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Jul 30, 2014 07:43 AM

Why all the hate still for Dupont Teflon?

OK, I understand there were risks associated with older Dupont Teflon, PTFE if you heated it too high but the new generation Teflon is made without PFOA so it won’t kill your bird and is a much harder finish, so much so that you can use metal utensils on it.

PTFE has always been the best & longest lasting non-stick coating, far outperforming and outlasting ceramic or any other proprietary nonstick coatings that I’ve ever heard of. I have four frying pans coated with DuPont's newest coatings including this one with Platinum:
and these with Platinum Plus:

They new Teflon works great!

I know many will say avoid non stick coatings in favor of seasoned cast iron but nothing is as slippery as Teflon, especially at lower temperatures.

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  1. Two different issues. The PFOA was a catalyst and not related to the fumes issue. The PFOA issue was all about contaminating the ground water in the areas where Teflon and other nonstick coatings using PFOA were made. The PTFE is what caused the fumes that could kill birds. The website you linked to says nothing about whether or not these new pans contain PTFE or not.

    Who knows what is used in these new coatings? I am among the many who say just wash your pans. I use seasoned cast iron and All-clad stainless. Not a problem to wash a pan.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Just Visiting

      Teflon is a brand name for PTFE. PFOA is the offending chemical that DuPont removed from Teflon's production.

      1. re: zackly

        Right. They stopped using PFOA. So what are they using in its place? Are you assuming that the new substance is harmless?

        1. re: Just Visiting

          PFOA is used in the production of PTFE. It does not remain in the final product.

          1. re: GH1618

            The elimination of PFOA is really more for the manufacturer workers.

          2. re: zackly

            Hi, zackly: "DuPont removed from Teflon's production."

            Yes, after they were sued for poisoning an entire town, I believe in W. Virginia. There was a consent decree issued in Federal court, whereby they agreed to stop using PFOA. The fix was in, though, and they continued to use it for YEARS afterward.


            1. re: kaleokahu

              Here's a status statement from DuPont on the phaseout of PFOA:


              It states that they are meeting the EPA schedule.

              1. re: GH1618

                Hi, GH: "...they are meeting the EPA schedule."

                Of course they are--it was all on DuPont's timeline. How many years have they had since the consent decree was entered? If I remember correctly, they even got a lengthy extension.


                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I'm not defending DuPont, however, as someone who has been in product development in the plastics industry for over 40 years, I can assure you it's impossible to put a time line on inovation. I would guess there were two choices, cease production until such inovation was made, or get an extension. Once the inovation is made in the lab, it still takes time to implament in the manufacturing process. Many times special metals are required for construction of equipment and some of these have lead times over a year. And that's just to get the metal available for fabrication.

                  1. re: mikie

                    Hi, mikie:

                    You make a good point about innovation.

                    However, DuPont *consented* to the decree that set the original deadline (and that deadline was several years out in the future, IIRC). Then it was extended. And they're apparently STILL not in full compliance, as shown in the link GH1618 supplied. Are they still innovating?

                    The poisoning (and DuPont's deliberate withholding of internal studies and blood test data) was privately sued upon in 2001, and after many "big business" appeals, and a Scorched Earth defense, the company settled, paying an initial sum of $107 million, and committed to paying up to $343 million.

                    In 2004, the largest administrative fine ever assessed in U.S. history to that time was levied. The consent decree was entered in 2005.

                    NINE years later? Still not in compliance?

                    This is not some abstract issue. PFOA exposure has been found to probably cause:

                    High Cholesterol
                    Testicular Cancer
                    Thyroid Disease
                    Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension/Preeclampsia
                    Ulcerative Colitis


                    If any private citizen had done what DuPont and 3M did with PFOA pollution and the coverup, they'd be in prison.


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      To be fair, it was a $10MM fine, large by EPA standards, but that's about it, and it was primarily for withholding evidence.

                        1. re: ferret

                          $10.25 million fine to be exact, plus another $6.25 in environmental mitigation projects in lieu of more. From the press release:

                          "The settlement resolves the four violations alleged in the Agency's two complaints filed against DuPont in July and December 2004, and settles four additional counts involving information about PFOA that EPA obtained after initiating its action against DuPont. Seven of the eight counts involve violations of TSCA Section 8(e) -- the requirement that companies report to EPA substantial risk information about chemicals they manufacture, process or distribute in commerce."

                          Add in the settlement amount of the class action lawsuit (which was necessitated when EPA initially refused to act), at least $107 million but up to $343 milllion, *plus* some undisclosed amount for litigants who opted out of the settlement, we're looking at at least $113-$359 million.

                          That sounds like a lot of money to me.

                        2. re: kaleokahu

                          Hi Kaleo,

                          I understand your points, they are valid, but it still doesn't make inovation move any more quickly. In the past I worked for companies that used asbestos in their products as a fill/reinforcement, when we figured out it was killing people, it still took years to find a suitable replacement and I can tell you, nothing is as good at what it did as asbestos was, but now it's gone. And this was just a filler/reinforcement, not an intragral part of a chemical process.

                          The company I currently work for has the origional patents on a particular type of plastic. Competitors tried for 25 years to get around those patents to no avail, now 46 years from when those patents were issued, there are still people trying to make this a different way, but everyone in the world that makes this plastic uses the technology that was covered in those patents. The fact that they can take out the PFOA at all is remarkable. I'm still amazed at how quickly companies were able to eliminate BPA in their product.

                          1. re: mikie

                            Hi, mikie:

                            Yes, advances in manufacturing and chemical processes proceed as they do--sometimes in fits and starts, and sometimes glacially.

                            In this case, DuPont and 3M *knew* as early as 1961 that PFOA caused reproductive harm, and it did NOTHING about it until they lost their last battle in the 2000 class action lawsuit. 39 years of coverup (actually there was no real admission until 2005, so 44 years), and God knows how much suffering, how many injuries and deaths. And they STILL were given another 10 years!

                            For me, giving chemical companies time to "innovate" around injuring and killing consumers with their products just to maintain their bottom line is insane. DuPont has had FIFTY-FOUR YEARS (1961 to 2015) to stop making and using PFOA.


                            1. re: kaleokahu

                              Hi Kaleo,

                              No argument there, cover-ups are worse in my mind than the actual initial infraction. Unfortunately, I'm sure this was not the first and certianly not the last. Although, I will say that companies have come a long way in the 40+ years I've been in the business.

                              Unfortunately sometimes companies bare the brunt of responsibility for things they really didn't know about or thought, given the technology of the time, they were doing the correct thing. I had the pleasure of working for Hooker Chemical a very long time ago. Although they had plenty of sins to atone for, the one that finally got them was really not their fault. Or at least it was a time when they actually did try to meadiate the situation properly, probably makes me a little more understanding of the issues involved with chemical manufacturing.

                              BTW, was it DuPont or GE that advertised "Better Living Through Chemistry".

                              1. re: mikie

                                Hi mikie,

                                I think that was Dow Chemical, perhaps? But could have been DuPont.

                                GE was "We Light the World" or some such, IIRC.

                                Anyway, I place the blame for failure to innovate squarely with our regulators who grant the extensions and waivers. I also bemoan the loss of federal investment in innovation. That investment was a big driver in pure research.

                                1. re: DuffyH

                                  "GE, We Bring Good Things (like miniguns) to Light"

                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                      Hi, Duffy:

                                      I thought you were in the Navy...

                             (This is mostly slow-motion--the guns run at about 4,000 rounds per minute



                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        Hey Kaleo,

                                        Oh! Like CIWS*. Sure, I know that. Note that I only know about CIWS because my dude was the CSO on a cruiser. WAVES weren't allowed on ships (except hospital ships) in my day.

                                        Anyway, Dude says those hand-operated guns weren't on ships as of '92, when he retired. This being the Navy, they had computers to fire guns for them. No need to stand there getting shot at in return.

                                        CIWS = Close In Weapons System, pronounced 'see-wizz'. Sometimes affectionately known as R2-D2.

              2. re: Just Visiting

                What does washing have to do with it?

                1. <nothing is as slippery as Teflon, especially at lower temperatures.>

                  Yes, you are correct.

                  1. there never has been a health issue with Teflon / PTFE - the PFOA as mentioned in the other reply is a known health hazard.

                    if you go research PFOA exposures and sources, you'll find cookware had zero to 'not detectable' in studies from US, UK, Denmark, Sweden, etc etc etc. it is used in the process, it does not linger on hard goods.

                    so while all these folks are freaking out about how fatal Teflon is for your health, check out where PFOA actually is found.

                    spoiler: in USA all child's sleepwear has to be flameproofed. that's a job for PTFE; residual levels of PFOA are quite high.

                    they won't use PTFE, aluminum makes them batty, and they put their kids to bed every night in PFOA soaked pj's. go figger.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: PSRaT

                      Children's sleepwear must be either flame resistant OR tight fitting - there are many sleepwear options that are not treated.


                      1. re: Ruby_slippers

                        Yes, my child never wore the flameproof stuff, which was also all poly back then.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Still is, for the most part - my kids wear cotton sleepers or tees and shorts in the summertime - so much more comfy! They get so sweaty and hot in their few flame resistant pieces.

                    2. I just don't see the point of it. There isn't anything I need it for. Plus it has poor longevity.

                      24 Replies
                      1. re: rasputina

                        Non stick cookware is ubiquitous in both professional & home kitchens. You may choose not to use it for whatever reason but trust me you are in a very small minority. For egg cookery, non-fat or low fat cookery it is peerless.

                        1. re: zackly

                          I keep hearing that it's the best for eggs ect but frankly I prefer using bare cast iron for eggs. And I have no problems looking low fat when I want to.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            I too just flat out prefer cast iron out especially carbon steel. Nonstick just doesn't brown properly, and carbon pans are just so easy to clean

                          2. re: zackly

                            I also find no use for the stuff - it scratches too easily and requires too much care I tossed my last non-stick pan years ago and only miss it when houseguests who don't know how to use cookware properly tread in my kitchen.

                            My cast iron is sufficiently non stick and the small amounts of healthy fats used are beneficial for health and flavor.

                            I just don't see a need to pan steam foods on Teflon surface at low temp stirring with plastic utensils - god forbid I want some sizzle, sauce or crunch in my dinner.

                            1. re: JTPhilly

                              <I just don't see a need to pan steam foods on Teflon surface at low temp stirring with plastic utensils - god forbid I want some sizzle, sauce or crunch in my dinner.>

                              That's not how nonstick works at all. I mean, sure, you can pan steam if you want to, but that would be a personal choice. I don't like plastic utensils, either. But again, that's for each cook to decide.

                              Medium heat works well. Even medium high from time to time. Those the are same temps I use for my stainless clad. And my carbon steel, unless I'm searing a roast. Very few things call for cranking the heat up to high.

                              Wooden spoons. Silicone spatulas. Metal tongs. We all have them. I've been known to slide my favorite steel turner under stuff, too. I do not use metal spoons, forks or knives in it. Nor do I use plastic.

                              Sizzle, sauce and crunch are easy. The only thing you can't do is get a high heat crusty steak or fond. But I can and do sear and pan fry. Food browns very nicely. When I want my pan sauce to taste like chicken, I use a clad pan and utilize the fond. When I want a cleaner tasting sauce, nonstick is the way to go.

                              I'm not saying anyone needs it, of course not. I used to feel just the same, with a very biased view of nonstick. Then I tried it, with a quality pan underneath. Now I know what it can do, I've gained a great deal of appreciation for it.


                              1. re: DuffyH

                                you are more rational than me - I just hate the stuff

                                1. re: JTPhilly

                                  I'm printing a screenshot to show the Dude. Rational is not a word he often uses to describe me. :-D

                            2. re: zackly

                              It isn't ubiquitous. I don't know anyone who uses teflon in their homes.

                              1. re: Just Visiting

                                Even if it was, I don't see how that means anything.

                                1. re: Just Visiting

                                  You don't know anyone who use Teflon in their homes? That is odd because Teflon nonstick cookware is still the #1 selling cookware type in US.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Somehow I think this is one of those things where you can be in a "circle" I don't question that in sales teflon and non-stick is #1 by what I see on the shelves but I don't remember the last time I saw it in someone's kitchen.

                                    It was never in the house growing up and it was not in my grandparents kitchen either - I can't imagine this had to do with health concerns or safety nobody cared about that stuff I think it was just more habit and cooking style. I cant think last I have seen it in friends kitchens either - but living in the East Coast version of Portlandia that is not surprising. The only thing I own with non-stick is my slow cooker and it was a gift - it is also the one thing I don't like about that slow cooker.

                                    1. re: JTPhilly

                                      I don't think Teflon pans have been around that long. We didn't have it @ the CIA in the mid seventies and they had everything new because manufacturers would give it to the school hoping the instructors and students would want to use it in the field. The first time it came on my radar was in the eighties. It might have been available before then but not in common use until that time.

                                      1. re: zackly

                                        Yeah but I am a 70s born 80s kid. My grandparents were cheap but mom and dad are boomers and both like to cook but learned as much from NYT as anything. Never non stick in the house. I dont think either of them use any to this day. I also dont think they think about it, it was just never there. Personally as a Smoker (now 2 years quit) and non bird owner (scariest pet ever) I did not avoid for health I just never liked using them

                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                          Fair enough, my intent of this post was to let people know that Teflon has changes and they have nothing to fear about using this new generation product . I think there a lot of lingering prejudices about the product that are no longer valid.

                                        2. re: zackly

                                          Teflon was definitely around in the 70's (and well before). My mother was from Europe and the two things she readily embraced in her new Country were no-iron sheets and Teflon cookware.

                                          1. re: ferret

                                            LOL, your mom knew a good thing when she saw it!

                                            1. re: ferret

                                              Yes, definitely in the 70's. My mother used it all the time when I was a kid.

                                    2. re: zackly

                                      I hate it for eggs, too, and I don't have a problem with food sticking.

                                      1. re: zackly

                                        I use a ceramic non-stick pan for things like scrambled eggs and they cook just as well as they would in a teflon coated pan.

                                        Apart from eggs, I don't really see the use for teflon cookware for other types of cooking. Foods don't brown properly and you can't use metal utensils without scratching the coating. Cast iron and carbon steel cookware work better most of the time when a nonstick surface is required. As for baking, parchment or silicone/glass bakeware do the trick.

                                        1. re: Chi_Guy

                                          With the new generation of Teflon you can use metal utensils. It is much harder.

                                        2. re: zackly

                                          It wasn't at all ubiquitous in any of the restaurants I worked in. That distinction went to uncoated aluminum.

                                          I'm certain it is the most sold, it's super cheap at BoxMart and needs to be replaced often...

                                          1. re: CaliforniaJoseph

                                            which sort of comes full circle on why retailers love to sell it

                                          2. re: zackly

                                            Yep. I generally avoid Teflon cookware, and certainly the expensive stuff, only because it doesn't last very long (measuring in years), but I do have one frying pan that I use for eggs, and sometimes fish, especially uncoated, skinless fillets. If I regularly made cream sauces, I'd be strongly tempted to get a Teflon-coated saucepan for those, too, since large amounts of dairy cooked for any period of time invariably seem to create such an annoyingly tough film on other surfaces.

                                        3. There is a lot of superstition going around generally. The fear of nonstick coatings is just a tiny part of the phenomenon.