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now this is a 'sticky' situation

by jonah jones / October 8, 2004 11:16 PM PDT

#It's on saucepans, clothing, even buildings, but now Teflon - the famed non-stick chemical - is at the centre of a slippery controversy about cancer and birth defects.

Since its invention in the 1930s, amateur and professional cooks alike will acknowledge their debt of gratitude to Teflon. Over the years, the non-stick coating on pots and pans has helped turn out countless perfect fried eggs and cheese souffl

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Re: now this is a 'sticky' situation
by lylesg / October 9, 2004 12:02 AM PDT

Now that's a lot of m-u-l-a-h!

Dupont has known about the dangers of over heating teflon for years. I remember a when couple of years back Dupont posted a warning on their website concerning the dangers to birds that are exposed to the gasses produced from overheating teflon coated cookware. Birds die instantly.

We got rid of our teflon cookware a few years back.

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I quit using Teflon in the...
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 4:56 AM PDT

...80's. We always had those old cast iron skillets at home anyway, and they spread the heat more evenly for frying things. To keep one up, just wipe a bit of vegetable oil all over it after washing and letting dry. If it's a few days before you use it again, the oil will dry to a varnish type consistency, which is similar in action to teflon anyway. Now I give it the pans a spray of PAM and wipe it around thinly with a paper towel, before storing away. One frying pan belonged to my grandmother, who got it from her mother. The name on the bottom says Griswold, made in Erie PA, a number 8 pan. We still use it several times a week. It's kind of a nostalgic feeling frying up some eggs in the same pan just like your grgrandmother, grandmother, and mother did in years past.

I tried Teflon briefly in the late 70's, but was disappointed in how quickly it seemed to degrade after a year or two of use. I began then to question how much of that degrading teflon was getting eaten in food cooked in the pans. Since those days, and then later worries over aluminum pots, I've only allowed the cast iron, ceramic, or stainless steel cookware in my home.

I do like the metal clad thick bottom pots and pans available now. They do a good job of spreading the heat within the pot or pan so no single hot spots develop, which help stick food to the inside bottom.

My cooking advice is;

Use cast iron or stainless steel for quick cooking and the ceramic for slow cooking, like in crock pots or oven casseroles.

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Re: I quit using Teflon in the...
by lylesg / October 9, 2004 9:19 AM PDT

We have a couple of cast iron pans that my mother passed down to us. I use them frequently. We also have a stainless cookware set with thick copper clad bottoms for spreading heat evenly. We used some teflon coated cookware until two or three years ago when I stumbled across an article addressing the possible hazards of teflon when overheated, so no more teflon here. We even got rid of the George Foreman. Sad

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Newer cast iron pans.
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 10:17 AM PDT

If anyone is thinking of buying any of the newer ones I've seen displayed lately, at least here in Maryland, save your money. They are substandard. The biggest drawback to them is they are unfinished castings. Many of them have not had the inside ground to a fine smooth finish, but instead have been lightly ground leaving the inside with a pebbly or rough bottom. All that will do is promote things sticking to the pans. None of them are worth anything unless they can stand to be ground down by the buyer if you want to spend the time and effort doing that. If you want a good cast iron skillet, there were literally millions manufactured of very good quality that can be had at yard sales, flea markets, and EBay or other auction sites. Make sure the inside has been ground and polished smooth.

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The irony to me is that ....
by Mosonnow / October 9, 2004 10:08 PM PDT
In reply to: Newer cast iron pans.

...Teflon-coated pans removed the threat of Alzheimers previously associated with the leaching of aluminium. (I think this has now been disproved, but don't take my word for it.)

Cast iron are simply too heavy for me - irrespective of how good and durable they might be - so I went back to stainless steel.

I must say that I am quite surprised that it was developed in the 30's, cos I thought it was one of those space travel thingy's - which would be 60's. To me, this just shows how long it takes to find out and identify problems from "new"(!) products. We are talking 70+ years here... Shocked

I guess I won't be around in the 70 years from now that it takes them to tell us what is wrong with cast iron and stainless steel. Still, it was nice knowing you all Happy


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Iron-y? LOL!
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 11:10 PM PDT

Actually, think of the daily workout women got every day just cooking a meal when everyone used cast iron. Maybe we're missing something here.

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Well I hope you are....
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 12:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Iron-y? LOL!

... missing something, that is (i.e. being hit over the head).

If you think of the muscles we women must develop when using cast iron pans, I'd hate to be a man arriving home late to be greeted by a cast iron pan. Best for you males, methinks, to consign them all to the bin and go for plastic microwave packs. Just a few words of friendly advice here Grin

Seriously though, even better than that, just go for takeaways...


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Re: Well I hope you are....
by lylesg / October 10, 2004 12:37 AM PDT

"Best for you males, methinks, to consign them all to the bin and go for plastic microwave packs"

Now they tell us that plastic heated in the microwave produces carcinogen?s. ?Takeaways? are looking better all the time. But, I wonder what type of cookware the cook used? Happy

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Yes, It goes on and on doesn't it? The wood fire .....
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 1:12 AM PDT

in the garden would be best for cooking food perhaps, but we are not allowed to generate smoke. (To say "Please put out your cigar" is at the moment a jest, but might soon become reality in our public places. Just thought I'd throw that one in.)

I've heard of carcinogens as regards "cling film" (cellophane wrap?) but they did bring out a different one which was meant to be safe for heating and foods that "sweat" eg cheese. Haven't heard this for plastic microwave trays though. Do you have knowledge on this please?

I'm going off to cook my tea now - come what may! I did see a prog once about cooking eggs in the Dead Sea - something to do with the salt content, but that's an awful long way to go for my egg on toast Sad


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LOL @ The Dead Sea......
by lylesg / October 10, 2004 1:54 AM PDT

I am rolling on that one.

I don't have a link concerning plastics and microwaves. I did do some reading about it once and I will look again and post back if I find that info.

Have a nice day/evening? Happy

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Thank you - it's c. 5pm here now. Luckily the Net works...
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 2:18 AM PDT

... 24/7 so I can do some research on this. Most microwave trays you can now put in the electric (or wood fired!) oven - and I haven't a clue how they've managed that one with plastics.

I'm just watching a prog called Top Gear which highlights pretty much the fanciest cars you can buy, so I'm gonna put this one on the sidelines for now and envisage myself going at 100+ mph (on our 70 mph speed limit roads) and start saving up for my Cadillac Escalade.

Bye for now.


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So did I.......
by lylesg / October 10, 2004 7:13 AM PDT

put it on the sideline for a while. I play live music trivia (60's-80's music) online and I am in first place today and it's hard to hold that lead and read the forum, too. If I am just goofing off while playing I don't mind missing questions while reading in SE, but now and again I like to show those folks a thing or two. They do get brutal when it comes to points in that that trivia room.

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Hi - back now ....
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 8:01 AM PDT
In reply to: So did I.......

I'm impressed that you're in the lead - must be trillions of competitors - I feel privileged to be vicariously associated...

Of course, CNET doesn't give out points - just have to settle for the joy and delight of (fill in the blank here).

Good Luck - you can do it! Before workaday Monday SadGrin


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Re: now this is a 'sticky' situation
by Angeline Booher / October 9, 2004 12:12 AM PDT
But PFOA is one of 100,000 or so chemicals which avoided the test because they were invented before 1981.

A sticky situation, indeed!

I grew up within easy driving distance of Parkersburg, WVA. Along that length of the river is (or at least, was) another chemical plant. You could smell both of them for miles. Not far from my home was a tannery. The railroad tracks ran about 5 blocks from the river (coal-fired engine days), and the largest (at that time) railroad yards in the country were several miles away. nearby them was a steel mill. Of course, coal was used for heating most of the homes in the area.

Through the years we learned that what we thought was safe, was not. For example, some pesticides. We have been guilty of contaminating our ground water with them, as well as pouring used motor oil onto the ground. We have killed beneficial insects, thus upsetting the balance of nature.

In my present area, a DuPont plant sits upriver. About 20 years ago their waste caused a big fish kill, for which they were fined only $10,000.

I mention all of this because there has been pollution of the air and water for generations. We did not know for generations what problems they could cause at the time, nor in the future. "Love Canal" -type communities have been testimony to what can happen.

More recently, what we voluntarily put in our bodies has raised questioned. We know about fetal alcohol syndrome, "crack babies". But questions re: the possible effects of illegal drug use would have on sperm and egg development during adolescence, or if it would interfere with normal fetal development later, remain.

I have admitted to being "one of those environmentalists. The adverse effects of our poor stewardship continue to result in both proven and raised questions and concerns. I certainly sympathize with the gentleman in the photo. The cause-and-effect could very well be the chemical in that water.

Somehow there must be more widely acceptance of the fact that we must be very careful.

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Environmentalist thinking here
by TONI H / October 9, 2004 12:25 AM PDT

and actually getting support by the Feds is to now begin fencing off our New River and its streams on people's properties to keep cattle from getting into the water and urinating or defecating in it.

If you think about the hippos, for instance, in Africa....testing has shown and proven that the fish and water life in those rivers are in abundance because they actually LIVE on the waste that hippos deposit into the water. Hippos do NOT 'mess' anywhere EXCEPT in the water.....

In order for cattle here to have water now, we have to pipe it in from the streams or the river to actual drinking containers farther away from the source....and what it all comes down to is that our locals don't want 'tourists' to see cattle walking around in the water.

The bad part about it is that nobody has thought about the wild life, such as coyotes, bears, deer, turkeys, foxes, etc. that they are also fencing off from that water source. That means that those animals will now be coming into pastures or backyards in order to get to the drinking containers.....

These people are out of control with their power trips.........


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Re: Environmentalist thinking here
by Angeline Booher / October 9, 2004 6:04 AM PDT

Cutting off the water supply is not proper. Although the comparison between cattle and hippos in their natural habitat leaves out the fact that the cattle may have been given antibiotics and hormones, which the hippos have not, I agree that water should be readily availed to domestic and wild life alike.

In my area cattle drink from the rivers without question. The bigger threat is from untreated human waste, malfunctioning sewer plants, etc.

The diverting of the Colorado River has created problems upstream as communities are being left high and dry. It's a big river, but that resource is being strained.

click here to email

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Re: Environmentalist thinking -- Apples and oranges, Toni
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / October 10, 2004 2:45 AM PDT

The problem with the cattle, Toni, is their numbers. Hippos don't come in herds of hundreds or thousands, all polluting the water. (Actually, they come in bloats, but not large numbers together, like cattle).

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Goodness for land?...
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 3:02 AM PDT

You must forgive my ignorance in these matters, but I don't see how "mashed up bits" (of animals) redistributed as fertiliser can possibly be better than the way that Mother Nature treats and recycles natural effluence.

Our sewage plants use the "reed" system (obviously in combination with other purifying means) to recycle our water and our (being inner city) drinking water is from recycled water. In principle, distasteful (if you'll excuse that), but apparently still more pure than the water that arrives in bottles.

Just thought I'd post this.


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PS - Caveat ...
by Mosonnow / October 10, 2004 3:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Goodness for land?...
In principle, distasteful (if you'll excuse that), but apparently still more pure than the water that arrives in bottles.

I should have said "As pure" (ignoring Dosado). (Water constituent ingredients is a different more complex issue.)

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Readers comment from the :-)
by jonah jones / October 9, 2004 12:26 AM PDT

#I have regarded Teflon as dangerous to health (Teflon's sticky situation, 7 October) ever since I became aware that our beloved Prime Minister appears to be coated in it!
John Mander, Coulsdon, UK#

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(NT) (NT) :-)
by Angeline Booher / October 9, 2004 9:33 AM PDT
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Well if....
by Mosonnow / October 9, 2004 10:22 PM PDT

Tony is coated with Teflon, I hate to think what our potential alternative leader, Michael Howard, is coated in - but, yer never know, maybe they'll clean him up for our election next year.

PS: Apols to our Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy, who has great ideas but is probably coated in fairy dust in terms of the economics rationale.

As Mark's earlier thread, perhaps we are talking about a decent vacuum cleaner Wink


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(NT) (NT) We had our own Teflon President ;-)
by Diana Forum moderator / October 9, 2004 11:28 PM PDT
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After reading a bunch of links ...
by Evie / October 10, 2004 12:51 AM PDT

... it seems to me that this is a bit of an overreaction. Reminds me of the Sweet n Low debacle of the 70's. I do think Dupont should not be allowed to release the stuff into the environment, and should ensure their workers have necessary protection in the workplace to avoid toxic exposures.

Dr Tim Kropp, a toxicologist working for the Environmental Working Group in the US says tests carried out by the US firm 3M suggested high doses of PFOA led to various forms of cancer in rats.

"DuPont have some brilliant scientists and I don't believe that they couldn't find an alternative if they put their minds to it," says Dr Kropp.

This man sounds like he has an agenda. I plan to continue to use my Teflon cookware.

Evie Happy

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DuPont?? Teflon
by lylesg / October 10, 2004 12:17 PM PDT

It seems that Teflon is pretty safe until it?s overheated. I know that I have brought a greased pan to the point of ignition (600-F +) by being careless and distracted.. That?s when it could possibly get dangerous. There are web-sites that get a little deeper into the possible hazzards of overheating Teflon, but the information below is from Dupont?s web-site. I also remember reading a few years ago about humans allegedly becoming sick after overheating coated cookware. The ?Teflon Flu? was the term.

"Important Facts Regarding Cookware Made with DuPont?? Teflon

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