Teflon in Cancer Risk Spotlight Again

posted on:
July 2, 2005

author:
Staff

category:
Environmental

 Non-stick cookware material Teflon has once again landed in the spotlight after a US independent review board said they believe a chemical used in making it poses more of a cancer risk than previously indicated. 

But DuPont, the US-based chemical giant that manufactures Teflon, denied exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) could pose a health risk to the public.

The findings have not resulted in any substantial impact on the company, a DuPont China Beijing office official said on Friday.

China’s product quality watchdog said on Friday that it knows about the incident and has not yet decided whether to test the safety of the non-stick surface for the second time in less than a year.

In a draft report released earlier this week, an advisory board that reviewed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s report concluded that PFOA is “likely” to be carcinogenic to humans. The draft was based on tests conducted on animals, and the advisory board recommended the US EPA conduct further testing.

But a statement released by DuPont on Tuesday said that the company is conducting an employee health study on PFOA and that partial results indicate no association between PFOA exposure and most of the health parameters that were measured. According to Xu Yang, a public relations official with DuPont’s Beijing office, about 5 per cent of Chinese families use non-stick frying pans compared with 95 per cent in the United States.

Last year, the US EPA said it would fine DuPont for failing to report test results regarding PFOA, but the investigation is under way.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine ordered a probe last October, but it detected no PFOA in Teflon cookware.

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