Last month, a federal grand jury issued a subpoena to DuPont concerning the controversial use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used to make Teflon non-stick coatings. That order came shortly after the company announced a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to disclose safety information about PFOA for two decades. A new report issued Monday by an EPA scientific advisory board (SAB) may explain the reason for this new grand jury investigation.

In it, a majority of the EPA board that reviewed the agency’s most recent report on PFOA believes the substance poses an even greater cancer risk and is likely carcinogenic to humans. The report also urges the EPA to conduct cancer risk assessments based on the variety of tumors found in mice and rats during studies. The report (see free text link below) will be discussed a week from today in a public meeting with EPA officials and SAB members.

The Environmental Working Group, one of the leading organizations studying and monitoring PFOA toxicity, hailed the SAB report as a way to increase pressure on the EPA to conduct additional risk assessments for liver, breast and pancreatic cancer as well as the human immune system. And the EPA could also increase its fine against DuPont for suppressing birth defect and safety studies to a maximum $314 million versus one hinted at in the $13 million range.

No matter which fine is levied, it’s merely pocket change in comparison to all of the profits DuPont has made at the expense of your health.

If you want to avoid Teflon altogether, I strongly recommend using ceramic-coated metal cookware or stoneware. The ceramic used to make this cookware is virtually inert and will not transfer any metal ions to the food you cook or release toxic chemicals into the air. And, if you really want to optimize your health, use a stable oil like coconut oil whenever you cook (vegetable oils are easily damaged by the heat) and don’t overcook your food.

However, if you opt for the riskier route and choose to use Teflon-coated cookware, never heat it to high temperatures, as this appears to release more of the toxic emissions.

Yahoo News June 29, 2005

EPA Science Advisory Board July 6, 2005Free Full Text Report