Nonstick coatings on fry pans and microwave-popcorn bags can, when heated, release traces of potentially toxic perfluorinated chemicals into the air and the food being cooked, a new study suggests. Although the chemicals aren't subject to any regulatory restriction and have uncertain toxicity, the researchers conducting the study suggest that people at least run kitchen-exhaust fans when using these products. A 2005 industry study found no such releases.
Chemist Kurunthachalam Kannan and his New York State government team, based in Albany, performed the tests on four brands of nonstick fry pans and two brands of microwave popcorn. Their findings appear in the Feb. 15 Environmental Science & Technology.
The scientists heated new fry pans of various brands on a 250°C hot plate for 20 minutes. About half the samples released high amounts of gaseous fluorotelomer alcohols (SN: 10/11/03, p. 23