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One expert shared how some everyday items we have around the house could contain potentially lethal chemicals. Speaking with Express.co.uk, Neil McIntosh – the UK country manager of GreenPan – explained more about perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. He said: “PFAS (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances) are chemicals that are relatively unknown by consumers, however they are used to make everyday items water resistant.
“Found in toiletries, food packaging, raincoats, beauty products and traditional non-stick pans.
“These unassuming chemicals are dubbed ‘forever chemicals’ as they are extremely durable and decompose very slowly, taking as long as 1,000 years to do so.
“Not only are they virtually indestructible but they can be very harmful to our health – especially when inhaled or consumed.”
These chemicals are most deadly when involved in cooking.
In non-stick cookware production, polytetrafluoroethylene – a form of PFAS – is most commonly used.
“Traditional non-stick cookware releases toxic fumes in the cooking process and the non-stick coating starts to decompose when used over particularly high heats,” Mr McIntosh said.
“These fumes and other PFAS are ingested daily, with 99 percent of Europeans calculated to have PFAS in their bodies.”
Research has shown PFAS in the body can increase the likelihood of health problems.
- Impairment of the immune system
- Hormonal imbalances
- Increased cholesterol
- Cardiovascular disease
Mr McIntosh’s warning comes as the EU is set to announce a ban on “non-essential” products that contain PFAS, which will come into force no later than 2025.
He added: “An overwhelming majority of non-stick pans on the market are still made using harmful PFAS.
“In the next few years, we anticipate an announcement in the EU to ban these harmful chemicals in non-essential items.
“We can only hope that the UK follows suit and continues the conversation on the dangers of PFAS in cooking.”
PFAS are also deadly for the environment due to the length of time they take to decompose.
They are known to contaminate lakes, streams, groundwater and soil, and, ultimately, the food chain.
There are some brands that offer pans made without PFAS.
GreenPan, for example, uses Thermolon – a toxin-free alternative derived from sand.
Mr McIntosh said: “A fitting analogy is that our PFAS-free cookware is the zero-emitting electric car while the traditional non-stick pan is the carbon-emitting petrol or diesel car.
“We all know which is the future.”
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