Monday, December 05, 2005

Teflon is in Your Food Packaging and You Don't Even Know It

Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, is used to make Teflon and nonstick cookware. Studies have shown that PFOA causes cancer and other health problems in laboratory animals. PFOA is one of the toxic chemicals released when Teflon-coated pans are overheated.

Carcinogens in Popcorn Packaging

Now it's been reported that there are likely other major sources of PFOA out there -- items like food containers and packaging. Fluorotelomers, which are chemicals used in food packaging as well as in rugs and clothing, break down into PFOA in the environment and when you ingest them. Several animal studies have demonstrated this, including one by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In one frightening example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has looked at microwaveable popcorn packaging and found that PFOA is not only present, but that it migrates to the oil from the packaging during heating.

Other than microwave popcorn bags, fluorotelomers are used in:
Packaging for fast foods like sandwiches, chicken and French fries
Packaging for pizza, bakery items, drinks and candy
Paper plates

It's in Your Blood
PFOA can now be found in the blood of 90 percent of Americans, and in one study that tested 600 children, 96 percent had PFOA in their blood. Unfortunately, while you can choose whether or not to use Teflon pans, there is currently no way for consumers to tell if packaging contains fluorotelomers.
Food Consumer July 27, 2005

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