99%! That is a rather convincing number when it comes to chemical contamination in the human population. I have never heard of such a large percentage with any other household chemical before.
What is this abundant toxic chemical? PFOA found in non-stick cookware and stain resistant products.
Early in my blogging days, I wrote about my concerns with nonstick cookware and my search to find muffin pans that were safe. Pet bird owners have known what the public has not about the safety of cooking with non-stick cookware. It is deadly.
Once thought of as a great invention to prevent the scouring of pots and pans, non-stick cookware is poisoning our environment. It’s not just nonstick cookware that utilizes toxic PFOA. It is also found in food packaging (including candy wrappers), carpeting, and other products designed to be resist staining.
The abundance of PFOA in our bodies is not entirely due from our use of household products but from its manufacturing and subsequent environmental contamination.
The Environmental Working Group (via EcoWatch) explains:
“Widespread pollution by PFOA should be a wake-up call that our chemical regulation system is severely broken,” said Olga V. Naidenko, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “It is particularly urgent for the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a legal limit for drinking water pollution by PFOA, which is currently unregulated and never should have come to market.”…
Emissions of PFOA, once manufactured by DuPont to produce non-stick coatings, have polluted the water of at least nine states and the District of Columbia. As a result of widespread pollution, PFOA and related chemicals are now found in the bodies of more than 99 percent of Americans. Pollution has been particularly pronounced around Parkersburg, W.Va., where a DuPont plant emitted PFOA into the air and Ohio River from the 1950s until recently. Emissions from the plant have been largely eliminated over the past several years under a phase-out agreement between the Environmental Protection Agency and DuPont.
As a result of a class action lawsuit, an independent scientific panel has linked PFOA to “kidney and testicular cancer and possibly thyroid cancer.” This information was just released on Monday.
It’s not just cancer that is a concern. Ohio Citizen Action explains:
“Children living near DuPont’s plant in West Virginia are exposed to much higher concentrations of an industrial chemical than their mothers, according to a newly published study.
Children under 5, who are exposed from drinking water as well as their mothers’ breast milk, had 44 percent more of the chemical in their blood than their moms. The study was undertaken by a court-approved panel of three scientists who have spent seven years trying to determine whether the DuPont chemical is making people sick in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The chemical is perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA, also known as C8, and it is used in the manufacture of Teflon nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging and other products.
Nearly everyone worldwide has traces of perfluorinated chemical in their bodies. But people near the DuPont plant have extraordinary levels of PFOA – about seven times more than the U.S. average – because the compound, used at the plant since 1951, has contaminated drinking water supplies.
It is fortunate this cancer causing chemical will be entirely phased out by 2015, yet it’s effects will remain pervasive as much of the contamination still infecting Americans is over sixty years old.
PFOA will still manufactured around the globe, thus we will never be immune to the negative health effects unless it is banned globally.
I’d rather spend a few more minutes scrubbing cookware and stains in carpeting than contribute to the demand for products containing toxic chemicals. Repeatedly, our health becomes compromised for the sake of convenience.