Thursday, January 26, 2006

I Guess We'll Need to Use a Lot More Pam

Why oh why does everything that makes life easier end up killing you?

PFOA -- a key processing agent in making nonstick and stain-resistant materials -- has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals and is in the blood of 95 percent of Americans, including pregnant women. It has also been found in the blood of marine organisms and Arctic polar bears.

The voluntary pact, which was crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, will force companies to reduce manufacturing emissions of PFOA by 95 percent by no later than 2010. They will also have to reduce trace amounts of the compound in consumer products by 95 percent during the same period and virtually eliminate them by 2015.

The agreement will dramatically reduce the extent to which PFOA shows up in a wide variety of everyday products, including pizza boxes, nonstick pans and microwave-popcorn bags.

Dupont has even agreed to the EPA's challenge. While most of this is about the emissions and by-products of Teflon production, there are still problems with the trace amounts. Chances are, since Teflon pans aren't that old, we're really going to start seeing the after-effects, if they are significant, on people in the next few decades as people who have been served food in Teflon containers and cooked in Teflon cookware their whole lives may develop related cancers. But who knows? It's difficult to tell. I know one thing, when the teflon starts to flake off whatever I'm using I'm going to replace it INSTANTLY.