It goes so much deeper than that. It degrades at high heat (ITS COOKWARE) and when washed, runs into the water supply. Its so prevalent that mothers who have never used Teflon cookware, have Teflon microparticles in their newborn babies’ blood. Scientists wanted to study the effects of Teflon in blood (very bad for you) but they couldnt find a SINGLE control group person without Teflon in their blood. They had to use a blood sample from before World War II, before Teflon was even made, because they were the only samples without it.
I try very hard not to be argumentative but as a chemist there are a number of posts I see that I really feel the need to chime in on. This is both inflammatory and inaccurate.
Statement 1: Scratching a nonstick pan will fill your blood with microplastics. True, I guess, but this is mostly just abusing buzzwords to scare you. Do you know why we use Teflon for things? It doesn’t react with things, pretty much anything really. I can understand why people are opposed to the idea of “unnatural” things in your body but teflon literally will not hurt you at all. Straight up you could inject a teflon slurry directly into my veins and I Would Not Care™️. If you know anything about carbon-fluorine bonding you know Teflon can’t do jack to your body.
Statement 2: Teflon degrades at high heat. Again, technically true, but that process doesn’t begin until about 260 °C and doesn’t pose a significant hazard until above 340 °C. Is it possible to achieve these heats in your average kitchen? Yes, but you frankly have to be pretty stupid to do that to a pan. It’s extremely unlikely in sensible, everyday usage.
Statement 3: Everyone has teflon in their blood. Not true. Factually incorrect. You may have heard of PFAS (per/poly fluorinated alkyl substances). One of the most common is PFOA. This is technically in your blood. BUT it’s not teflon and it doesn’t come from teflon. Teflon is not in your blood, PFOA is, but they are different things. It used to be used in teflon manufacturing and it was dumped in rivers and lakes (which is how it got in our blood and which I freely admit is bad and evil) but it’s been phased out and you should leave my nonstick cookware out of this.
Statement 4: Teflon in your blood is “very bad for you”. First of all, see statements 1 and 3 wrt whether there is actually teflon in your blood and whether that’s dangerous. If you’re talking about PFOA, well, it’s still all fluorine and carbon so I’m personally skeptical about its bioactivity. Regardless of my opinions, the international society of cancer research lists it as class 2A (possible human carcinogen) which sounds scary if you’re not familiar but frankly includes basically everything. Other items in that category include, Cobalt metal (often used in hip replacements), cisplatin (the worlds most common anti-cancer drug), I kid you not “night shift work”, red meat, and lastly “very hot beverages”. My point being that it’s really in the “who the fuck cares” regime of danger.
I understand that people think PFAS sounds scary. The term “forever chemical” strikes me as having been invented for the specific purpose of scaring people. But please understand that any chemical that lasts forever is like that because it’s very very stable and isn’t likely to interact with its surroundings or particularly your body. All this is not to say we should be letting chemical manufacturers off the hook for wonton pollution or the many real ways they are actively poisoning us, but I think there’s no sense scaring people about a complete non-issue and trying to convince them to spend the rest of their lives burning their eggs on stainless steel pans.
cowards won’t reblog the chemist edition tm
Not going to reblog their response directly because Oatm11k is a TERF who supports forced-birth, but I’m willing to address a couple points because I’ve seen them more than once. Let’s begin!
I never said micro plastics aren’t real or that they’re not a problem. Merely that teflon isn’t toxic or any more of a risk than other plastic cookware, utensils, or tupperware. In fact, I’d much rather have teflon in my body than PET or polystyrene. I am not the CEO of Coca-Cola so please take your complaints elsewhere.
I actually have a pill bottle full of teflon stir bars and I take one every morning to make my gender more interesting. Sadly, I need a psychiatrist’s note before I can start the injections.
I’ll admit I was a bit flippant about this one and I apologize to all the bad cooks of the world. So pro tip right now: always add oil/fat to your teflon pan bed heating, the oil will burn before the teflon. Also, mistakes happen! So, pro tip number 2: If you overheat a teflon pan just pour water on it. The primary risk of teflon pyrolysis is releasing PFIB which is completely and rapidly neutralized by water. If you’re concerned about your health or that of a feathered friend, breathing through a damp cloth should dramatically reduce your risk of ill effects.
My previous statements regarding the health and safety of PFOA and other PFAS are in line with the American Cancer Society and the EPA. The risks cited here arise specifically from extremely high blood concentrations such as appear when you have a factory dumping PFAS directly in your local water source. The concentrations experienced by the average person are, to the best of our knowledge, negligibly dangerous. If anyone rails on about how “it accumulates”, the very small amount in your blood is already the upper limit of PFAS accumulation based on your exposure. (Also PTFE aka teflon is a polymer without reactive acidic end groups like most other PFAS so, no, you shouldn’t expect teflon to have similar bioactivity.) Moreover, with the increased regulation of PFOA and other PFAS our exposure is actually declining.
If you’re reading this, the amount of PFAS in your blood is nothing to worry about and is probably only going to decrease as time goes on. And to reiterate one more time, TEFLON DOES NOT EXPOSE YOU TO PFOA.
To those of you who caught me saying “wonton” instead of “wanton,” it was fully intentional. I think the dolphins deserved delicious dumplings and also I’d like to remind the haters that MSG is both safe and delicious and by mixing it with teflon I’m slowly turning myself into a transgender super-soldier.
As a final note, teflon is safe to use! There a fine line between good intention and Luddism when it comes to warnings like these so take them with a grain of salt. I don’t have a SoundCloud but I hope everyone who reads this post can go on with their day a little less fearful and a little more optimistic. Also, trans rights are human rights!