Saturday, October 16, 2010

Article: PFOA and PFOS linked to High Cholesterol in Children

The Ohio River Valley, where Teflon has been manufactured for decades
In a recent study that examined over 12,000 children ages 1 to 18, high levels of PFOA (perflourooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluoro-octanesulfonate) were associated with high levels of LDL (or "bad") cholesterol.

This study was conducted in the Ohio River Valley as part of a class action lawsuit against DuPont, the makers of Teflon. DuPont's manufacture of Teflon-containing products, including non-stick cookware, has polluted the area's ground water with PFOA and PFOS.

While DuPont and other manufacturers have agreed to phase out the use of PFOA in their manufacturing processes by 2015, little is known about the safety of the new chemicals that will replace PFOA. I don't believe that the money allocated for the review of chemical alternatives to PFOA is sufficient. 

In the face of continued political pressure to reduce the EPA's ability to perform its functions—thereby putting corporations in charge of public health—the conservative approach is to seek alternatives to Teflon cookware in your home.

It is likely in this case that the manufacture of Teflon-containing products was responsible for the elevated blood serum levels of PFOA in these children (as opposed to the use of Teflon-containing cookware). However, because PFOA off-gasses from non-stick cookware under normal use, I recommend you throw out your Teflon and other non-stick cookware in favor of cast iron cookware and stainless steel cookware.


  1. Hi Derek - Because there's so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont though, and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    In reference to your post, the study observed a correlation between PFOA and PFOS and cholesterol levels, but as noted by the authors, the study cannot determine whether elevated PFOA and/or PFOS levels caused the observed higher cholesterol levels, or whether there is another explanation. Based on extensive health and toxicological studies, DuPont believes that PFOA exposure does not pose a health risk to the general public.

    Thanks and I appreciate your consideration of this comment.

  2. Hi Ross,

    Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate DuPont's input on this really important conversation. I agree that there's no clear causality in this study. But clear causality is awfully hard to find in human studies.

    I also think there's a gaping hole in research about carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. Nearly all of the studies are looking at exposure to a single chemical (usually because they are funded by the producer of that chemical).

    This doesn't mirror reality.

    We are all bathed (literally) in hundreds if not thousands of industrial chemicals all day long, for our entire lives. It's hard to know what interactions there are between even seemingly very low doses of all these chemicals combined.

    As I suggested in the post, better to play it safe.

    Thanks again for stopping by!



Howdy! Thanks for visiting, and thanks even more for leaving a comment. I'll respond as soon as the kids are asleep.