Read the full report on nonstick cookware below, or download the PDF version.

What’s worse than how the sausage gets made? How the pan gets made. New testing from the Ecology Center found that despite growing concern about the toxicity of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, most nonstick cooking pans and some baking pans are coated with a polymer form of PFAS called PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene). PTFE, best known by the brand name Teflon™, is typically made using several hazardous PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) that have polluted drinking water across the globe. 

We tested 14 nonstick cooking pans and 10 nonstick baking pans, representing a range of brands and prices, to identify their coatings. We found the following:

  • 79% of the cooking pans were PTFE-coated.
  • 20% of the baking pans were PTFE-coated.
  • In some cases, product claims on the packaging could lead buyers to purchase PTFE-coated pans when they think they’re buying an alternative.
  • Some of the alternatives may also be hazardous. Surprisingly, we found undisclosed BPA-based coatings on two of the baking pans and one of the cooking pans.

One of the common uses of PFAS is to make fluoropolymers, especially PTFE, and one of the biggest markets for PTFE is coatings on cookware.

We tested only the type of coating present on each pan. We did not test for PFOA, GenX, or other PFAS chemicals used in manufacturing and potentially remaining in finished products. For the list of pans and test results, see Table 2 at the end of this report.

Forever Fluorinated--The Harm We Don’t See

We undertook this study as part of our broader mission to phase out nonessential uses of PFAS in order to protect drinking water around the globe. PFAS have caused and continue to cause harmful pollution that is extremely difficult to clean up. A growing body of evidence indicates some commonly used PFAS contribute to liver disease, cholesterol buildup, impaired response to vaccines, thyroid disease, asthma, lowered fertility, and high blood pressure in pregnant women. Elevated risk of testicular and kidney cancer have been found in highly exposed people.[1] The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies PFOA, a heavily used and well-studied PFAS chemical, as a possible carcinogen.[2]

One of the common uses of PFAS is to make fluoropolymers, especially PTFE,[3] and one of the biggest markets for PTFE is coatings on cookware.[4] The slick surfaces of nonstick pans have long enjoyed popularity, even introducing “Teflon” into common vocabulary. But PTFE is responsible for heavy contamination of water, soil, and air.[5] An in-depth review on the worldwide uses of PFAS published in 2020 emphasized the need for alternatives to fluoropolymers due to documented environmental contamination.[6]  To better understand how a cooking pan or a baking pan coated with PTFE can harm our environment and health, we look at the phases of a pan’s lifecycle: manufacture, use, and disposal.

PFOA-free doesn’t mean PFAS-free. In fact, most pans labeled PFOA-free were coated with PTFE without clearly indicating that.

Manufacture

Our case studies here and here (also found in Appendices A and B in the pdf report) delve into the supply chains of two PTFE-coated nonstick pans. These case studies illustrate how the different stages of production lead to toxic exposures for residents and workers.

PFAS chemicals may be emitted to the environment at various steps along the path from raw materials to finished nonstick product: when precursor PFAS are being made,[7] when the chemicals are used to make fluoropolymers like PTFE, and when fluoropolymers are applied to products like pans. These processes produce waste streams that may flow to the surrounding water, soil, and air. And this pollution often doesn’t stay put, but travels and spreads, compromising clean water in many communities.

Of the 24 pans we tested, two were made in the U.S., the rest in South or East Asian countries, highlighting the global nature of PFAS production--and pollution. In 2006, DuPont scientists acknowledged in a publication that most PFOA and related PFAS chemicals made since the 1950s have ended up in our environment. [8] PFOA is a process aid long used in the making of PTFE fluoropolymers.

To illustrate the connection between water contamination and the manufacture of PFAS chemicals or products, we provide a few examples below. Some involve factories making PFOA or GenX, which are process aids used in making PTFE nonstick coatings. Others involve factories making consumer products.

Michigan: Residents around the town of Rockford learned a few years ago that their water wells had long been poisoned by PFAS. The former Wolverine Worldwide tannery treated shoes such as Hush Puppies® with water-repelling PFAS and dumped hazardous waste products into the surrounding environment.[9] The known contamination spreads over 25 square miles.

Wolverine no longer waterproofs shoes with PFAS chemicals in Michigan, but evidently does so elsewhere. Recent testing showed some of the company’s current shoes had PFAS chemicals on the surface.[10] Presumably, the Wolverine Worldwide’s waste streams have been relocated along with their factories.

The town of Parchment, where companies such as Georgia-Pacific make paper and packaging products, has also suffered. The Kalamazoo River runs around a landfill where PFAS-laden waste from these factories was dumped, causing PFAS to leak into the soil and residents’ water wells.[11]

Fayetteville, North Carolina: Chemours manufactures GenX, a PFAS processing aid used in making PTFE, at their plant here. The company discharged GenX into the Cape Fear River without regulation starting in the 1980s, causing widespread drinking water contamination.[12]  The factory’s stacks also emitted GenX into the air and the chemical later came down with rain, ending up in residents’ water wells.[13]

More information on Chemours and GenX is in the case studies presented here.

In 2006, DuPont scientists acknowledged in a publication that most PFOA and related PFAS chemicals made since the 1950s have ended up in our environment.

Decatur, Alabama: In this small town, 3M made PFAS chemicals and dumped waste into the Tennessee River and local landfills starting in the 1960s. Thousands of acres are contaminated. People drinking municipal water sourced 13 miles downriver from the 3M plant have elevated PFAS levels in their blood, according to testing by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 3M’s own documents show the company knew the chemicals it was producing, such as PFOA and PFOS, were showing up in the blood of its employees in the 1970s and in fish many miles downstream from the plant.[14]

Minnesota: For decades, 3M disposed of PFAS waste at four sites in the Twin Cities area, contaminating drinking water and groundwater. The company made chemicals including PFOA and PFOS as well as PFAS-based products like ScotchgardTM. The contamination was discovered in the early 2000s, and scientists are studying its impacts. A recent study compared residents who drank water in Oakdale, MN before and after the city installed filtration to remove PFAS. The researchers found that residents who drank PFAS-contaminated water experienced higher rates of infertility, premature births and low birthweight babies.[15]

Use Phase: Is My Nonstick Pan Safe?

PTFE is a very stable material, but does break down given enough heat. PTFE pan coatings have been known to release hazardous chemicals when heated, especially above 400-500o F.[16] [17]

These temperatures are readily achievable when the burner is set in the high range. Potential health hazards to humans from these emissions are not entirely understood.

Consumers also wonder about the safety of scratched PTFE pans. Research is not definitive on whether bits of nonstick material could be harmful if accidentally ingested. Some scientists, including those from the chemical industry, have argued PTFE cannot enter cells or otherwise harm the body because it is a stable polymer of high molecular weight.[18] Others disagree, noting PTFE formulations can contain nano-sized particles of the polymer, and such nanoparticles have been shown to penetrate many different cell types.[19]

PTFE pan coatings have been known to release hazardous chemicals when heated, especially above 400-500o F.

Disposal: What Happens to My Teflon Pan When I Throw it Away?

Compared to traditional cookware and bakeware, PTFE-coated nonstick pans may not last long, especially lower cost pans. Using metal utensils or abrasive cleaning will shorten a coated pan’s useful life. PTFE-coated cookware manufacturers offer a range of durability, with higher-end pans better able to withstand scraping and longer able to resist sticking.

Depending on how a locality handles waste, old pans thrown in trash are either incinerated in municipal waste combustion or added to a landfill. Some cities recommend placing pans into the curbside collection system for recycling. Each of these disposal options has potential hazards.

Incineration:  In 2018, 11.8% of the United States’ municipal solid waste was incinerated.[20] This includes relatively small metal items like pans. Coatings like PTFE will be burned off, and the metals may be recovered. But burning may not completely destroy PTFE on nonstick pans, creating secondary chemicals of unknown toxicity. The Norwegian Institute for Air Research described an array of fluorinated chemicals released during incineration of PTFE.[21] The U.S. EPA has stated, “PFAS compounds are difficult to break down. Incomplete destruction...can result in the formation of smaller PFAS products [which] could be potential chemicals of concern.”[22]  PFAS chemicals released into the air can fall back to earth when it rains, as happened around Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant in North Carolina.[23]

Even scientists from the respective companies that make Teflon and GoreTex--Chemours and W.L. Gore & Associates--have urged caution regarding incinerating PTFE, noting a lack of knowledge about the chemicals it produces.[24] In a followup study funded by W.L. Gore, researchers tested emissions from burning PTFE pellets.[25] They concluded burning did not produce the 31 PFAS chemicals tested for, but provided no information about an unknown number of other PFAS that could potentially form during incineration, especially when PTFE is burned with other materials.[26]

Even if a municipal solid waste incinerator could be operated without producing airborne PFAS, the disposal process doesn’t end there. When fluoropolymers are fully broken down by the heat, highly toxic hydrogen fluoride is produced and must be neutralized. The ash left after burning is sent to a landfill.

Landfilling: When a PTFE-coated pan is directly added to a landfill, the PTFE coating likely does not contribute significantly to PFAS leaching. Ash from trash incinerators is another matter. The ash left over from burning fluoropolymers is not well characterized and may contain PFAS.[27] The liquid that seeps from landfills, called leachate, is either collected and sent for wastewater treatment (which does not remove most PFAS) or may gradually seep into groundwater.

Recycling: Finally, metal cooking and baking pans are accepted for recycling in some locations. Metals are typically separated into ferrous (iron-containing) and nonferrous recycling streams. Pans may be either. For both streams, if a metal item has a coating such as PTFE, the coating must be burned off in a furnace.[28] The high temperatures used raise concerns similar to solid waste incinerators; namely, that PTFE coatings may thermally degrade into unknown, unfiltered chemical hazards.

 

Test Method

What we tested

We purchased 10 baking pans and 14 cooking pans from 20 brands and 10 popular retailers, including discount “dollar” stores. We included top cookware brands as identified by Consumer Reports Magazine.[29] For cookware, we only purchased pans described by the manufacturer as nonstick. We did the same for bakeware with the exception of a pizza pan and a cake pan from a Dollar Tree store. The latter two pans appeared to have a coating but their labels did not specify nonstick. We purposely included two nonstick cooking pans claiming to be PTFE-free in order to determine what alternative coating was used.

How we tested

We scraped bits of surface coating off of each pan with a metal tool. Then we used Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) to identify the composition of the coatings. FTIR is a widely used tool for determining the chemical identity of materials.

For further detail on this method, including representative spectra of the pan coating types, please see the Method page.

 

Results

Table 1 shows an overview of the coating types we identified. Product names and test results are shown in Table 2 at the end of this report. The coatings we identified on the 24 pans were broadly consistent with pan coatings reported in a 2007 study,[30] except that our newer study found two additional coating types, silicone/polyester and silicon dioxide.

Table 1. Coatings identified on tested products.

Coating Type (No. of products)

Product Types

PTFE only (11)

Nonstick cooking pans

Silicone (polydimethylsiloxane) + polyester (6)

Nonstick baking pans

BPA-based epoxy (3)

Both cooking and baking pans

Silicon dioxide (2)

Nonstick cooking pans

PTFE + polyethersulfone (2)

Nonstick baking pans

 

Cooking Pans

Our testing found PTFE coatings on 11 of the 14 nonstick cooking pans. Of the remaining three pans, two were coated with silicon dioxide (“ceramic”) and one with BPA-based epoxy, discussed further below.

Baking Pans

Our testing found PTFE along with another polymer called PES (polyethersulfone) on two of the ten baking pans. The coatings on nonstick baking pans are different than on cooking pans due to the different nature of foods needing release, such as high-sugar baked foods.[31]

Six of the ten baking pans we tested were coated with a material containing both silicone and polyester polymers (polydimethylsiloxane and polyethylene terephthalate, respectively) and no detectable PTFE. Silicone/polyester coatings are known to be used on bakeware.[32]Research is scarce on whether these coatings contain chemicals of concern that may leach into food during baking. Some research has been done on related products: flexible silicone baking sheets and silicone-coated parchment paper. Such products caused various siloxane chemicals to migrate into foods.[33] [34]

Finally, two of the baking pans were coated with BPA-based epoxy, a finding that merits more investigation.

BPA-based coatings

Two baking pans and one cooking pan we tested were coated with BPA-based epoxy without any indication of coating type on the packaging. BPA-based epoxy is the same material notorious for leaching the hormone disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) into some canned foods. When BPA-based epoxy is used to line the inside of a food can, BPA can migrate into the food, especially during sterilization when the filled can is heated.[35]

We found very little published research on BPA-based coatings on cooking or baking pans. One 2007 study found BPA migrated into olive oil from baking pans coated with BPA-based epoxy both at room temperature and when heated, although the levels did not exceed regulatory limits.[36]

Two baking pans and one cooking pan we tested were coated with BPA-based epoxy without any indication of coating type on the packaging. BPA-based epoxy is the same material notorious for leaching the hormone disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) into some canned foods.

The three products we found to have BPA-based coatings were brands primarily sold at discount “dollar” stores (“Cooking Concepts” at Dollar Tree and “Evolution” at Dollar General). We did not investigate whether similar pans are sold at other stores. Further research is needed on the potential hazard posed by such pans.

How Can Consumers Know if a Pan Contains PFAS?

Short answer: if the pan says “PTFE-free,” then it likely doesn’t contain PFAS. Otherwise, you can’t be sure. It is difficult to identify the coating type by look or feel.

Of the 24 pans we tested, two cooking pans were labeled PTFE-free: Goodful Titanium Ceramic and Cuisinart Green Gourmet. In addition, both pans’ labels said the coating was ceramic. These claims matched our testing, as silicon dioxide can be considered a ceramic.

But on many other pans, label statements may lead buyers to believe a pan is made without hazardous chemicals. Companies often tell us certain chemicals are not in a product. But when they don’t tell us what is in the product, we cannot easily make an informed choice.

Several cooking pans listed trade names for their coatings, which our testing identified as PTFE: QuanTanium, Granitestone, DuPont Autograph, and Greblon. These labels may not be informative for consumers because, unlike Teflon, their names are not widely recognizable. “PFOA-free” doesn’t mean PFAS-free. In fact, most pans labeled “PFOA-free” were coated with PTFE without clearly indicating that.

The claim simply means the nonstick coating was made without one PFAS chemical, PFOA. In the United States, the manufacture of PFOA was reportedly phased out several years ago, and the similar chemical GenX was often substituted. As noted earlier, GenX poses similar toxicity concerns and has become widespread in waterways such as North Carolina’s Cape Fear River. So a PFOA-free pan does not necessarily represent a better alternative.

One pan, the Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan, made more claims about its composition than most. Its packaging stated: “German-made nonstick coating...Absolutely free of toxic substances such as APEO, GenX fluorinated chemicals, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and the lesser known chemicals NMP and NEP.” While the chemicals listed may indeed be absent from this pan (our testing wasn’t designed to detect those), the company failed to disclose what the coating is made of--PTFE.

Our testing also highlighted the perils of relying on third-party Amazon sellers for product descriptions. We purchased a MOKIKA frying pan based on the unusual claims in its online listing. “This is an innovative granite coating derived from Germany. This granite contains the required minerals and trace elements that the human body [sic]. This coating is PFOA and APEO free, and it's designed for healthy cooking.” The pan we received was branded Sunkitch Hotsun, and the packaging did not repeat any of the online claims, aside from “eco-friendly.” The coating was PTFE.

In contrast to cooking pans, most baking pans in our sample set did not make eco-friendly or PFOA-free claims, regardless of their coating type.

Of the six baking pans we found to be coated with silicone/polyester, none disclosed their coating type and only one made a PFAS-related claim, “PFOA-free.” The two baking pans that contained PTFE each had a trade name listed for their coating: DuraGlide PLUS for a cake pan and TEFLON Xtra for a muffin pan.

Cooking and Baking Without PFAS

What are the alternatives to PTFE nonstick pans for cooks who value a slippery surface for cooking eggs or for slipping muffins out of the pan? There are many to choose from that perform well.

For a professional chef’s perspective, we contacted Josh Hershkovitz, chef and proprietor at Hersh’s in Baltimore, Maryland. Due to concerns about toxicity and environmental impact of PTFE-coated pans, Hershkovitz has been switching over to ceramic-coated pans for nonstick stovetop cooking. 

Hershkovitz also explained how to fry an egg in an uncoated cast iron pan: "If your cast iron is seasoned properly, you can use it almost as thoughtlessly as a Teflon or similarly coated pan. Make sure the pan is heated to where you want, then add a bit of fat and then slide the egg in."

Below, we summarize types of cooking and baking pans that avoid PTFE and other problematic coatings. 

Cast iron: Many generations have used uncoated cast iron pans for release of foods and long-term durability. We found at least one brand that markets itself as nonstick.[37] Uncoated cast iron pans require “seasoning” with oil or shortening before first use and may need reseasoning.

Enameled cast iron is another versatile option often marketed as nonstick.

Cast iron pans can be safely heated to much higher temperatures than PTFE-coated pans. Cast iron is available in all different styles of cookware and bakeware, including pre-seasoned muffin pans.

If your cast iron is seasoned properly, you can use it almost as thoughtlessly as a Teflon or similarly coated pan. Make sure the pan is heated to where you want, then add a bit of fat and then slide the egg in — Josh Hershkovitz, chef and proprietor at Hersh’s in Baltimore, Maryland.

Stainless steel or copper: Many commercial kitchens employ stainless steel pans; like cast iron, they are highly durable. The cook can avoid food sticking by using oil or butter and sufficiently heating the pan before adding food. Some people choose to “saute” foods with small amounts of water when trying to reduce their use of fats in cooking, which also reduces sticking. For baking, stainless steel can be oiled or lined with parchment paper, although parchment paper has potential to release silicone-related chemicals into food.[38]

Copper pans are known for being expensive and versatile. Copper itself reacts with many food ingredients, but according to Consumer Report today's pans are typically lined with a nonreactive metal such as tin or stainless steel that make them safe to cook in.”[27]

Ceramic coatings: Ceramic nonstick coatings offer a relatively nonstick surface without the toxic chemical load, although they are known for having short useful lifespans. Two of the nonstick cooking pans we tested had these coatings.

Glass or ceramic bakeware: Options include muffin pans, casserole dishes, loaf pans, and even baking sheets.

The upshot: Durable, uncoated cooking and baking pans like stainless steel, glass, and cast iron not only avoid the toxic lifecycle of PTFE and the hazards of BPA-based epoxy but are likely to long outlast coated nonstick pans. These alternatives may cost more up front, but second-hand stores and estate sales can be sources of less expensive pans.

 

Ending PFAS

The PFAS industry may claim nonstick coatings on pans pose no hazard because the coatings are made of stable polymers, but this is a narrow view. Indeed, a new review by researchers from five European countries and the United States concludes that fluoropolymers including PTFE pose a concern for our health. They write: “Given fluoropolymers’ extreme persistence; emissions associated with their production, use, and disposal; and a high likelihood for human exposure to PFAS, their production and uses should be curtailed except in cases of essential use.”[39]

Ending nonessential uses of PFAS is a complex but necessary goal. The old adage, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” applies. While many refer to PFAS as “emergent” pollutants, these chemicals are not new and neither are their known dangers. Chemical manufacturers should have curtailed PFAS production decades ago when they learned of the hazards. Instead, industry has freely produced and discharged PFAS chemicals and ignored their harmful effects for decades.

 

What You Can Do

Make informed purchases:

      If you have PTFE-coated nonstick pans, use them cautiously and never on high heat.

      When buying new cooking pans, consider cast iron, stainless steel, or another durable alternative. When buying new baking pans, consider glass, cast iron, or ceramic.

      Beware of marketing claims, such as “PFOA-free.” This does not mean PFAS-free. Choose pans that tell you what they are made of.

Take action on other PFAS uses:

      Tell McDonald’s to get PFAS out of its food packaging.

      Check Green Science Policy Institute’s list of PFAS-free products.

      Become aware of products that may contain PFAS such as:

      Waterproofing and stainproofing sprays for furniture, clothing, shoes, and more. The spray droplets may be harmful. Multiple case studies of acute lung disease following waterproofing spray use can be found in the medical literature.[40]

      Stain-proof or water-resistant clothing, carpet, and camping gear.[41]

      Ski waxes and automotive waxes. PFAS-based waxes shed hazardous chemicals into the environment.[42] Non-PFAS waxes are available. 

 

Table 2. Sampled pans and test results from FTIR analysis. 

Product Name (Made in)

Retailer

Coating Type Test Result**

Company Claims about Pan Finish*

Cooking Pans

 

 

 

Anolon Advanced Home Hard Anodized Non-stick Indigo, 8.5 in French Skillet (Thailand)

Macy's

PTFE

Triple layer nonstick, PFOA-Free

Calphalon Hard-anodized Nonstick 12 in Fry Pan (China)

Macy's

PTFE

Easy release nonstick finish

Circulon Infinite 8" French Skillet (Thailand)

Target

PTFE

Total Food Release system of hi-low wave technology and DuPont Autograph nonstick

Cuisinart Green Gourmet Induction 8" Skillet (China)

Bed Bath & Beyond

Silicon dioxide

PTFE/PFOA-free and petroleum-free ceramic based nonstick interior. Eco-friendly Cuisinart Ceramica(R) Nonstick Interior

Cuisinart Classic Stainless Steel 8 in Non-stick Skillet (China)

Target

PTFE

QuanTanium non-stick interior

Evolution Non-stick Fry Pan Set (China)

Dollar General

BPA-based epoxy

Non-stick interior and exterior

Family Chef 10-Inch Fry Pan Non-Stick (India)

Family Dollar

PTFE

Non-stick

Farberware Reliance Aluminum Nonstick 8 in Skillet (Thailand)

Target

PTFE

Nonstick with no PFOA

Goodful Titanium Ceramic Non-Stick Fry Pan (China)

Macy's

Silicon dioxide

Eco-friendly PFOA and PTFE free

Granitestone Diamond Nonstick Aluminum 10 in Fry Pan (China)

CVS

PTFE

PFOA free. Triple layer non-stick Granitestone brand with Titanium and diamond infused.

Mirro Get a Grip Pro 10 in Fry Pan (Vietnam)

Rite Aid

PTFE

No PFOA, safe non-stick coating

MOKIKA/Sunkitch Hotsun Double Reinforced Nonstick Coating Fry Pan 20 cm (unknown)

Amazon

PTFE

Description on Amazon.com: MOKIKA Frying Pan...Nonstick with Granite Stone Coating...Eco-Friendly...: This is an innovative granite coating derived from Germany. This granite contains the required minerals and trace elements that the human body [sic]. This coating is PFOA and APEO free, and it's Designed for healthy cooking.

Ozeri 8-Inch Stone Earth Frying Pan (China)

Bed Bath & Beyond

PTFE

German-made nonstick coating 100% free of GenX fluorinated chemicals. Absolutely free of toxic substances such as APEO, GenX fluorinated chemicals, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, and the lesser known chemicals NMP and NEP. Greblon Nonstick C3

T-fal Initiatives 8 in Fry Pan (Vietnam)

Meijer

PTFE

No PFOA, safe non-stick coating

Baking Pans

 

 

 

Circulon Bakeware Loaf Pan 9x5in (China)

Amazon

silicone/polyester

2-layer premium non-stick coating. Non-stick surface is PFOA free

Cooking Concepts Cake Pan (China)

Dollar Tree

BPA-based epoxy

-

Cooking Concepts Pizza Pan (China)

Dollar Tree

BPA-based epoxy

-

Family Chef 12 Inch Pizza Pan (China)

Family Dollar

silicone/polyester

Non-stick finish

G&S ProBake Nonstick 12-Cup Muffin Pan (U.S.A.)

Amazon

PES + PTFE

TEFLON Xtra nonstick

Grand Gourmet Brownie Pan 11 in x 7 in (China)

Meijer

silicone/polyester

Non-stick

Made By Design Non-Stick 12" x 17" Baking Sheet (China)

Target

silicone/polyester

Non-stick coating

Sunbeam Large Cookie Sheet (China)

Rite Aid

silicone/polyester

Non-stick surface

True Living 9 in. Round Cake Pan (U.S.A.)

Dollar General

PES + PTFE

DuraGlide PLUS Non-stick finish

Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick Bakeware Small Cookie Pan (unknown)

Meijer

silicone/polyester

Non-stick

 

* Company claims are quoted from the product packaging except where noted.

** Abbreviations in test results:

BPA = Bisphenol A

Epoxy = a hard coating resulting from reacting precursors, including BPA, together

Silicone = polydimethylsiloxane or oils derived thereof

PES = polyethersulfone

PTFE = poly(tetrafluoroethylene), which goes by many brand names such as Teflon.

 

Authors and Acknowledgments

The Ecology Center is a Michigan-based nonprofit environmental organization that works for a safe and healthy environment where people live, work, and play. The Healthy Stuff Lab is a program of the Ecology Center that researches hazardous chemicals in everyday products.

Material Research, L3C conducted research into the supply chains of PFAS-coated pans for this report. Material Research is a “low profit” form of LLC, meaning their work and profits are dedicated to charitable and educational purposes.

We thank Nancy Uding, Elizabeth Harlow, Jen Dickman, and Erika Schreder for reviewing this report and providing constructive comments.

Student interns Kaylynn Crawford, Alexzandria McCrum, and Lizmarie Alicea assisted with background research, sample handling and testing as part of the Healthy Stuff team.

We thank Erica Bertram, Bridget Henley, and Stephanie Stohler for contributing to outreach, communications, and design.

This work is funded by Cedar Tree Foundation, the John Merck Fund, Cornell Douglas Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, and members of the Ecology Center.

The report authors are Gillian Z. Miller, Melissa Cooper Sargent, and Jeff Gearhart. The Ecology Center is solely responsible for the content of this report. The views and ideas expressed within do not necessarily reflect the views and policies or our funders.


[1] Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls Draft for Public Comment. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 2018. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp200.pdf Accessed 30 September 2020.

[2] IARC Monographs on the Identification of Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans.  World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on Cancer. 27 October 2020. https://monographs.iarc.fr/list-of-classifications Accessed 27 October 2020.

[3] Glüge, J., et al. “An overview of the uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).” Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2020, Advance Article. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/EM/D0EM00291G

[4] McKeen,  L. Fluorinated Coatings and Finishes Handbook: The Definitive User's Guide, published by Elsevier, Inc. 2016. Chapter 17.

[5] Glüge, 2020

[6] Glüge, 2020

[7] W. A. Gebbink , et al. “Presence of Emerging Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in River and Drinking Water near a Fluorochemical Production Plant in the Netherlands”, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2017

[8] Prevedouros, et al. “Sources, Fate and Transport of Perfluorocarboxylates.” Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 1, 32–44.

[9] Gardner, Paula. “When the Biggest Company in Town Poisons the Water.” MLive Michigan, 20 August 2019, https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/06/when-the-biggest-company-in-town-poisons-the-water.html. Accessed 30 Sept 2020.

[10] Ecology Center, 2020. “Toxic PFAS Chemicals Detected in Popular Shoes,“ https://www.ecocenter.org/toxic-pfas-chemicals-detected-popular-shoes Accessed 21 Nov 2020.

[11] Barrett, Malachi. “High PFAS levels found in private wells near Parchment paper mill.” MLive Michigan. Advance Local Media. 17 August 2018, updated 30 January 2019. https://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/2018/08/high_levels_of_pfas_found_in_p.html Accessed 17 Nov 2020.

[12] Barnes, Greg.North Carolina attorney general sues Chemours, DuPont over PFAS contamination.” North Carolina Health News. 14 October 2020. https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2020/10/14/north-carolina-attorney-general-sues-chemours-dupont-over-pfas-contamination/ Accessed 17 Nov 2020.

[13] Jarvis, Craig. “How long will it take to rid PFAS from private wells?” North Carolina Health News. April 2020. https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2020/04/07/pfas-private-wells/ Accessed 07 Nov 2020.

[14] Lerner, Sharon. “The Battle for Decatur; PFAS Contamination Divides an Alabama Town.” The Intercept. First Look Media. 23 August 2020. https://theintercept.com/2020/08/23/pfas-3m-decatur-alabama/  Accessed 30 September 2020.

[15] Waterfield, et al. “Reducing exposure to high levels of perfluorinated compounds in drinking water improves reproductive outcomes: evidence from an intervention in Minnesota.” Environmental Health April 2020, 19:42.

[16] Schlummer, Martin et al. “Emission of perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCA) from heated surfaces made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) applied in food contact materials and consumer products.” Chemosphere vol. 129 (2015): 46-53.

[17] Sinclair, et al. “Quantitation of gas-phase perfluoroalkyl surfactants and fluorotelomer alcohols released from nonstick cookware and microwave popcorn bags.” Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Feb 15;41(4):1180-5.

[18] Henry, Barbara J et al. “A critical review of the application of polymer of low concern and regulatory criteria to fluoropolymers.” Integrated environmental assessment and management vol. 14,3 (2018): 316-334.

[19] Lohmann, Rainer  et al. “Are Fluoropolymers Really of Low Concern for Human and Environmental Health and Separate from Other PFAS?” Environmental Science & Technology vol. 54,20 (2020), 12820-12828

[20] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling.” 10 November 2020. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/national-overview-facts-and-figures-materials. Accessed 18 November 2020.

[21] Huber, S. et al. Emissions from incineration of fluoropolymer materials A literature survey. Norwegian Institute for Air Research, 2009.

[22] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Technical Brief: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Incineration to Manage PFAS Waste Streams.”  February 2020. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-09/documents/technical_brief_pfas_incineration_ioaa_approved_final_july_2019.pdf Accessed 30 September 2020. 

[23] Jarvis, Craig. “How long will it take to rid PFAS from private wells?” North Carolina Health News. April 2020. https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2020/04/07/pfas-private-wells/ Accessed 07 Nov 2020.

[24] Henry,B.  et al. “Critical Review of the Application of Polymer of Low Concern and Regulatory Criteria to Fluoropolymers.” Integrated Env. Assessment and Management 14(3); 316–334.

[25] Aleksandrov, Krasimir et al. “Waste incineration of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) to evaluate potential formation of per- and Poly-Fluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in flue gas,” Chemosphere July 2019,

226: 898-906,

[26]  Stoiber, et al. “Disposal of products and materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A cyclical problem.” Chemosphere Dec. 2020, 260:127659

[27]  Consumer Reports Cookware Buying Guide, Last updated: 23 August 2019. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cookware/buying-guide/index.htm Accessed 09 Nov. 2020

[28] Kyithyld, A., et al. “Recycling light metals: Optimal thermal de-coating.” JOM: the journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, 2008, 60. 47-51; Javaid, A. and Essadiqi, E. “Final Report on Scrap Management, Sorting and Classification of Steel” Government of Canada, Dec. 2003.

[29] Consumer Reports Cookware Buying Guide, Last updated: 23 August 2019. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cookware/buying-guide/index.htm Accessed 09 Nov. 2020

[30] Bradley EL, et al.. “Investigation into the migration potential of coating materials from cookware products.” Food Addit Contam. 2007 Mar;24(3):326-35.

[31]McKeen,  L. Fluorinated Coatings and Finishes Handbook: The Definitive User's Guide, published by Elsevier, Inc. 2016. Chapter 17

[32] E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company, “Multilayer silicone coating.”  US4477517A, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 16 Oct 1984.

[33] Jakob A et al. “Detection of polydimethylsiloxanes transferred from silicone-coated parchment paper to baked goods” J Mass Spectrom. 2016 Apr;51(4):298-304

[34]  Fromme, H. et al. Siloxane in baking moulds, emission to indoor air and migration to food during baking with an electric oven. Environ Int. 2019 May;126:145-152.

[35] Errico, S. et al. “Migration of bisphenol A into canned tomatoes produced in Italy: dependence on temperature and storage conditions.” Food Chem. 2014 Oct 1;160:157-64.

[36] Bradley EL, et al. Investigation into the migration potential of coating materials from cookware products. Food Addit Contam. 2007 Mar;24(3):326-35.

[37] Consumer Reports Cookware Buying Guide, Last updated: 23 August 2019. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cookware/buying-guide/index.htm Accessed 09 Nov. 2020.

[38] Jakob A et al. “Detection of polydimethylsiloxanes transferred from silicone-coated parchment paper to baked goods” J Mass Spectrom. 2016 Apr;51(4):298-304

[39] Lohmann, R. et al. Are Fluoropolymers Really of Low Concern for Human and Environmental Health and Separate from Other PFAS? Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 20, 12820.

[40] Kikuchi, R., et al. Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage after use of a fluoropolymer-based waterproofing spray,  SpringerPlus (2015) 4:270; Harada, T., et al. Pulmonary Injury from Waterproofing Spray During a Hike, Wilderness and Env. Med. 2017, 28(4), 327; Walters, G.I. Biopsy-proven hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by a fluorocarbon waterproofing spray, Occupational Med. 2017 Jun 1;67(4):308-310

[41] van der Veen, I., et al. The effect of weathering on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from durable water repellent (DWR) clothing. Chemosphere. (2020) 249 (126100).

[42] Carlson, G., et al. Ski wax use contributes to environmental contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, Chemosphere (2020) 261(128078).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         
IMPORTANT NOTE: HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.