Well, we recommended dumping those Teflon pans last year. Now eight U.S. companies, including DuPont, agreed yesterday to virtually eliminate a harmful chemical used to make Teflon from all consumer products. Although the chemical would still be used to manufacture Teflon and similar products, processes will be developed to ensure that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) would not be released into the environment from finished products or manufacturing plants.
PFOA is a key processing agent in making nonstick and stain-resistant materials — has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals and is in the blood of 95 percent of Americans, including pregnant women. It has also been found in the blood of marine organisms and Arctic polar bears.
The voluntary pact, which was crafted by the Environmental Protection Agency, will force companies to reduce manufacturing emissions of PFOA by 95 percent by no later than 2010. They will also have to reduce trace amounts of the compound in consumer products by 95 percent during the same period and virtually eliminate them by 2015.
The push to eliminate PFOA was headed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).