Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nonstick chemical = infertility? YIKES!

I'm sure by now you've heard that nonstick pans can emit a harmful chemical when heated at a high temperature. I know it's been implicated in killing pet birds and I got rid of all but one of my nonstick pans years ago (need one for eggs; just can't make them in stainless!).

Dupont, which manufactures Teflon, has stopped using the offending perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), however, they are still in use, only being phased out by 2015. A study was conducted in Denmark recently -- funded by 3M, interestingly -- that concluded that commonly found levels of PFCs can result in higher rates of infertility in women. Scary, but really, not that surprising. These chemicals are known to be hormone disruptors, after all.

The lesson to take away from this is simple: Just stay away from things that repel water, grease, wrinkles, etc. This is the PFC family's claim to fame. That means avoid wrinkle-resistant clothing, fast food (they coat the packaging with PFCs so it doesn't get greasy looking), Scotchgard, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets, etc. and obviously, nonstick pans. The solution to the latter is a nice sturdy Lodge pan that only gets better over time.

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