Teflon Toxicity

by Karuna, July 7, 2017

Eating and Cooking for Health

How Safe is your Kitchen?

This is a subject I’ve been trying to avoid… Because, if you are anything like me, you will have a variety of really useful non-stick appliances in your kitchen, that you can’t imagine living without.

And non-stick Teflon does make a perfect looking omelet or pancake, plus it’s so easy to clean.

However, much as I have tried for years to bury my head in the sand… this past ‘pancake day’ I could do it no more. Time had come to face the hard facts:

Non-stick surfaces hold SERIOUS hazards to our health.

Teflon Toxicosis

There are a variety of toxic chemicals used in the non-stick coating process of pots and pans, that when heated, can leach poisonous gasses into the kitchen air. The poisonous gasses are, of course, invisible. They affect anyone who is breathing in that air.

We all know canaries were kept in the past in underground mines to protect miners, by warning them to evacuate in case of poisonous gasses by dying and falling off their perch.

Today, Pet birds kept near kitchens and exposed to these non-stick cookery gasses were dying… the solution offered was to stop keeping pet birds in the kitchen!

The bird’s small lungs were hemorrhaging, filling with fluid, in reaction to the gas and causing them to die. This is now known as Teflon Toxicosis.

Similarly, in the 1950s DuPont (Teflon producer) workers were suffering from pulmonary edema, a potentially fatal condition of fluid filling the lungs. This was a result of inhaling heated Polytetrafluoroethylene PTFE (above 450 C), a chemical used to bind the non-stick coating to the pot or pan.

Since the 1960s employees have to wear a protective breathing apparatus when working with Teflon heated above 204 degrees C . This is a normal cooking temperature.

At higher temperatures many more hazardous chemicals are unleashed from the teflon toxic chemical kitchen cocktail:

Toxins released under or at 360 degrees Celsius:

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), if inhaled causes Polymer fume fever, and potentially fatal pulmonary edema.
  • Tetraflueoroethylene (TFE) a human cancer agent
  • Hexafluoropropene – (HFP) implicated in birth defects
  • Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) implicated in bone and liver damage
  • MFA affects the nervous system and PFOA a recognized carcinogen.

At 470 degrees Celsius:

  • Silicon tetrafluoride, Perfluorosobutene (PFIB)
  • Carbonyl Fluoride, Hydrogen fluoride. All toxic on inhalation.
  • Plus Perfluorooctanic Acid (PFOA), also known as C8, a known nerve gas and a likely cancer causing substance (classified by the US Environmental protection agency). PFOA tested on lab animals caused birth defects and cancer… and researchers reveal it is found in the blood of 95% of all Americans today.
Unprecedented high levels of toxicity are a sign of our modern times, according to Dr. Jon Barron. He says we are living in an unprecedented toxic experiment, as we’ve created over 100,000 new chemicals in the last 100 years, that have entered our body via food, air, water and other means. Non have been tested long term for safety and non have been tested in combination with all the others.

Healthy Cookware

Why endanger ourselves for the sake of a perfect looking pancake…? it’s time shop for a healthy effective option!

Stainless steel and enameled cast iron, are my top two alternatives.

These are easy to clean, relatively non-stick naturally and most important: will not release any invisible toxicity into your home.

Cleaning is easy with warm soapy water (leave cast iron on stove till cool to avoid warping), and simple vinegar to remove stains from (haha) stainless steel.

Warning:Hard Ionized aluminum has been touted as a good non-stick alternative. However, though the aluminuim doesn’t leach out during cooking, Calphalon, one of the main companies producing these, started using the same toxic material polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) to bind the coating to the pan. Only the older original ionized aluminum are nontoxic, but it is impossible to tell which are which, so best to avoid these.

‘Nothing in the universe is toxic in itself, everything has it’s purpose. it is the misuse and the mis-combination that creates toxins.’

My yoga teacher in Mysore India, Shankanarayana, taught me this important message – that it is just how we use things and the new combinations we have made, which create toxins. We are responsible for stopping this misunderstanding of how to use the elements in the world.

It felt GREAT to thrown away the Teflon in my kitchen, and I’m super happy with my new 24 inch enameled cast iron pan. This pan, made by Stellar, has a beautiful black and white coating, and is light weight too. I once had to give away a large cast iron pan because it was too heavy for my wrists to use comfortably!

I’ve done a bit of research on how to best keep it stain free – healthiest cleaner is bicarbonate soda, vinegar, using non-abrasive plastic scrubbers Although many say some stains only disappear with 1 part bleach to 3 parts or more water to soak overnight.

Deep Detox

And last but not least, your annual MOT: Detoxing for a week once or twice a year gives your body the space and time to clean, repair and start fresh.

On Karuna Detox Retreats fasting and daily colonic irrigation combine to create the ultimate conditions for a deep cleansing and clearing of all the cells, organs and systems of your body.

And while your body is clearing out, you are welcomed to clear mind and soul too, and start to release some of the limiting patterns, that we all carry around, that no longer serve you and are ripe to go.

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