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Information on use of Teflon in non-stick cookware

 

28 June 2005


In general, non-stick cookware contains a surface chemical coating. One such coating is Teflon, a DuPont trademark brand. Teflon or polytetrafluoroethylene is the homopolymer of tetrafluoroethylene, and is used as an ingredient in the coating on non-stick cookware. However, not all Teflon products are based on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

 

There has been considerable interest in the possibility of adverse health effects following exposure to fumes released when Teflon coated cookware is used for cooking. However, fumes are released only when cookware is heated to extremely high temperatures (between 340C to 650C), that is, temperatures which in fact would incinerate food. There are claims that Teflon contains PFOA which is released when Teflon coated cookware is heated to 340C. Available evidence indicates that no PFOA would be released from cookware at or below normal cooking temperatures. It is advised that consumers do not overheat an empty non-stick pan or leave it unattended on the stovetop (especially at high settings).

 

Based on information currently available, the risk of health effects for consumers using non-stick cookware under normal cooking conditions is low.

 

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