Friday, November 18, 2011

What to do with Teflon® -- on Friday's 3Rs

Following my post about the dangers of Teflon® on Wednesday, someone from DuPont contacted me. Naturally, she wanted to let me know that the concern is unfounded and defended the non-stick cookware, despite the many, many studies stating otherwise. While I appreciate her point of view, I also am aware of who she works for.

I am not a fan of DuPont (click here for one of the reasons why), or any company for that matter that ignores research implicating their products in a whole slew of health-related issues. The fact that the outgassing of Teflon®-coated pans kills pet birds is indisputable. Plus, there is plenty of evidence of it causing polymer fume flu in humans, otherwise known as Teflon® flu. More studies show a link between Teflon® and birth defects and infertility. The list goes on and on.

Admittedly, I am not a scientist. I cannot back what I'm saying with fact. I can only report what other researchers have found. And so far, the only one disputing it with me is an employee of DuPont. Hmm. Could she have an ulterior motive? Granted, she did send me a link to a Consumer Reports article that somewhat defended her position. But the article starts out mentioning the deaths of birds and the flu-like symptoms that are attributed to traditional non-stick cookware.

My suggestion to you is to read the article, and others like it, and make an educated decision based on the information you find. Is there a risk using Teflon®? I think so. But what is important, is what you think is best for you and your family.

But today's post is supposed to be about the 3Rs. So let me tie this together as simply as I can. I have been trying to find out what to do with old non-stick cookware. After all, in my opinion, it's not safe to use, so you don't want to donate it to Goodwill or anywhere else. After all, wouldn't you hate to think someone bought your pan, went home and used it, and then delivered a baby with birth defects?

Unfortunately, there are very few recycling options available. You can have the non-stick material sand-blasted off and recycling the metal pan, but that's costly. You can ship the pans to various places for recyling ( and you can sell your Teflon®to Reprolon in Texas and possibly other companies as well. Some areas are now allowing you to simply toss your non-stick cookware in your curbside recycling bin, like in Los Angeles. Check with your local municipality to see if this program is in place there yet.

If not? Well, here's my suggestion: pack up a box of your non-stick cookware and put it up in the attic or down in the basement and wait. With the forward-moving evolution of recycling, this is bound to be an issue that will be addressed nationwide and worldwide very soon. Hopefully, within a year or two, there will be an easy recycling option available in your area ... and mine.

To the DuPont employee that took the time to contact me -- I'm sorry if this isn't the response you were looking for. But you see, DuPont doesn't pay me for my opinion. No one does. And my first and foremost purpose as Green Grandma, is to do what I can to help my readers live healthier lives. If there is a chance that your non-stick surfaces cause any of the health issues alleged to be associated with them, well, I think it's best to steer clear.

Sharing my opinion, and doing my best to keep it out of the landfill,


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