Dangers of Teflon and Plastic Ware

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On January 25, 2006, Brian Ross of ABC News reported that the Government is moving to curb the use of a chemical found in Teflon, made by DuPont. He reports that once upon a time, Teflon was hailed as, “the housewife’s best friend,” by the company. Well, with friends like DuPont and chemicals called perfluorochemicals” (PFCs), we certainly don’t need any enemies. DuPont said they are “practically” planning on having the chemical reduced and permanently removed by the year 2010, and the key word here being “practically.” As we near the end of 2009, it appears this deadline is fast approaching.

 This not only applies to pots and pans, but any product that DuPont makes that contains these PFCs, which is found in clothing, food packaging, and carpeting. A woman named Susan Bailey, who was a plant worker for DuPont, suggests that her son’s birth defects, (which include the baby being born with only one nostril and a deformed eye), are caused by these chemicals while she was working there during her pregnancy.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit advocacy organization who initiated the breaking of the story, “PFCs virtually never breaks down in the environment and has been found to contaminate most of the US population, including 92 percent of children tested to date.”

 Now as for the plastics: In Europe, a chemical called BPA has been banned in products for children under three years old since 2006.  Bottle makers have decided to reformulate their bottles, so consumers should definitely look for “BPA-free” products. It’s also mentioned at the site how the city of San Francisco, began initializing ban as well, only to have federal regulators become lax in their duties.

“A recent Journal of the American Medical Association study (quoted in an article from the Columbia Missourian) showed that people with the highest levels of BPA in their urine “were more than twice as likely to report having cardiovascular (heart) disease or diabetes. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s guide is an excellent resource, along with the guide’s “Q&A” resource.”  As far as plastic is concerned, it has been found that “nearly 95% of plastic goes unclaimed”.

 Read about “Melamine plastics” on this site, and find out about it was being used as a chemical in the making of plastic dishware. Melamine made its grand entrance in 2007 when it was discovered that pet foods made with some wheat or rice ingredients from China were contaminated with the chemical, leading to the death of hundreds of pets.

Formaldehyde is a well-known carcinogen that leaches from plastic when used with hot or acidic foods. It has been suggested that bio-plastics are far better to use, but they are far from a perfect solution, and they offer this advice: “When plastics are unavoidable, many consumers and institutions are looking for bio-plastic alternatives. A coalition of environmental and health organizations have developed draft guidelines for sustainable bioplastics production, to provide buyers with a tool by which they can compare the life-cycle costs and benefits of bioplastic options. Plastic, aluminum and stainless steel water bottles are widely available. In plastic bottles, consumers should avoid polycarbonate (#7 PC plastics), as these can leach BPA. Leaching of BPA from other plastic water bottles is rare but possible, but an NRDC study of more than 1,000 non-polycarbonate water bottles found one that did leach BPA into water.”

Become well informed of these chemicals by becoming well-read with the help of these sites.

Bibliography:

Teflon-Brian Ross-ABC News

http://abcnews.go.com/wnt/story?id=1540964

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