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View Full Version : The widespread use of teflon in household products



banquo's_bumble_puppy
2005-Aug-06, 04:47 PM
Does the increasing use of teflon in everyday household products make you nervous? I don't know enough about the material to say that it bothers me. Thoughts?

01101001
2005-Aug-06, 05:12 PM
Yes, it can be quite the slipping hazard. I suggest never leaving Teflon coated pans on the kitchen floor.

Gullible Jones
2005-Aug-06, 05:40 PM
The stuff used in the manufacturing process is pretty nasty, IIRC, but Teflon itself is quite inert.

Sammy
2005-Aug-06, 05:50 PM
The stuff used in the manufacturing process is pretty nasty, IIRC, but Teflon itself is quite inert.

Exactly!.

Unless you have a an atomic oxygen or plasma welding torch in your home, you can't break down Teflon. Unfortunately, there are many bird-related sites which warn about Teflon outgassing and poisoning birds, but these are just urban legends.

Older Teflon coated utensils sometimes broke down and shed small particles. Although unaesthic, these particles, if ingested, just pass through the body without being digested.

One of the feedstock chemicals for Teflon is a probable carcinogen, and has been found in the environment (and in production worker's blood). Obviously, this issue need attention, but has no significance for users of the end product.

Ara Pacis
2005-Aug-06, 07:53 PM
I've seen demonstrations on the local news that teflon will outgas dangerous chemicals at lower temperatures than indicated. They were heating a teflon coated skillet on a gas range and their equipment detected the chemicals (forgot what they were) at temperatures as low as 400 degrees. They did seem to confirm that the cookware was safe at lower temperatures. I also think they ignored the fact that even at that flame setting the cooler food would act as a heat sink reducing the teflon temperature.

zebo-the-fat
2005-Aug-06, 08:55 PM
How do you stick a non-stick coating to a pan? :o

Moose
2005-Aug-06, 09:24 PM
How do you stick a non-stick coating to a pan? :o

I love that sort of joke :D , but extreme temperature (cold, IIRC) and chemistry.

Sammy
2005-Aug-06, 09:39 PM
I've seen demonstrations on the local news that teflon will outgas dangerous chemicals at lower temperatures than indicated. They were heating a teflon coated skillet on a gas range and their equipment detected the chemicals (forgot what they were) at temperatures as low as 400 degrees. They did seem to confirm that the cookware was safe at lower temperatures. I also think they ignored the fact that even at that flame setting the cooler food would act as a heat sink reducing the teflon temperature.

That's contrary to everything I've ever seen or heard about. Anyone have solid info?

Ara Pacis
2005-Aug-07, 12:47 AM
I can't find the tv news report from the station I thought I saw it on, but here are some similar findings.

http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Teflon

Teflon exposure has been implicated in cancer, though DuPont denies any association. Non-stick coatings on househould frying pans have also been shown to release toxic gases upon overheating. These gases are lethal to avians, and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans. This polymer fume fever in humans may last for more than a week in cases of moderate household exposure. This level of exposure can occur when a Teflon pan is left unattended on a high-power gas burner in a small unventilated apartment. In more severe cases, the decomposition chemicals can be lethal.

http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/teflon4.htm

In new tests conducted by a university food safety professor, a generic non-stick frying pan preheated on a conventional, electric stovetop burner reached 736F in three minutes and 20 seconds, with temperatures still rising when the tests were terminated. A Teflon pan reached 721F in just five minutes under the same test conditions (See Figure 1), as measured by a commercially available infrared thermometer. DuPont studies show that the Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446F. At 680F Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two carcinogens, two global pollutants, and MFA, a chemical lethal to humans at low doses. At temperatures that DuPont scientists claim are reached on stovetop drip pans (1000F), non-stick coatings break down to a chemical warfare agent known as PFIB, and a chemical analog of the WWII nerve gas phosgene. Perhaps I was wrong about the 400F degree figure, as it appears to be 446F.

Edited to add one of the most important notes from the Teflon Website (http://www.teflon.com/NASApp/Teflon/TeflonPageServlet?pageId=/consumer/na/eng/news/news_detail.birdsafety.html).

Fumes from everyday cooking can be harmful to your bird particularly smoke from burning foods. Overheated cooking oil, fats, margarine, and butter may create dangerous fumes. Scorched plastic handles can contaminate the air. Nonstick cookware, with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating, can also emit fumes harmful to birds, if cookware is accidentally heated to high temperatures, exceeding approximately 500F (260C) well above the temperatures needed for frying or baking. In addition, PTFE coated drip pans should be avoided because even in normal use they reach extremely high temperatures and can emit fumes that are hazardous to birds. A simple rule of thumb is: never keep your pet bird in the kitchen.

Bilateralrope
2005-Aug-07, 01:12 AM
How do you stick a non-stick coating to a pan? :o

I love that sort of joke :D , but extreme temperature (cold, IIRC) and chemistry.

So you don't actually know ? :D

Sammy
2005-Aug-07, 04:35 AM
I don't buy the bit about a pan reaching 700 degrees, especially in 3 minutes.

Thanks to all who posted info.

PS My cockatiel lived 18+ years (ehich quite long for this species) in a kitchen where non-stick pans/griddles were frequently used. None of the human family or the 110 lb Old English Sheepdog seemed to have adverse reactions either (obviously anecdotal, uncontrolled data).

mickal555
2005-Aug-07, 05:52 AM
I have teflon pads that I used to stick my telrad to my scope...

My dad doesn't like non-stick for some reason so I've never used one...

Ara Pacis
2005-Aug-07, 06:47 AM
I don't buy the bit about a pan reaching 700 degrees, especially in 3 minutes.

Thanks to all who posted info.

PS My cockatiel lived 18+ years (ehich quite long for this species) in a kitchen where non-stick pans/griddles were frequently used. None of the human family or the 110 lb Old English Sheepdog seemed to have adverse reactions either (obviously anecdotal, uncontrolled data).

The Environmental Working Group's Canaries in the Kitchen (http://www.ewg.org/reports/toxicteflon/) full report here. I'm not too familiar with them so I don't know if they are a reputable organization, but they don't appear to be woo-woo.

GDwarf
2005-Aug-07, 03:04 PM
Actually, the Teflon used now a days is not Teflon, but rather a combination of two chemicals called 'silverstone'. Apparently the original teflon coatings were teflon, and would scrape off if you used a sharp enough untencil (spatula). Now it's done by sand-blasting the pan, causing many tiny pits and craters on it's surface. Then 'Teflon' primer is applied, which is sticky on both sides. After that the top, smooth layer is added, it sticks to the primer but very little else.
To date only one substance has been made that is naturally sticky on only one side, but it melts at something like 300F, so it's useless for cooking.

Sammy
2005-Aug-07, 04:05 PM
The Environmental Working Group is definitely not a woo woo org., but they tend to let their well-intentioned zeal get in the way of realy rigorous science.

CalabashCorolla
2005-Aug-08, 04:07 AM
So, does all this mean that modern non-stick cookware is hazardous to your health with normal use? I ask this because my mother recently tossed all her non-stick cookware (including a brand-new $45 skillet) in favor of stainless, because she heard a radio report on the Dangers of Teflon and freaked. Of course, various members of my family believe that microwavd Saran wrap and Doppler weather radars also cause cancer, so this could very well be a misunderstood over-reaction...

Then there is the satisfying feeling of throwing out something that maybe possibly could perhaps slightly increase your risk for dying :roll:

01101001
2005-Aug-08, 05:13 AM
[...] my mother recently tossed all her non-stick cookware (including a brand-new $45 skillet) in favor of stainless, because she heard a radio report on the Dangers of Teflon and freaked.

She's not instead using dangerous cooking oils that produce mutagenic substances at their own smoking points, is she?

Mutagenicity and Identification of Mutagenic Compounds of Fumes Obtained from Heating Peanut Oil (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2001/00000064/00000002/art00017)

CalabashCorolla
2005-Aug-08, 05:24 AM
She's not instead using dangerous cooking oils that produce mutagenic substances at their own smoking points, is she?

Mutagenicity and Identification of Mutagenic Compounds of Fumes Obtained from Heating Peanut Oil (http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iafp/jfp/2001/00000064/00000002/art00017)

As far as I know, she doesn't use peanut oil, but good ol' veggie oil instead. She has mentioned possibly using more non-stick spray, like Pam, which I have my reservations about. I'd stick with the Crisco, myself.

sarongsong
2006-Apr-13, 10:12 PM
How do you stick a non-stick coating to a pan? :oApril 13, 2006
"...Unlike Teflon, which is a sprayed-on coating, Scanpans [www.scanpan.com] are made from a mixture of ceramic and titanium, bonded onto an aluminum core...The ceramic-titanium compound that Scanpan uses is fired into the pan base at "36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and at twice the speed of sound..."
http://www.sdreader.com/published/current/bestbuys.html

farmerjumperdon
2006-Apr-13, 10:31 PM
That's one very fast pan.

Sammy
2006-Apr-14, 04:52 AM
I don't think that teflon is just "sprayed on" to the pan. It is applied in layers (primer and color layers), and chemically bonds with the substrate -- in this case, the metal pan.