Teflon is in Your Food Packaging and You Don't Even Know It

Findings that perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, used to make Teflon non-stick cookware can cause cancer and other health problems in animals has many consumers on edge about using the cookware, and rightly so.

Now it's been reported that there are likely other major sources of PFOA out there--items like food containers and packaging. For instance, the FDA has reportedly looked at PFOA in microwaveable popcorn packaging and found that the chemical migrates to the oil from the packaging during heating.

The issue is that several animal studies, including one by the Environmental Protection Agency, show that fluorotelomers, chemicals used in food packaging as well as in rugs and clothing, break down into PFOA in the environment and when ingested. Other than microwave popcorn bags, fluorotelomers are used in:

  • Packaging for fast foods like sandwiches, chicken and French fries
  • Packaging for pizza, bakery items, drinks and candy
  • Paper plates

    This is a major issue, as PFOA can be found in the blood of 90 percent of Americans and of the 600 children tested for one study, 96 percent had PFOA in their blood. Unfortunately, while you can choose whether or not to use Teflon pans, there is currently no way for consumers to tell if packaging contains fluorotelomers.

    Food Consumer July 27, 2005

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