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Finally, A Journalist Puts the Risk from Teflon into Perspective
February 03, 2006
Trevor Butterworth
Washington Post turns to "Food 101" columnist and chemistry professor Robert L. Wolke

The Washington Post has found the answer to the ongoing, hysteria in the media over toxic frying pans, contaminated cookware and poisonous popcorn bags: get a chemist to look at the issue.

As Robert Wolke, an award winning journalist and professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh, noted:

"Although research on the environmental and health implications of PFOA has been fragmentary and no correlation between PFOA exposure and human cancer has been found, calls are being made in the United States and as far away as Australia to ban the chemical entirely...

So should we throw away all our nonstick cookware, eschew microwaved popcorn and stop ordering delivery pizza? Some historical parallels exist. On the theory that the mercury in silver-amalgam tooth fillings causes an array of illnesses, some people have had all their fillings removed. And believing that aluminum causes Alzheimer's disease, some people have thrown away all their aluminum pots and pans. If we also throw away our nonstick pots and pans, how are we ever going to cook food to be chewed by our mercury-free teeth? "

Quoting the EPA's view that consumer's have no reason to fear using products made with PFOA, Professor Wolke signs off by saying "So please excuse me while I go fry an egg in my Teflon pan."