Scientific advisers to the EPA have voted to approve a recommendation that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used to make non-stick cookware and various stain-resistant products, should be considered a likely carcinogen.
The EPA is free to either accept or reject the decision.
Objections from Manufacturers
Two manufacturers objected to the panel's finding, claiming that there was "selective use" of the studies examined. They questioned the use of two reports.
One was an unpublished study conducted during the '80s linking PFOA to mammary tumors in lab rats that was included because it was peer-reviewed by the EPA.
The other was a favorable review of PFOA sponsored by the manufacturer of the leading non-stick cookware brand and Dow Chemical Co. not considered by the panel that challenged the results of the unpublished study.
The only panel member to criticize the ultimate decision was James Bus, a lead toxicologist for Dow Chemical Co.
Worrying About Profits
Meanwhile, an increasing number of home chefs have been wondering about the safety of non-stick cookware since the initial studies, which found PFOA in the blood of nearly all Americans. Currently, roughly 70 percent of the cookware sold in the United States has a non-stick coating.
The leading non-stick cookware brand, worried that sales could fall, has taken out full-page advertisements in eight prominent daily newspapers declaring their products' safety.
The EPA has asked U.S. companies to voluntarily reduce public exposure to the chemical. The leading non-stick cookware brand pledged to meet the deadlines. Last year, the EPA fined the manufacturer $16.5 million for hiding data on PFOA toxicity for more than 20 years.