Dr. Andrew Weil recently posted about the absorption of chemicals from food wrappers and food prep utensils. If a food touches or is cooked in something coated with chemicals, can we wind up with some of it in our systems?
It turns out that yes we can.
I’m going to quote Dr. Weil here …
When investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measured levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the blood of more than 2,000 individuals aged 12 and older in the United States, they found traces of the compound in nearly everyone tested.
In addition to their use in greaseproof food wrappings, PFOA is used to manufacture Teflon and other stain- and stick-resistant materials including pizza boxes. Its presence in consumer goods has been a safety issue for some time. In June 2005, a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified PFOA as a “likely carcinogen” but drew no conclusions as to whether products containing it pose a cancer risk to humans. Animal studies have identified four types of tumors in rats and mice exposed to PFOA.
This is the kind of stuff that’s used in popcorn bags, teflon coated pans, and basically any food product that’s a little bit greasy. We’re talking processed foods here so basically everything is greasy!
There has been some progress; Dr. Weil notes that the EPA has worked with some manufacturers and eight companies have committed to removing PFOAs from packaging by 2015. Also, DuPont has agreed to remove this chemical from all of its products by 2015 except Teflon. You know, the stuff that lines your pans?! Nice.
How do you avoid ingesting PFOAs? Stop buying processed foods and throw your Teflon-coated pans in the trash. I did years ago and never looked back. Once the cooking surface starts to break down (you’ll see scratches in the pan), then basically it’s going into your body. Maybe even before you see the scratches, too.
Of course everyone says it “appears” to be safe, but why treat yourself like a guinea pig when you don’t have to? Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, stay away from anything with a shelf-life, and cook at home as much as you can.
What do you think? Is this overly dramatic or something of real concern? Do you think PFOAs should be banned from being in close contact with all foods? How attached are you to your nonstick frying pan? Let me know your thoughts.