The problem, researchers note, is that cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by US-based Environmental Working Group.
Included in Teflon is a chemical called ammonium perfluorooctanoate, known as C-8, which has been linked to cancer, organ damage and other health effects in tests on laboratory animals.
Mayo Clinic oncologist, Timothy Moynihan, M.D., also notes that perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA - has been linked to cancer and birth defects in laboratory animals.
There is currently debate about what harm PFOA may pose to humans.
In early 2006, a group of scientific advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended that PFOA be classified as a "likely carcinogen" (cancer-causing substance) in humans. However, the EPA has not yet responded to the advisory committee's recommendations.
Trace levels of PFOA have been detected in humans. But it has not yet been determined how humans are exposed to PFOA. At present, the EPA is not advising people to stop using products made with PFOA, such as Teflon-coated cookware.
He states, however that, given the evidence of adverse health effects in animals and the uncertain effects in humans, the EPA has asked companies that use PFOA to reduce and eventually eliminate PFOA from products and manufacturing plant emissions.
Sources: www.mayo clinic.com and www. tuberorse.com