Perfluoroocatnoic Acid (PFOA), better known as Teflon – the commercial brand name given to DuPont’s version of it – is a chemical used in various products that have unique characteristics like nonstick properties and chemical and heat resistance. If you cook with nonstick pots and pans, it is likely that PFOA is the chemical used as coating on the inside. While this chemical makes our lives easier in the kitchen by eliminating the need for steel wool pads along with the vigorous scrubbing and scouring of pans after a good meal, it is known to be carcinogenic to the human body. In fact, a recent study found that exposure to PFOA at elevated levels is linked to increased incidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children.
PFOA was recently found at low levels in public drinking water supplies throughout New Jersey, including some near the DuPont Chamber Works site in Carney’s Point. The Drinking Water Quality Institute is expected to issue a draft recommendation for the maximum allowable level of the contaminant by the end of the year. In the meantime, DuPont will also attempt to “phase out” the use of this chemical in its products by the year 2015, according to its website:
“Studies have shown very low levels of PFOA and other perfluorinated compounds (PFC’s) in the environment and in the blood of the general population. Questions about this, as well as customer interest in product alternatives, have led DuPont to commit to phase out the use and production of PFOA by 2015 or earlier, if possible, and to develop new products and processes that are more environmentally sustainable.”
Luckily (and somewhat ironically), DuPont also manufactures a variety of water filters, should PFOA ever leak into your water supply. Perhaps Filters Fast will add DuPont to its product list someday…