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The government fails to study Teflon's safety

Canaries in the Kitchen: The government fails to study Teflon's safety

May 15, 2003

warning label for consumers

The government has never rigorously studied the safety of Teflon pans. The Food and Drug Administration approved Teflon as a Food Contact Substance in 1960 after reviewing a hamburger frying study in which elevated levels of fluorinated compounds were found in the hamburger fried on Teflon. FDA judged these levels to be of little health significance. After a prominent Midwestern paper reported on cases of bird deaths and human polymer fume fever, the Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that the Commission would investigate only upon receiving a formal complaint with underlying data. CPSC failed to ban Teflon-coated drip pans, which can reach 1000°F, even after well-publicized poisoning incidences.

Sample warning label for consumers











[1] Blumenthal, Dale. 1990. "Is that newfangled cookware safe?" FDA Consumer. October 1990.