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Non-Stick Chemical Could Be Health Hazard: Environmental Group

Apr 17, 2003 | CBC News

A common chemical used to produce the non-stick coating on pots and pans may be hazardous to children and women of childbearing age, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A draft report by the EPA was released by the Environmental Working Group based in Washington. The group lobbies for increased regulations of chemicals.

The report says ammonium perfluorooctanoate (C8) accumulates in human blood and is toxic.

The chemical has been used by DuPont for more than 50 years in the creation of Teflon.

Residents in Wood County, West Virginia, where a DuPont plant is located, have filed a class action lawsuit. They claim their drinking water has been contaminated by the chemical.

DuPont says although C8 may cause cancer in laboratory rats, no adverse human health affects have been found.

The EPA report is based on a study of rats and reviews of health screenings done at three separate plants.

"Cookware sold under the Teflon brand does not contain (C8)," said Richard Angiullo of DuPont. Angiullo says the chemical is used in the process to make Teflon products but "is removed in the manufacturing process."

The report doesn't link the end product, Teflon, to health risks.

The EPA says it will continue its investigation.

"We are concerned enough about it to take it to the next step because we don't know enough about the situation," say Joe Martyak of the agency.

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