91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS, or poly and perfluoroalkyl substances.PFAS is a family of chemicals that can be found in all sorts of products. But what are the lingering effects of PFAS on our health and the environment?

Nonstick pans often don't note they use PFAS

Courtesy: Ecology Center

A Michigan-based environmental group has found many nonstick pans are coated with a chemical from the PFAS family.

“We suspected that a lot of pans that say nonstick would be coated with PTFE without saying so on their packaging. And that was one of the findings of this investigation. That Teflon-type coatings, the same polymer, are very common on nonstick cookware. But, it’s very hard to tell from the packaging you see in the store,” said Gillian Miller, senior scientist with the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor.

The group tested 14 cooking pans and 10 baking pans from different retailers in different price ranges. It found 77% of the cooking pans were coated with PTFE, polytetrafluoroethylene. 20% of the baking pans had PTFE.

Credit Courtesy: Ecology Center

“Many of the packages make claims that could possibly confuse people. They’re not necessarily inaccurate claims, but they’ll often state PFOA free,” Miller said.

What is not said is that PFOA is used in the process to make PTFE.<--break->

PFOA is a common and notorious chemical in the PFAS family. It’s been found in drinking water in high amounts in some areas.

Being PFOA free does not mean PFAS-free.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
Related Content