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Teflon – it could be in your mascara

When you read the word Teflon you probably have instant images of non-stick kitchenware. Us too.

Teflon (or polytetrafluoroethylene) is most commonly used to keep fried eggs from becoming a sticky mess but did you also know that it is used in cosmetics?

It can be used in waterproof mascara, eyeshadow, moisturiser, sunscreen and nail polish (look for PTFE on the label).

Why is Teflon bad for us?

Teflon is made using perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and this has been linked to all sorts of problems including cancer and birth defects. PFOA accumulates in the environment, wildlife and in us.

Studies have also found that PFOA can have a negative impact on the liver, thyroid, immune system and heart.

When Teflon is heated above 360 degrees C it releases toxic gasses including PFOA. It takes a fry pan about 3.5 minutes to reach 360C. That strange smell coming from the pan is not a good thing.

Female employees of Dupont, the manufacturer of Teflon, were found to have abnormally high rates of birth defects. They sued Dupont for millions and won. Dupont were also fined over $16 million dollars for not declaring the environmental and health risk associated with PFOA by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Frypans and mascara are the not the only items containing Teflon

teflon hair straightenerTeflon is not just limited to the kitchen. Here is a little list of some items that can use Teflon

  • Dental Floss
  • Hair curling wands and straightening irons
  • Irons
  • Ironing board covers
  • Raincoats
  • Baking paper
  • Stain protective sprays like Scotchgard

Even though many of those products are not heated so the toxic off-gassing is not really an issue, we can’t forget that it still bio-accumulates. Wildlife, the environment, and people are storing this chemical.

The environmental and health effects of millions of people using millions of Teflon products may not be noticeable now but what about later, years down the track?

That question definitely got us looking at what we use to cook with.

It goes without saying that Woohoo Skincare doesn’t use Teflon or any per fluorinated compounds.

Image source: freedigitalphotos.net, Artists: anankkml & artur84