Polytetrafluoroethylene – PTFE

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Chemical Used in Non-Stick Pans Unsafe at Any Level

Teflon (PTFE: polytetrafluoroethylene) CAS No. 9002-84-0

3M Knew About the Dangers of PFOA and PFOS Decades Ago

Daedalus, Icarus, and Pandora

1938 PTFE is discovered serendipitously by DuPont chemist, Roy Plunkett, who finds that a tank of gaseous tetrafluoroethylene (C2F4) had polymerized to a white powder.

PFOA is an essential ingredient in the making of stick-resistant Teflon, which is used in cook-ware, clothing, bedding and an array of other household products.

PFOA was present in the blood of nearly all the 1,500 people tested in the US, including young children.

Perfluorooctanoic acid is transferred to fetuses in the womb.

Animal tests have shown that high doses of the PFOA causes liver cancer, immune suppression and developmental disorders.

PFOA exposure may increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people.

Toxicologists have reported that levels found in some children are as high as those found in chemical plant workers and approach those that caused developmental problems in rats.

PFOA persists in the environment indefintely and has been found in the blood of polar bears.

1951 DuPont has developed applications for Teflon in commercial bread and cookie-making; however the incorporation avoids the market for consumer cookware due to potential problems associated with release of toxic gases if stove-top pans are overheated in inadequately ventilated spaces.

The pyrolysis of PTFE, detectable at 200 °C (392 °F), evolves several fluorocarbon gases and a sublimate.

A study documented birds having been killed by these decomposition products at 202 °C (396 °F), with unconfirmed reports of bird deaths as a result of non-stick cookware heated to as little as 163 °C (325 °F). Meat is usually fried between 204 and 232 °C (399 and 450 °F).

When pans are overheated beyond approximately 350 °C (660 °F) the PTFE coating begins to dissociate, releasing byproducts (PFOA) which can cause polymer fume fever in humans and can be lethal to birds.

1981 DuPont internal memos indicated that DuPont is aware of a study conducted by 3M that showed PFOA was harmful to newborn rats, killing some and causing some to be born with eye and face defects.

DuPont moves female employees out of PFOA areas at the plant and tells them to consult physicians before getting pregnant but does not sound an alarm.

2002 Pertluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, poses a "substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment," including a risk of birth defects.

Most of the research is conducted by scientists for 3M incorporation, which was the main manufacturer of PFOA until , when it voluntarily stopped making it.

3M incorporation also removes its Scotchgard products from the market because they contained a related chemical.

DuPont is the only US manufacturer of perfluorooctanoic acid. Seven other companies, 3M/Dynean, a unit of 3M, French incorporation Arkema, Japan's AGC Chemical/Asahi Glass, Switzerland's Ciba Specialty Chemicals Holding & Clariant, Japan's Daikin Industries and Italy's Solvay Solexis use PFOA in other products such as textiles, automobile fuel systems, computer chips, telecommunications equipment, electronic wiring, fire fighting foams and certain paper.

These 8 companies use 75% of the PFOA - China uses 25%.

2004 DuPont proposes a settlement with as many as 60,000 residents of Ohio and West Virginia of six area water districts with ground water contamination with PFOA which the incorporation has used to manufacture Teflon and other products since 1951.

2005 Minnesota residents claimed 3M discharged PFOA and PFOS, perfluorooctanoic sulfonate, in Washington County contaminating ground and well water.

The former medical director of DuPont reveals that more than 20 years ago the corporation became aware of birth defects in 2 of 8 children born to women who worked at one of their facilities manufacturing Teflon.

Similar birth defects occur in the general public at a rate of 2 in every 1,000 births.

Perfluorooctanoic acid can leach into food from packaging.

PFOA is still used to coat food packaging to keep oils from bleeding into the packaging. Some researchers contend that the chemical can leach into french fries from the small bags used typically by fast food chains.

Perfluorooctanoic acid can also leach onto popcorn as the microwavable packaging is coated with a teflon-like material.

Perfluorooctanoic acid is also used to coat pizza delivery boxes.

When heated perfluorooctanoic acid can be released from the packaging.

DuPont, which continues to manufacture polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin or Teflon, reached a $16.5 million settlement with the EPA to settle allegations the incorporation hid information about the dangers of a toxic chemical known as PFOA used in the manufacture of Teflon.

DuPont covered up important information about PFOA's health effects and about the pollution of water supplies near the incorporation's Washington Works plant for 20 years.

Teflon is used as an inert in pesticide formulations applied to growing crops or to raw agricultural commodities after harvest.

People with the higher PFOA levels were more than twice as likely to have thyroid diseases.

Teflon Patents

Roy J. PLUNKETT, Wilmington, Del., assignor to Kinetic Chemicals Inc.: "Tetrafluoroethylene Polymers"; US Patent 2,230,654; filed July 1, 1939; granted Feb. 4, 1941; French Patent (FR) 917,431; filed Nov. 14, 1945; granted Jan. 7, 1947 (Kinetic Chemicals Inc. is a subsidiary of E. I. Du Pont de Nemours, Wilmington, Delaware)

1995 Michael J. McCREERY, Xenia, Ohio, assignor to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army: "Topical skin protectants", US Patent 5,607,979; filed May 30, 1995; granted March 4, 1997


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