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Danger from overheated Teflon?

 
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 05:53 am
I guarantee you that sometime in the future you will "croak" and that someone could, should they be so inclined, twist your death around to support his cause. Still there is valid evidence collected over decades to support the safety of Teflon. I've included several links on the topic in a previous post. They should put your concerns to rest.
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 May, 2006 08:23 am
Thanks! Very Happy
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coluber2001
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jun, 2006 01:05 pm
dyslexia wrote:
one comment. I have a parrot. Overheated teflon produces a gas which kills parrots. (so I'm told by my vet)


I worked in a major zoo where somebody left a teflon-coated pan on a hot plate overnight in the bird house. The fumes killed a number of the birds.
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2006 08:23 am
Oh!

Thank you for telling about that. I'm interested in direct-fume, long-term, and any chipping/flaking effects (the last one probably minimal).

Sally Very Happy
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USAFHokie80
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2006 03:39 pm
Teflon is inert unless overheated. Just because a bird cannot stand the fumes, does not mean that it will harm a human. Birds are much more sensitive to chemicals than we are. And as previously stated, the chips, at normal temperatures, will not hurt you whatsoever. Teflon is no more dangerous than eating fish or any other substance on this planet. Almost all fish carry some amount of mercury in them. And we KNOW what mercury does to humans... and their children. There are so many foods we eat that contain trace amounts of poisons. That's why we have kidnies and a liver. Don't worry about it.
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 12:14 am
Hm. I appreciate the authority with which you speak, but where do you get your evidence?

A frustrating thing about science is that it must remain conservative--at the end of the pack--in order to gather enough data to make general statements that don't have to be taken back every ten minutes. A frustrating thing about humans is their faith in authority.

People on the ground experience outcomes in the natural world long before science has data about it--that's what creates the data and/or the impetus to gather it. Thus, those hastily claiming the authority of science to proclaim absolute safety for products sometimes have to eat their words--and then they proclaim absolutely in other sometimes opposite directions.

A classic: when I was young some shoe stores x-rayed children's feet to see if their shoes fit. Try on four pairs of shoes and get at least four x-rays. Scientists proclaimed the practice harmless and "educated people" bullied people authoritatively if they questioned. The usual argument about radiation is that one gets radiation from the Sun, TV, etc., therefore a little from the x-ray machines would be insignificant. When kids started getting leukemia, the researchers got data and, after several years' exposure and death, pulled their usual about-face and declared the x-raying of feet for fitting shoes NOT a good idea.

This is not to say that Teflon is or is-not dangerous when used per instructions. But accidents happen and instead of getting the dial on "Off," sometimes it's turned to "High". That happened to me one day and gave rise to my question. Accidents happen or, as Murphy maintained, "If something can go wrong, it will."

So I'm still wondering. I heard a comment on NPR this morning, from a philosopher who wrote a book, _Why Birds Sing_. "You can reach out to the natural world in many ways before you can explain it." I think that means, applied to this context, that we have every need to investigate beyond the accepted data. We live in a world where product research is sometimes influenced by a drive for profit.

On the other hand, remember the suicide note from the guy who killed himself after "poisoning" the president (Washington) by feeding him deadly nightshade fruit (tomatoes)?
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USAFHokie80
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 04:14 pm
Science has come a long way since x-raying children. As for the accidents, a car can kill you much faster and efficiently than teflon, but I'm sure you still drive. The chemical in teflon, PTFE, is also in a type of tape used in plumbing. If you are worried about the toxicity of PTFE, perhaps you should refrain from drinking water from your tap, brushing your teeth or even taking a shower. PVC also contains this chemical, which again, is used in household plumbing.

And I'm serious about the fish thing, there is mercury in almost ALL fish in the oceans. And even cooking beef, or any meat, too quickly (aka searing) causes the proteins in the surface to undergo a chemical transformation into a carcinogenic substance. This has been known for a while, but like teflon, it's such a small amount, it is deemed irrelevant. Men's Health even did an article on it this month...
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 06:30 pm
Sally;

I posted a series on links earlier in the thread with some hard data for you on the safety of teflon. They are worth reading. We have decades of experience with teflon. Completely safe. Trial lawyers, having lost money on breast implants and running out of asbestos clients are looking for a new cause. Don't fall for it.
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Jul, 2006 06:45 pm
there are quite a few entries dealing with the dangers of teflon .
dupont's entry is pretty interesting , i think .
while they start by saying : no danger , they go on to say : don't overheat ... etc
i'd think some care wouldn't hurt .
hbg

...TEFLON...
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Jul, 2006 12:07 am
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Jul, 2006 12:35 pm
sallymander :
i think you are right on !
btw thare is a report in today's paper , stating that many of us are exposed to unnecessarily high doses of x-ray radiation .
the (scientific) report states that in canada alone about 150 lives could be saved annually by reducing the exposure from x-ray equipment by as little as 5 % !
reminds me of our retired family physician who kept warning me about routine annual dental x-rays - in his opinion they were not advisable unless looking for the cause of a problem .
the dentist however claimed that x-rays prevented major dental problems from flaring up .
whom to believe ?
hbg
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Jul, 2006 09:05 pm
Well, we expect scientists to be conservative and skeptical but science aficionados are not so kind with public conservatism when they say "Hey--do this! It's perfectly OK. NO side effects."

It takes a while for reports of side effects or toxicity or whatever from new products. But Teflon is not new.

Some minimal or long-term effects are hard to trace, such as radiation, because of complex environments--as you mentioned, hamburger. Let alone the profit motive--it took forever to declare smoking dangerous!

Researchers are unlikely to spend the bucks to establish whether Teflon fumes or x-rays plus TV plus sun plus microwave ovens plus living downwind from a nuclear reactor, or eating high-nitrite foods cooked at too-high temperatures, plus- plus- plus-_contributed_ to someone's cancer or eventual untimely death.

I think there is reason not to worry much about Teflon, but even its defense is eroded by bad logic and inattention to, "What if you DO accidentally leave the pan on high burner undetected and your bird dies?"

It is possible to analyze complexity, but abundant and careful observation, experimentation, and rigorous thinking are critically important to such undertakings.

Or so it seems to me. I think it's hard to think logically in a world rife with advertisements and bullying. I wrote the administrator/s to see if we could have a standing logic thread under "resources", but I haven't heard back. I could use the practice myself, so I'm not just trying to give our friend a hard time. We need the practice and so do students or questioners who ask the experts.

Sal
Smile
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hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Jul, 2006 11:27 am
hi , sal !
pls explain to me what 'logic' is . i was absent from class when the teacher explained it :wink: :wink: !
hbg
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SallyMander
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jul, 2006 08:35 pm
I was thinking of logical fallacies and informal logic. Reasoning that doesn't follow.

I listed a few logical fallacies (as I saw them) in our comrade's comments about the teflon, a few posts back.

Sal
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engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 06:13 am
hamburger wrote:
...reminds me of our retired family physician who kept warning me about routine annual dental x-rays - in his opinion they were not advisable unless looking for the cause of a problem .
the dentist however claimed that x-rays prevented major dental problems from flaring up .
whom to believe ?
hbg


If the question is about teeth, I would believe the dentist.
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USAFHokie80
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 09:23 am
"family medicine" is not as comprehensive as you might think. they spend less time studying illnesses than an internalist/pediatrician that spends the same amount of time in med school. and more than likely, he's not board certified. and if you're going to believe *anyone* about it, i would ask a radiologist.
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hamburger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 11:28 am
it seems that the experts are getting concerned over the exposure to x-rays . there is a new medical research report - can't find in google yet - that also urges more caution and a reduction in both the use and level of x-rays .
i know that our new dentist is much more careful in the use of x-rays and recommends it only every other year .
there seems to be a shift away from routine x-rays .
i'm old enough Shocked to remember when shoe-stores used x-ray equipment to check the fit of shoes for children !
hbg

...X-RAY OVEREXPOSURE...
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jan hall
 
  0  
Reply Mon 1 Apr, 2019 12:49 am
I fell asleep when I was heating up soup in an older Teflon pan,maybe15yrs old. The apartment filled with thick awful smoke, in took 2 days to air out. I noticed I was suffering from hypoxia.Co2 levels were 85%.. I'm still now thinking clear, with confusion.,
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Jewels Vern
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Apr, 2019 04:12 am
I did a research paper on Teflon when I was in Chemical Engineering major. PTFE (Teflon) is the safest material ever made by man. Bazillions of appliances are lined with the stuff. Heart pacemakers and various artificial body parts are made of PTFE. There is a VAST amount of this material in the world, and almost zero evidence of any danger.

Yes, PTFE kills parakeets. (No info about parrots.) But that only happens in lab conditions, where the PTFE particles are circulated through a heater to continually break them into small clumps, small enough to enter the bird's airways. In real life PTFE combines instantly with whatever else is in the air, usually water vapor, forming large clumps, too big to endanger parakeets. Nobody has ever produced the body of a bird killed accidentally by Teflon.

As for the overheated pan, the gases released are about equal to those released by its plastic handle. We have not heard of handles killing anybody.

There is one definite danger. If you carry an opened pack of cigarettes through a PTFE factory, each cigarette will absorb enough TFE gas to cause a fever when smoked outside later. So now you can freak out about tobacco and Teflon.
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