Posts tagged: toxic chemicals

Science Settled – Non-Stick Cookware Is Toxic – Here’s What You Need To Know

Science Settled - Non-Stick Cookware Is Toxic - Here's What You Need To Know
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Nonstick cookware has long been a must-have item for pancake and fried egg lovers – and it’s easy to see why. Nonstick pans allow you to clean up easily, and they use less oil than their uncoated counterparts. While this sounds like a win-win situation, it’s not! In fact, the risks of using nonstick cookware outweigh the benefits. Why so? The coating that facilitates the highly marketable ‘nonstick appeal’ is actually a health hazard – the devil is in the detail.

Are Non-Stick Pans Safe?

The short answer is NO! Most nonstick cookware is coated with Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE) due to the chemical’s ability to repel oil, grease, and water. The chemical was initially made by using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – and if you keep tabs on harmful human-made compounds, you might have come across PFOA.

After the public, regulatory bodies, and medical researchers called out PFOA for their adverse health impact, Dupont came up with GenX – introduced as a safer alternative to PFOA. Here’s the funny thing: GenX and PFOA both fall under a notorious group of chemicals known as PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Unsurprisingly, recent findings indicate that GenX and its highly criticized cousin, PFOA, are two sides of the same coin. Substituting a known toxic chemical with an option that has a similar structure really doesn’t sound like the most innovative idea, does it?

The compounds have attracted widespread scrutiny from environmental and health watchdogs. In particular, organizations such as the Federal Drug Administration [1] (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency [2] (EPA), and Green Science Policy Institute [3] have made efforts to warn consumers on the dangers of PFAS – especially based on their widespread usage in industrial, cleaning, and packaging products.

What Are The Health Risks Of Nonstick Cookware?

A study [4] published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives approximates that up 98% of the U.S. population has traces of PFAS in their blood. Nonstick pans and other Teflon-coated kitchenware can leach toxic PFAS into your food or the air, leading to severe health impacts. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry [5] (ASDR), using nonstick cookware exposes you to the following risks:

• Interference with proper immune function
• Increased risk of Infertility in women
• Behavior, learning, and growth of children
• Hormone imbalance
• Increased cholesterol levels
• Increased risk of developing cancer

Ditching the nonstick kitchenware will definitely come with a few minor inconveniences – e.g., the amount of time you spend on dishes. But this is an inconvenience you should be willing to take if you care about your health and the sustainability of the environment. So, what should you use for cooking your fried eggs in the morning? From an environmental and consumer health perspective, it’s advisable to go for glass, stainless steel, and cast-iron alternatives. Safeguard your body, our waterways, and environment from toxic PFAs by ditching your nonstick cookware.


[1] FDA Tests Confirm Suspicions about PFAS Chemicals in Food. (2019). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from

[2] EPA seeks public input on draft toxicity assessments for PFAS chemicals | US EPA. (2019). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from

[3] The Madrid Statement. (2015). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from

[4] Calafat, A. M., Wong, L. Y., Kuklenyik, Z., Reidy, J. A., & Needham, L. L. (2007). Polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in the US population: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004 and comparisons with NHANES 1999–2000. Environmental health perspectives, 115(11), 1596-1602.

[5] ASDR. (2019). Retrieved 25 October 2019, from

Study Finds Fabric Softener Ingredients Linked To Cancer And CNS Disorders

Study Finds Fabric Softener Ingredients Linked To Cancer And CNS Disorders
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Do you enjoy the fresh, intoxicating scent of clean clothes? Of course, you do! Unfortunately, it turns out this ‘intoxicating’ smell of fabric softener is actually toxic – talk about poetic justice.

According to a study [1] published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, commercial fabric softeners gradually emit a cocktail of toxic chemicals that can cause airflow limitation, pulmonary irritation, and sensory irritation. Some of the ingredients increase the risk of cancer, central nervous system (CNS) disorders, and even liver damage.

Rather than expose your family and infants to toxic chemicals, you can make safer alternatives using natural ingredients in the comfort of your home. Read on for more information on why and how you can enjoy the scent of fresh clothes without polluting the air.

Sneaking Toxins Right Under Our Noses

Did you know that scented consumer goods such as fabric softeners can emit over 100 volatile compounds [2], with some of them being classified as hazardous or toxic? To make matters worse, these chemicals can form secondary pollutants when they react with ambient air. Below is a list of some of the toxic chemical ingredients in dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

1. Pentane: Inhalation of pentane can lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory tract irritation, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and headaches.

2. Linalool: This is a narcotic that is associated with respiratory disturbances and CNS disorders.

3. Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list associated with kidney damage, liver damage, and anemia with leukocytosis.

4. Camphor: This compound is listed by the EPA as a hazardous waste that can be fatal when inhaled. It has carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and anesthetic properties.

5. Alpha Terpineol: Irritates mucous membranes and can cause pneumonitis, CNS disorders, and ataxia.

6. Benzyl Alcohol: A respiratory irritant that can cause respiratory failure in extreme cases. It also causes dizziness, depression, and low blood pressure.

7. Benzyl Acetate: A carcinogenic compound that can cause systemic effects when inhaled.

A common argument by proponents of fabric softeners is that the exposure to harmful chemical ingredients is negligible with minimal health repercussions. On the contrary, fabric softener is a prime example of a dangerous product that hides in plain sight, masked as safe and convenient.

Safer Natural Alternatives – DIY Fabric Softeners?

The image of sweetness, freshness, and comfort portrayed by commercial fabric softeners could not be further from the truth – the scent comes at a cost. If you’re not prepared to risk your health, there are natural DIY options that can serve the purpose. Making fabric softener at home is actually cost effective and easier than most people think. Here are a few suggestions if you decide to forego commercial fabric softeners:

• Adding baking soda to the washing water.

• Adding white vinegar and a few drops of a favorite essential oil into the wash.

• Tossing aluminum balls (crumpled aluminum foil) into the dryer to help with static.


[1] Anderson, R. C., & Anderson, J. H. (2000). Respiratory toxicity of fabric softener emissions. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part A, 60(2), 121-136.

[2] Potera, C. (2011). Indoor air quality: scented products emit a bouquet of VOCs.

Alarming New Scientific Study Finds Elevated Toxic Arsenic, Lead And Cadmium In 47% Of Fruit Juice Brands

arsenic in fruit juice
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Troubling new results have been published (Jan 2019) by Consumer Reports regarding well known consumer brands of fruit juice, indicating potentially harmful levels of cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic (the type most harmful to health).

The scientific study tested 45 consumer brands of packaged fruit juices, typically “from concentrate”, in four popular flavors apple, grape, pear and “fruit blends”. 45 juices represnting 24 national, store, and private-label brands sold in the U.S. were tested.

Twenty-one out of the 45 juices (47%) tested had concerning levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead. Interestingly, organic juices did not fare better than non-organic in this particular test.

The dangerous effects of heavy metals are very well established. Children and adults exposed to these toxins may be at increased risk of cancer, diabetes, lower IQ and other mental and physical problems.

Heavy / toxic metals are found throughout the environment, in increased quantities since the industrial revolution – and the challenges of identifying the source of the pollutants is quite difficult; the global food distribution chain is complex and “juice from concentrate” often contains juices from more than one origin. Nonetheless, it should be possible to test batches of juice prior to blending. This is a problem that can be solved: If some companies can achieve low levels, so can others.

Here is the link to Consumer Reports’ full report, including a chart of which juices are considered more and less safe:

Arsenic and Lead Are in Your Fruit Juice: What You Need to Know