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Beware: Non-Stick Products Can Harm Your Baby

September 20, 2007 | 30,899 views

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate acids (PFOA) are now found in human and animal blood around the globe, spurring a growing wave of scientific investigations.

These chemicals, which are used in stick- and stain-resistant products, have been found to reach children in the womb, and may be tied to "small decreases" in the size and weight of newborns, according to two studies by Johns Hopkins University.

PFOS and PFOA's are used in or associated with production of literally thousands of consumer products, including:

  • Non-stick cookware
  • Carpets
  • Food wrapping
  • Clothing
  • Electrical equipment 

An EPA advisory panel has tentatively labeled PFOA as a "probable" cancer-causing agent. This does not change the position of the manufacturer and global leader in the use and development of the materials, however, as their spokesman, Dan Turner, stated "There are no known health effects from PFOA, and this study does not change our position."

Additional findings are still to come, as tens of thousands of West Virginia and Ohio residents are going through health screenings, as part of a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Environmental Science & Technology June, 2007; 41, (11), pp 3891–3897

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health April 24, 2007

Organic Consumers Organization August 27, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

More than a year after the FDA urged companies to ban the use of PFOA -- the chemical used in making non-stick coating -- reports of new toxic side effects keep cropping up.

Of course, the manufacturer defended their toxic product, noting that many chemicals were detected in the blood samples of infants, but they were small and well within normal ranges. If the study results prove to be true, what does that say about the normal ranges of PFOA exposure that make the birth weights of babies fall?

When Will it Be Banned?

The EPA has already urged companies to voluntarily ban their use of PFOA, and an independent scientific review panel advising the EPA took it even further, classifying non-stick and stain-resistant chemicals as "likely" carcinogens.

The panel's findings went beyond the EPA's current stance in two other major areas, stating that:

  • Future risk assessments involving PFOA should include its contribution to various cancers (such as liver, pancreatic, testicular, and breast cancers)
  • PFOA's effect on hormones as well as the immune and nervous systems must also be included in any risk assessment

Yet despite the current evidence, this material is still being used in thousands of products, which is why I keep trying to get the word out. Clearly, you, as the consumer, will have to ban it yourself, and simply quit buying these products.

How to Protect Yourself from Non-Stick Coating Toxicity

Unfortunately, ridding yourself of PFOA-containing products is not as simple as just tossing out your non-stick pots and pans. The containers of many of the useless, health-harming processed foods you see in the grocery store, ranging from candy bars to French fry boxes to microwave popcorn, are also lined with non-stick coating.

I urge you to take matters into your own hands by enacting a personal boycott on cookware and paper products tainted with PFOA. Step number one is to toss out every pan in your house that has non-stick coating on it.


Because the moment you heat the pan it begins to vaporize and this toxic chemical goes into your bloodstream. I know it is hard to believe, but it is true. It took me a few years to become convinced, but once you are, you have no logical choice but to throw those pans out and never buy another one.

Many have asked me about alternatives to Teflon. Some have pointed out a non-stick, ceramic-coated, titanium. The best alternative that I have found is ceramic cookware. It does not leech chemicals or metals into your food and is the cookware that I personally use in my kitchen. Glassware is also another healthy type of cookware that does not have the problems that many types have.  Here is a quick summary of potentially hazardous types of cookware: 

Cookware Material Potential Hazards
Non-Stick PFOA induced potential health hazards -- from your immune system to birthing activities
Aluminum Is a reactive metal and suspected casual factor in Alzheimer's disease
Stainless steel Potential likelihood of metal leaching into your food and allergen issues
Copper Due to the possibility of copper caused discomfort, recommended to never have direct contact with your food


For completely safe cooking, it’s also important to use a stable oil like coconut oil -- vegetable oils are easily damaged by the heat -- and do not overcook your food.

Other Safety Measures You Can do at Home

In addition to ridding yourself of the obvious cookware culprits, there are other simple steps you can take to avoid common toxic substances and protect your health, including:

Another Proactive Step You Can Take

I've just completed an in-depth Special Report -- Exposing the Dangers of Non-Stick Cookware. I'd recommend you get a copy of this report, read it and make sure everyone you care about reads it, too! Discover the whole truth about the potential hazards of your cookware. You can grab Exposing the Dangers of Non-Stick Cookware at Mercola.com.

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