:
“Calling these replacement chemicals ‘green’ is like saying you’re safer driving a car at 150 miles an hour instead of 200,” said Olga Naidenko, PhD, an EWG senior scientist. “Just like the chemicals they’re replacing, these new compounds are extraordinarily persistent in the environment, they are already found in people’s blood and they cross the placenta to contaminate babies before birth.”
The email goes on to say, “In 2006, DuPont and 7 other companies, under pressure from the EPA, agreed by 2015 to phase out PFOA, a persistent breakdown product of perfluorinated chemicals in fast-food wrappers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn and other food packaging. PFOA has been termed a “likely human carcinogen” by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Even as it agreed to a phase-out, however, DuPont has insisted – in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary – that PFOA does not harm human health or the environment.”
However, The Environmental Working Group’s investigation found that:
“Since 2007, various PFC manufacturers have reported to the EPA 19 different new, unpublished studies showing “substantial risks” to human health and the environment from fluorochemicals, but under EPA rules shielding “confidential business information,” in 17 cases the companies redacted the name of the specific chemical and did not disclose its intended uses.”
The Environmental Working Group suggests that to be safer, we should:
- use stainless steal or cast iron pots
- try to avoid greasy packaged food and fast food since the wrappers are sometimes treated
- say no to optional stain treatment on furniture and new carpets
- look for personal care products without “PTFE” or “perfluoro” in the ingredients
You can see The Environmental Working Group’s concise guide to PFC’s and how to avoid them here.