Beware of DWR, GoreTex, pizza boxes

and other water, grease and stain resistant products. Geeze, that eliminates a lot of paddling and outdoor activity related clothing.|hero&par=xfinity

But Friday a slew of international scientists authored the “Madrid Statement,” their take on the potential health and environmental dangers of certain chemicals commonly used in everything from pizza boxes to microwave popcorn bags, outdoor clothing, carpets and furniture. They issued their concerns in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, published by the National Institutes of Health. And in a separate report also released Friday, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group takes these chemicals to task, too.

The focus of this chemical contentiousness are substances generally known as PFCs — perfluorinated chemicals (also known as PFSAs) that make your jacket waterproof, a pizza box grease-proof, and a frying pan less sticky. The chief worry of the 200 scientists from 38 countries that have shown support for the journal’s “Madrid Statement,” is that exposure to these chemicals may be bad for our health and bad for the environment, too.

Indeed, some of these chemicals — especially the so-called long-chain type of PFCs — have already come under fire, particularly one called C8.

From 2005 through 2013, researchers carried out exposure and health studies in communities located in the Mid-Ohio Valley, which had been potentially affected by the release of C8 emitted from a DuPont plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

What they found is a probable link to C8 exposure and diagnosed high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. By the end of 2015, manufacturers in the United States will phase out C8 in all products.

Although the long-chain versions of these chemicals have been “vigorously studied,” the newer alternatives developed by companies, generally short-chain types, haven’t been around long enough to get the kind of necessary scientific scrutiny to ensure human and environmental health, says Dr. David Andrews, a senior scientist with the environmental advocacy group EWG, and co-author of their report.

And since some of these newer alternatives may be less effective, manufacturers may need to use larger quantities to provide the kind of product performance consumers expect, which could potentially lead to bad health effects and environmental issues.

“The concern really is that we are replacing old chemicals, with new chemicals that have similar structures,” says Bill Walker, an EWG consultant and co-author. “We don’t want to repeat history again here.”

But industry leaders aren’t buying into the equation and don’t believe the Madrid Statement, for example, reflects “. . . a true consideration of the available data,” said DuPont spokeswoman Janet E. Smith, although the newer types of chemicals are “better than the ones they replaced.”

“Regulators around the world have reviewed the data and approved these compounds as being safe for their intended uses,” she said.

And it’s important to know that all “. . . fluorinated chemicals are not the same,” according to The FluoroCouncil, a global organization representing the world’s leading FluoroTechnology companies.

If you have concerns, the EWG isn’t suggesting you purchase a biohazard suit when handling your pizza box. Rather, if you want to avoid the new-generation of chemicals, they suggest, among other things:

To find products that haven’t been pre-treated and skip optional stain treatment on new carpets and furniture.

Cut back on fast food and greasy carryout food. These foods often come in PFC-treated wrappers.

Do your research, especially when buying outdoor gear, and choose clothing that doesn’t carry Gore-Tex or Teflon tags.

Be wary of all fabrics labeled stain- or water-repellent, even when they don’t carry a recognizable brand tag.

Avoid non-stick pans and kitchen utensils. Opt for stainless steel or cast iron instead.

Pop popcorn the old-fashioned way, on the stovetop. Microwaveable popcorn bags are often coated with PFCs on the inside.

I didn’t go to the link but read what you posted. The part here

“potentially affected by the release of C8 emitted from a DuPont plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia”

Released it what form ? Through the air? into the water system? Either way would be a much greater amount than having cloths treated with it by a long shot. Not real worried. Hell I use Permethrin that I spray onto my cloths to keep the bugs away. I still think that better than to apply DEET directly to my skin which gets me sick. Yet millions use DEET. Pick your poison. I wont be throwing away my Gortex dry suit any time soon.

not convinced

– Last Updated: May-05-15 11:11 AM EST –

Meh. I was a lab tech at Mellon Institute back in the early 1970's in the polymer chemistry department. We used teflon tubing and teflon coated labware because it is so stable and non-reactive even with quite corrosive chemicals. It is also used in implanted medical devices for that reason. It does not break down chemically into noxious components until very high temperatures are reached (around 500 degrees F) so it can be an emissions hazard with frying pans. But the newer ceramic coatings can replace bakeware coated with teflon for the same price (I have replaced all of mine.)

Though I could see the point of reducing unnecessary purchases of items encorporating teflon or Goretex (for instance, its use in most footwear is pointless since the many seams in the shoes allow moisture in anyway and the close fit prevents most vapor evaporation, which needs vapor pressure to operate) so that production and potential chemical dissipation from manufacturing facilities would be reduced.

But I would challenge anyone to demonstrate that products made with teflon shed any damaging compounds or individual chemicals under normal (not high heat) conditions.

Sorting it out…
I would have to see the report to figure out how much of the issue was exposure to versus damages from making the stuff. But many of their recommendations are also not new, they have been floating around already.

I am thinking especially of pre-treatment of carpets for people with kids who are still crawling (of course that is also the population that can most benefit from it) and non-stick pans. They significantly changed the preferred coating for non-stick and Teflon coated cookware a few years ago. That also pushed some new and useful research to improve the ceramic coatings.

No one should be eating much in the way of fast food or that godawful microwave popcorn anyway, the popcorn “butter” is already known to be questionable.

But no GoreTex… I bet most of the proprietary alternatives use the same chemical. This is probably no waterproof clothing period. For the time being I will have to resolve not to cook and eat my drysuit.

good grief
It’s as if there’s nothing else unhealthy about sucky pizza in a cardboard box. It’s sucky pizza, it’s bad for you without the box!

I’m with the rest of you, I’m not jumping off the bridge just yet. Maybe I’ll take the dry suit off though.

Name one thing…

– Last Updated: May-05-15 1:29 PM EST –

Name one thing that is absolutely, positively, without a shadow of doubt............healthy, and good for everyone.

Don't drink the kool aid; somebody may have slipped "something" in it when your back was turned.


P.S. I knew I shouldn't have let my daughter chew on the carpet when she was a toddler. Now she's pushing 46 years old. I know her obstinance, self reliance, motivation, and intelligence has to be a result of chewing on that damn carpet!

I shouldn’t put a pizza into the drybag and then microwave it.

I have enough of a bad rep already just avoiding problem foods, and the wonderful natural world’s allergens, and now I am supposed to be afraid of my rain jacket. Just … great.

A public health issue, but for
the individual the risk is so far beneath that of smoking as to be not much worth worrying. I’m 72 and not even one of my several health issues has been related to flourine and its compounds.


Living can be hazardous to your health
After age 17, we are all pretty much in the process of dying anyway, the question is, how long can we extend the process, certainly no reason to speed it up. Tim

I drank water out of a green garden…
hose when I was a kid, and still drink it out of a green garden hose.

Is that why I have a few wrinkles here and there ?

Jack L

If it turns out I can’t drink
scotch I’m going to hang up my cleats.