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Old 18-08-2005, 02:53 AM
Beach Runner
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Default Is there an extra ingredient in nonstick pans:

Is there an extra ingredient in nonstick pans?
Jul 27, 2005, 13:49 ml

The question of whether Teflon cookware is safe has, according to
this story, moved from Web site chatter to the courtroom, but
scientists are also examining the chemical makeup of other products
like food containers to gauge their potential hazards.

The story says that in each instance, the substance being questioned
is perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. Studies have shown that PFOA
causes cancer and other health problems in laboratory animals, and it
is under scrutiny by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food
and Drug Administration.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research
and advocacy organization financed by foundations including the
Rockefeller, Family Fund and the Joyce Foundation, was cited as
saying that items other than pans are likely to be the major sources
of PFOA. But the group, along with many scientists, points out a
different problem: an empty overheated Teflon-coated pan does pose a
risk by releasing toxic fumes. DuPont does not dispute that, but
there is no agreement between the company and Teflon's critics over
what temperature releases the fumes. The Environmental Working Group
says 325 degrees, or a medium flame; DuPont says 660 degrees.

DuPont tells consumers at its Web site that the fumes can injure pet
birds and cause flulike symptoms in humans at "abnormally" high
temperatures, a condition that the company says can last a couple of
days. Other reports say that the fumes can kill birds.

The story says that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began
studying PFOA in 1999 and a draft report of its findings has been
reviewed by an outside science advisory panel, which has said that
PFOA is a likely human carcinogen. The E.P.A. disagrees and wants to
describe it as a suggestive human carcinogen.

The story notes that the F.D.A. has looked at PFOA in microwaveable
popcorn packaging and found that the chemical migrates to the oil
from the packaging during heating. But George Pauli, associate
director for science and policy in the office of food additive safety
at the F.D.A., was cited as saying the levels found in the microwave
packaging are low, adding, "We don't see anything at this time to say
it's a safety issue. Food doesn't appear to be a major source."

Julie DeYoung, a spokeswoman for Phoenix Packaging, a division of
ConAgra Foods, was quoted as saying,: "Studies on PFOA are
preliminary, but we are taking the issue seriously and are talking
with our paper suppliers about the issue. If the government tells
paper suppliers to make changes, we'll support that."

ConAgra makes Orville Redenbacher's and Act II microwave popcorn and
private label brands.

July 27, 2005
The New York Times
Marian Burros

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