You most likely know the word Teflon from its use in your kitchen, as a non-stick surface on your pots and pans. Teflon, a man made polymer substance called polytetrafluoroethylene, is widely used in many everyday products such as the coating on furniture and carpets to resistant stains, on windshield wipers to create a smooth glide across the glass, coating on light bulbs to prevent them from shattering, electronics, hair care products,† and coating on eyeglasses .† It is notably the slipperiest coating that exists to date.† Is it possible that something, so readily used and available, and something that may even make your life easier, can lead to an ailment like arthritis?
A new study led by Kim Innes of the School of Medicine at West Virginia University, suggests that high levels of Teflon chemicals could be linked to an increased risk of arthritis.† The researchers collected data from 50,000 adults living near a chemical plant in Ohio and West Virginia that had contaminated water supplies of Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), both of which are chemicals widely used in the production and manufacturing of Teflon, or non-stick/stain-resistant coatings.† The study revealed that individuals exposed to higher concentrations of the substances had increased levels in their blood, consequently causing a 40% increase in the development of arthritis. They chemicals were shown to cause inflammation in the joints, as well as diminishing the immune system and metabolism. The doctor states that the chemicals found in Teflon are “persistent organic pollutants”, meaning that they remain in the human body and in the environment for years.
Although the safety of Teflon has been reviewed and approved by the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency, the safety remains unqualified and unsupported by many.† It may be a recommended preventative measure to reduce your risk to Teflon chemicals.† Do not use Teflon cookware at a higher temperature than 500 degrees, and choose your products wisely.† Teflon itself may not cause extreme harm in normal measures, but you may be able to reduce your exposure.†