Teflon is a trademark that has become a household word. Teflon and its nonstick properties are applied to cookware to prevent food from sticking, and to fabrics and textiles to repel soil and stains.

Recent research, however, has revealed Teflon’s dark side.

Teflon’s technical name is a mouthful: polytetrafluoroethylene polymer (PTFE). It’s been on the market for more than 50 years, but numerous studies show that it can emit off-gas toxic chemicals at high heats.

PTFE fumes affect birds and other small animals, and there is evidence the vapours affect humans. Studies report that some people experience flu-like symptoms when they’re near fumes given off by nonstick pans.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has even given the syndrome a name: polymer fume fever.

Further, the EPA says it’s likely that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a synthetic chemical used in the manufacture of nonstick cookware, causes cancer.

All cookware with nonstick coatings can give off gas toxic chemicals at high heats, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). .

For more information on the Teflon studies, go to the EWG website at ewg.org.


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