Teflon is bad. It must be avoided. You can trust me at this point or skip this post , if you already know. The rest of you, a few things about Teflon to start with that by no means tell the full picture, but are certainly the list of things that caused me to immediately abandon ship on all things teflon:
- Teflon is the trademarked name for the chemical Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used in the manufacture of Teflon products and banned by 2015, breaks down indefinitely in the environment. So think about everything in the list below that you’ve ever owned. Just one person. So scary to think about those particles never breaking down and ending up in oceans and rivers and US!
- The off gasses from Teflon products kill birds. It’s really well known in vet circles. This usually comes from teflon in certain light bulbs or cook ware.
- The women working in the Dupont factory where teflon is produced, had high incidence of birth defects and abnormalities, which DuPont was forced to pay millions in damages once exposed. The worst part? DuPont had known for 20 years that the PFOAs in Teflon technology were harmful to people, yet they remained silent.
- It takes a pan about 3.5 minutes to reach 738F on an electric stove top with your average non stick pan. Teflon off gases 6 toxic gases from reaching about 680F, including carcinogens, global pollutants and a lethal chemical MFA.
- At 1000F we get into warfare gases and a WWII nerve gas. Still hungry? Unbelievable isn’t it. It seems so often that big business simply does not have our best interests at heart. It ‘s soooo time to break up with them.
- There are elevated levels of cancers, including some very rare, in and around the village where the DuPont factory is located.
- The most common symptom in every day Teflon use, is with a high temperature cold and flu. Rarely are the two connected by doctors.
We largely know Teflon for its non stick qualities. So where else is it hiding? You’ll be surprised!
- Frying pans, woks and saucepans – opt for stainless, cast iron or enamel when cooking. I use the De Buyer brand of brushed stainless, that you have to season similarly to a wok before using. SolidTeknics is awesome too and Australian made. Both are non stick, especially with a good bit of coconut oil, ghee or butter and I like to oil the pans after cooking and wiping clean to keep building a home-made non stick coating. Other options are ceramic coated, high quality brands like Le Chasseur or Le Creuset. Don’t bawk at the price – I’ve still got my grandmother’s roasting dish from 1972 and mum’s frying pans from the 70s too. It lasts literally forever!
- Dental Floss. Something I discovered a few months ago. You can read about dental floss here
- Microwave popcorn bags – Best to pop in a saucepan – check my yummy recipe
- Irons. The Sunbeam Resilium or the Tefal autoclean 400 are the only high quality ones that I’ve found, without the teflon coating.
- Hair straighteners, curling wands etc. Read the fine print on the packet and make sure it’s ceramic, stainless or don’t go near it!
- Baking gear, including most parchment/grease proof paper! Opt for Stainless and do your good old fashioned butter and flour dusting to naturally ‘non stick’ your muffin, madeleine or cake tins and opt for a parchment paper that is green such as the fabulous If You Care range from Organics on a Budget . Google ebay or etsy for stainless bakeware options.
- Carpets and sofas. Repeat after me: I will never tick ‘yes’ to free scotch guarding ever again! Any kind of sales pitch for stain repellent, liquid repellent technology, RUN A MILE and take your babies with you!
- In a sports shoe shop. Step away from the scotch guard spray up sell and take a pair of socks instead! If you have leather shoes, beeswax will be a fab water repellent and is all natural!
- Waterproof mascara. Not in all of them, but Yes. It’s true. Check your brand. I buy this beautiful one. Just like my old favourite performance wise, minus all the extra weirdness!
- Ironing board covers (not all. Check your brand / manufacturer)
- Some light bulbs. Look for the words PTFEs or non stick to see whether your bulb is safe to buy or not. If you have pet birds or chickens, this is super crucial.
- Toasted Sandwich makers, waffle makers, rice cookers and many plug in slow cookers and woks. Slow cook in large cast iron or enamel pans and put the lid on and dish into a low 130 oven. Easy. For rice? learn the absorption method. For toasted sandwiches? Place your sandwich / wrap onto unbleached If We Care / other natural, parchment paper. Then, place another sheet on top and press as normal in the sandwich press. You can thank Mr Stuart for that genius tip, as he makes his way around a toxic free lunch in an office environment! Not easy…
- Waterproof clothes, namely raincoats. Use umbrellas where possible.
- Outdoor deck waterproofing sealants. There are natural ones available so it’s a matter of playing detective if you’ve got a renovation in the works.
- UPDATED FINDING DECEMBER 2014: In children’s uniforms! It will have a label and seems to be restricted to boy’s pants and shorts as far as I can see right now, which means you can find an equivalent colour, non teflon treated and avoid it.
Geek links if you wanted to learn and read more here…