Today the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reports that the chemicals in “non-stick” pans and stain resistant fabrics are associated with higher cholesterol in children ages 1 to 18.
The chemicals used to make omelets easy to flip and carpets safe from spills are called Perflurochemicals (PFCs). Specifically, the scientists tested levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as Teflon, and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), which was used as the primary ingredient in Scotchgard until it was phased out in 2000.
Why would Teflon and stain proofing chemicals raise cholesterol levels?
The two chemicals are considered to be “endocrine disruptors”, which means that they affect hormones in the body. The study looked at 12,000 kids and the chemicals were linked to an increase in up to 10 mg/dL. An acceptable level of total cholesterol in children is less than 170 mg/dL.
This study found a correlation between kids with higher levels of the chemicals in their blood and higher cholesterol, but it doesn’t prove that the chemicals actually caused the increase. It’s a line of research that will continue.
If you use teflon pans, definitely use a wooden spoon or teflon spatula to cook, because a metal utensil can scrape off the non-stick material and it ends up in food.
Image: Flickr/jules stonesoup