Times ‘got non-stick scare story facts wrong’

The Cookware Manufacturers Association in the US says that a report on a UK website last week on research linking the non-stick chemical PFOA to thyroid disease was misleading.

Times 'got non-stick scare story facts wrong'

The story, published on Times Online on Thursday, reported on the Exeter University study into the possible health hazards of PFOA, which is used in the manufacture of some non-stick coatings.

“Unfortunately, this article contains erroneous information,” says the association in a statement. “The study cited only looked for statistical associations between PFOA levels in blood and various disease reported by study participants. It does not, and can not, demonstrate cause and effect.

“The claim that elevated PFOA levels is associated with thyroid disease has not been confirmed in studies of other populations, such as the C9-West Virginia (USA) population or any of the occupational studies, where PFOA levels were much higher and thus the incidence of thyroid disease if caused by PFOA exposure would be expected to be more prevalent.

“Studies by authoritative sources including the US Environmental Protection Agency have indicated that non-stick cookware is not a source of exposure to PFOA. EPA states on its PFOA website: ‘The information that EPA has available does not indicate that the routine use of consumer products poses a concern. At present, there are no steps that EPA recommends that consumers take to reduce exposures to PFOA.'”

The Cookware Manufacturers Association statement goes on: “Non-stick coatings have been, and continue to be, approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority and other regulatory agencies worldwide.

“Nevertheless, the major manufacturers of PFOA in the USA have banded together under the guidance of the EPA to reduce dramatically global facility emissions and product content of PFOA by 95% as of 2010, and to work toward eliminating emissions and product content of PFOA by 2015.

“Recent testing has shown significant reductions of PFOA in human blood levels since the programme got underway. These declines are expected to continue.

“Proper use of non-stick cookware, cooking at normal temperatures (less than 500 °F), can have real health benefits. Non-stick cookware is recommended by the American Heart Association because it allows for cooking with little or no oil.”

The Times Online story can be read at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article6996215.ece).

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