Scientific Panel Links Teflon Chemical to Cancer

Posted on July 4, 2005

USA Today reports that a scientific panel says that a chemical called PFOA, which is used to make Teflon, is more likely to cause cancer than the U.S. government has previously indicated.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a "likely carcinogen" according to an advisory board to the Environmental Protection Agency. The science panel's pronouncement is the first step in a process that could result in the agency regulating or even banning some uses of the popular manufacturing agent.

The independent science board disagrees with a risk assessment of PFOA that the EPA drafted and released earlier this year in which the chemical was described as a "suggested" carcinogen.

The article also says that cancer concerns are heightened by recent CDC studies that found PFOA in the blood of 95% of Americans. Scientists do not yet know how PFOA is getting into Americans' blood. The USA Today article also describes some of PFOA's uses:
PFOA is used in the manufacture of Teflon coatings on pans. It is also found in widely used coatings that make upholstery and clothing stain-resistant and in a grease-resistant coating on microwave popcorn and fast-food packaging among others.

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