Monday, May 4, 2015

Non-Stick Pans, North Face & Patagonia Ski Jackets and Microwavable Popcorn May Be Quite Hazardous To Your Health

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Want to make one change in your kitchen that will have the biggest impact on your long term health?   Get rid of your non-stick Teflon pans.   Here, at Non-Toxic Munchkin, we have said it over and over and the reason is best described by a recent investigative piece by the Environmental Working Group describing the battle to rid us of the highly toxic chemicals called Per-or poly-fluorochemicals, or PFCs.  PFC’s, are used to make water-, grease-and stain-repellent coatings, in addition to Teflon pans.

Internal documents revealed DuPont had long known that C8, also known as PFOA, (a type of PFC)  caused cancer, had poisoned drinking water in the mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide. But the company never told its workers, local officials and residents, state regulators or the EPA. After the truth came out, research by federal officials and public interest groups, including EWG, found that the blood of almost all Americans was contaminated with PFCs, which passed readily from mothers to unborn babies in the womb. In 2006 the EPA confirmed that PFOA is a likely human carcinogen.

DuPont was fine in 2005 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- this fine actually remains the largest ever levied by the organization. DuPont did not admit guilt, but promised to phase out production and use of C8/PFOA by this year – 2015.

(That same year, DuPont settlement a lawsuit with about 70,000 West Virginia residents who lived near the plant that dumped the chemical into the waterways and landfills- is was valued at $300 million.  According to EWG DuPont has fallen short of its agreements in this settlement)

Why do we care about PFC’s?  

  • Well,  these chemicals are inside every single American - even unborn babies in the womb
  • They are found in the water supply of 29 states.  
  • This week, a group of 200 international scientists, representing 38 nations, published a call to action for more regulation of these chemicals. 
  • And, the fumes emmited when cooking on a nonstick Teflon coated pan on high heat can kill your pet bird (“Teflon toxicosis has killed hundreds of birds)

What are their effect humans?  These chemicals have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, high cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, obesity and low birth weight

How can I avoid PFC’s?
  • Get rid of your nonstick cookware and switch to stainless steel or cast iron
  • Skip optional stain treatment on new carpets and furniture (ie: Scotch Guard and others)
  • Be cautious when buying outdoor clothing. Choose clothing that doesn’t carry Gore-Tex or Teflon tags.  Greenpeace has found PFC in jackets made by:  North Face, Patagonia, Adidas, Columbia and Jack Wolfskin
  • Stain- or water-repellent fabric also tends to make use of these chemicals.. Greenpeace also found PFCs in swimwear by: Disney, Burberry and Adidas.
  • Microwaveable popcorn bags are often coated with PFCs on the inside- pop popcorn on the stovetop instead 
  • Stay away from “PTFE” or “fluoro” ingredients in personal care products (ie: Oral-B Glide floss, is made by Gore-Tex, and should be avoided.)

Can I switch to other nonstick pans?  

Probably not.  New chemicals used, seem to not be much better.  These next-generation PFCs are are now being used in greaseproof food wrappers, waterproof clothing and other products, yet their  names, composition and health effects are hidden as trade secrets.

Your best bet is to switch to safer options, namely stainless steel and casti iron for cooking 

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