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Is Teflon® Dangerous?

By R. Kayne
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The nonstick coating used in DuPont’s Teflon® pans has been found to release one or more of 15 different toxic gases when heated to certain temperatures, but is generally safe when used according to manufacturers' specifications. Which chemicals are released depends on the temperature of the pan. This outgassing can be fatal to pet birds and can cause "polymer fume flu," also known as "Teflon® flu," in humans.

Teflon® flu creates flu-like symptoms of chills, headache, fever and nausea. Usually, symptoms subside within a few days, and chances are many people who have experienced it mistook it for the flu. However, there are also more serious risks.

One of the main chemicals used in the manufacturing process of Teflon® and other nonstick pans is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) also known as C-8. This chemical has led to cancer and birth defects in lab animals, and may have led to birth defects in DuPont plant workers. In 2005, an independent panel reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared PFOA a likely human carcinogen.

Though DuPont is quick to point out the safety of Teflon® and to distance it from the chemical PFOA, studies show Teflon® cookware releases PFOA when heated to 680°F (360°C). This temperature can be reached fairly quickly, for example, a forgotten pan is left empty preheating on a very hot burner. DuPont acknowledges this, but points out that this is incorrect use of the cookware.

In April 2003, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action against DuPont for what it classified as an 18-year cover-up regarding the dangers of the Teflon® chemical PFOA. Factory workers exposed to PFOA inside the Teflon® plants had high levels of the manmade, indestructible chemical in their blood. This included seven pregnant women and their fetuses, which also showed elevated levels of PFOA.

DuPont’s own research suggested a link between PFOA and rare birth defects in animals. Of the seven pregnant women at the West Virginia plant, two of the seven babies born bore similar serious birth defects. In response to the EWG petition, the EPA fined DuPont 16.5 million US dollars (USD) in December 2005 for failing to report the dangers of PFOA.

Related chemicals used in the process of non-stick cookware are sometimes referred to as "Teflon® chemicals" or perfluorinated chemicals. This family of chemicals includes fluorotelomers, used in non-stick food packaging and stain resistant products for clothing, furniture, and carpets. Fluorotelomers break down to PFOA in the environment and bloodstream, but PFOA does not break down. Studies have revealed that 95% of all men, women and children in the United States have traces of PFOA in their blood due to exposure to various industrial products that use this nonstick chemical. PFOA has also been found in the environment and in wildlife.

While DuPont remains insistent that Teflon® is safe and inert with proper use, it voluntarily pledged to substantially reduce environmental emissions and to phase PFOA out by 2015. DuPont also urges consumers to use Teflon® responsibly and considers overheating or burning food abusive use of the cookware. Teflon®, and all cookware that uses nonstick coatings, should not be preheated. Use low-to-medium heat and do not allow food or oil to burn. According to peer-reviewed studies as reported by the EWG, nonstick cookware, including Teflon®, begins outgassing particles at 396°F (202.2°C).

If you own pet birds, Teflon® and nonstick cookware is not recommended. Note that stovetop burner drip pans may also have nonstick coatings. These drip pans can reach very high temperatures.

A nonstick alternative to Teflon® is baked enamel cookware, or porcelain cookware. This cookware is inert at all temperatures, is dishwasher safe, and according to many professionals, cooks all types of food superbly, making it one of the best cookware for glass top stoves. Stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron are other alternatives, though these require cooking oil to prevent sticking.

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Discussion Comments

By marxp — On Oct 24, 2015

I inhaled a big dose of Teflon fumes - water evaporated from pan I was using to steam vegetables - about two weeks ago and have been suffering symptoms since, and they are not abating - sinus pain, some nosebleeds, watering eyes, itching eyes, chest tightness. I have an overall sense of having been poisoned.

My response? Anger. This stuff is highly toxic and I will not use Teflon again, knowingly.

Also, I don't want to sit around waiting to get sicker. I am looking at positive ways to detox these poisons outta my body. A friend says sauna them out, so I've joined a health club and start tomorrow.

Any other suggestions on how to detox?

By anon992236 — On Aug 24, 2015

Here's a tip for making breakfast that could be useful to those who fry bacon in a pan first, then fry eggs in the same pan second, and of course who wish to avoid teflon. Thus is what follows. I'm talking about any kind of pan other than teflon coated, e.g., cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, even those old 50's era aluminum electric skillets. For any of these you've no doubt noticed that the bacon will leave adhering bits and a partly protein film. This is what makes trouble with frying eggs since they will bond to this bacon residue. To avoid this, and if you aren't afraid of aluminum, put down a piece of foil spanning the clean pan, and fry the bacon on that. It actually works better for the frying itself than the bare pan because of improved heat distribution. When the bacon is done, pick up the foil and spill off however much bacon grease you need for the eggs. Now eggs cooked in classic form will be much easier to flip.

By SteveL — On Jun 09, 2014

Teflon or any non-stick pan is not the biggest source of bad chemistry when cooking. Take a look at what happens to the various cooking oils and foods when they get heated to 450 Deg F or higher. There are all the food additives that are messing up our endocrine system. In my humble opinion, if Teflon is treated with respect and used within reasonable limits the Teflon pans made in the last 10 years will be safe. Warning: Cooking may be hazardous to your health.

By anon939533 — On Mar 14, 2014

I stopped using Teflon kitchenware years ago in an effort to reduce my exposure to toxins. I use only stainless steel, cast iron and heat safe glass/crockery. I really don't have an issue with food sticking. I cook on low or medium heat, depending on the type of food. If it sticks, I soak the dish in hot, soapy water for a while, then go over it with a scrubber- voila, clean dish. I can't help thinking an increasing number of folks are just plain lazy.

By anon932303 — On Feb 11, 2014

Chemophobia is the real culprit here.

By anon924469 — On Jan 04, 2014

I simply had to post once reading this. I have a degree in physics and I don't know of anyone who would describe me as delusional or over-paranoid when it comes to the toxicity of things. Meaning I am not pedantic about safety. (I use microwaves, etc.)

However, I can say with about 95 percent certainty that from the moment I have been using non-stick pans I have been getting sick and for years have been unable to explain it. I switched them out and have honestly been feeling much better.

I don't have night sweats, my cough has subsided, my headaches are gone and I don't feel dizzy or lethargic.

I am still in disbelief that these are being sold. It's shocking. I urge everyone to petition to their governments to have these banned.

By anon346550 — On Aug 29, 2013

All the people who continue to use teflon obviously haven't had teflon poisoning, and poisoning is what it is, not "flu." Having suffered from it personally, I will not have the stuff in the house! It isn't just the cookware; a lot of kids clothes, especially the school uniforms, are now impregnated with the damn stuff.

If you're quite happy to have your kids walking around in a bunch of chemicals, breathing in the fumes when you have them in the dryer and cooking their meals in poison coated pans, then you carry on. But more should be done to make people aware of the risks.

By anon331089 — On Apr 20, 2013

None of the comments on here show any sign of anyone searching for the real "truth". For example, one commenter said she doesn't buy Tefal any more because of the dangerous chemicals from Dupont's C-8. Dupont doesn't make the Teflon® for Tefal. One commenter stated that the nonstick chemical was detected worldwide because of Dupont Teflon® frying pans. 3M used this in all their Scotchguard fabric protection for carpets and clothing. That's how it got into the environment. Dupont recycles all C-8 it uses because it is very expensive to buy or make. Panic and herd mentality is all this is. Attorneys fanning the flames of false litigation.

By anon324346 — On Mar 09, 2013

We mostly use cast iron skillets. Occasionally though, we do use a Teflon pan when sticking is an issue. The pan has seen better days and we've been looking for a replacement for some time. But every time we're in the store I always think "isn't there some kind of safety problem with Teflon?" Thanks to this article, we'll never buy another Teflon anything. Thanks to all those that shared their stories. By the way, not one of the pans we looked at used the word Teflon. They all said non-stick, but they were definitely Teflon.

By anon320901 — On Feb 20, 2013

People who buy chemical coated pans poison their families.

I've never owned a chemical coated pan but I am sure I have eaten out of a few in my life. I am sure restaurants and friends have poisoned me without my knowledge.

By anon311412 — On Jan 01, 2013

I completely agree with the poster who talked about everyone arguing about the little things. The fact of the matter is a company is selling a product that is harmful to our health: cookware! It's stuff that gets used on a daily basis. Open your eyes, people. What happened to the companies that made asbestos, or lead paint? The government shut them down and banned those materials and products. Why? Because they are harmful to our health. And we weren't cooking with asbestos or lead paint.

The next thing you know, people are going to say parents letting their kids eat lead paint chips are negligent. Will people just wake up and open their eyes? The companies making teflon cookware don't care about people's health. They haven't done all the research and only care about making money. They care about taking money from our pockets. The fact that just a little may come out in cooking is wrong. Sure, only a little bit is released each time, but how many times a year do you use your teflon coated cookware? How many years will you continue using it?

Do some math: Take the number of times you have used your teflon and add it to the number of times you will use your teflon in future and multiply the small amount released each time you cook. Calculate those numbers and you'll find anyone who used teflon to cook is carrying around or will contain within themselves a large amount of these cancer causing chemicals.

All I'm saying is we need to open our eyes, and wake up to the fact we are being sold harmful products just because companies make millions or billions. Then these companies pay off the US government. If anyone says companies don't do that or that companies are not responsible, they are most likely an employee of one of the companies. And if companies aren't responsible for the products they sell, I should be allowed to sell a gun without warning. There is no difference. We all know what a gun does, and we all know what cookware does. That would be like me saying I'm not responsible for my actions because I'm just reacting based on other people actions. Open your eyes to the truth, people! Come on!

By anon290333 — On Sep 08, 2012

My husband just accidentally let water boil on a Pampered Chef nonstick pan - the nonstick surface is DuPont (shame on Pampered Chef. I thought their stuff would be better).

We were just sitting in the living room, when I asked him what was cooking? Then I saw the smoke hovering near the kitchen ceiling lights. When I went into the kitchen to check things out, I realized it was the nonstick pan. So, I freaked out and put it on the deck outside (and tried not to breathe). Then, my husband and I turned on all of the fans and opened all of the windows. For years, he has wanted to buy nonstick pans. But I know his forgetful ways, so I've been putting my foot down. Eventually he convinced me I was nuts and that it would be so nice to have a nonstick pan in the house. So, I bought him one. Now I regret that purchase.

Anyway, here I am with the windows open and I'm sitting in an upstairs room next to an open window as I type, reading scary comments and hoping that I didn't inhale enough of those fumes to cause any poisoning.

By anon289753 — On Sep 05, 2012

For anyone who is interested, I have teflon coated pans but I also have had a minute piece of teflon in my head for 21 years. It was placed there by a neuro surgeon when I had trigeminal neuralgia to separate a blood vessel from an artery which was causing me acute pain. So far, this piece of teflon has never caused me any problems. On the other hand, I have never overheated a teflon pan.

By anon283508 — On Aug 04, 2012

Most of the stories explain how someone was unable to use a product in the proper way and now, instead of simply no longer using it, make everyone else to suffer for their lack of responsibility.

P.S. I have used Teflon very successfully for years and hate to see it go.

By anon251774 — On Mar 02, 2012

I was just wondering if you thought it was safe to add teflon dry lube powder to the gas mixture in my car. I thought it would act as an upper cylinder lubricant. I added some to the 8 quarts of oil my vehicle uses. Actually, this was a dry lube spray that I bought from home depot and it said something about hydrocarbons as the propellant. I don't know, but I was feeling a little sick when I got home. Now, I have a little dizziness and my head feels like it's going to explode. But, it might have to do with the fact that I also took a benadryl, dollar store (rest and relax) bottled drink with two cups of coffee. What should I do, or is it too late?

By anon237706 — On Dec 30, 2011

While Teflon was still 'young' in the 70s, we received a sample of 'mold release spray' for injection molding machines.

Since we had no use for it, I took it home to use as a spray-on lubricant.

Living in Germany then, cigarettes were already costly so I made my own with a machine that used preformed tubes and an injector for the tobacco. The shaped steel press that compressed the tobacco rubbed on the hard plastic case so I sprayed the case with the mold release spray, never considering that it might end up in the tobacco; it did.

Over a period of weeks, I became weaker and had random headaches until finally one day I felt I might faint.

Our plant nurse checked my blood pressure and found systolic and diastolic pressures wide over the normal range and sent me toward home via taxi making it clear I was not to drive.

I stopped at two doctors' offices; the first found my BP very low, the second an hour later very high; it was oscillating in waves.

The third doctor, who was quite young, had studied industrial poisoning and over the weekend, made a list of materials on which he queried me the following Monday.

Teflon was on that list and I immediately connected the spray and my cigarettes; these produce momentary temperatures of up to 1100 degrees F.

A component of Teflon when breaking down from heat bears a relationship to the 'nerve gas' used in war.

It was weeks before my BP had somewhat stabilized and the cardiac arrhythmia I developed didn't subside for 30 years and then only because other cardiac problems required the use of Atenolol for treatment.

Needless to say, we have no Teflon cookware.

By anon234465 — On Dec 12, 2011

I just got to say, it doesn't matter the temp they are saying this stuff has to reach; they really don't know everything. Research is still underway concerning this topic.

Why in the world would anyone want to take the chance on birth defects, cancer, flu, dead animals, and God only knows what else to have these in the home? They make affordable alternatives. Let's start buying those, people!

By anon227185 — On Nov 03, 2011

Wow half of these comments are from people who left their cookware on a hot stove and left it unattended.

Regardless, Teflon is probably not ideal to have on cookware.

By anon225084 — On Oct 25, 2011

Thanks to all of the personal experience associated to cooking, and especially to boiling water. I now firmly believe our Western society has no hope for survival. I am planning to move to the South Pole, or to Mongolia.

By anon220938 — On Oct 10, 2011

Nonstick cookware coated with Teflon is injurious to health. It has a substance called a carcinogen which can initiate cancer in the human body, but there is Ecolon which is also used for non stick coating which is 100 percent natural. Neoflam manufactures cookwares coated with Ecolon.

By anon217896 — On Sep 27, 2011

Please stop posting cynical comments or don't complain when you get cancer.

It is real. I just bought a 'green' cooking pan, thinking it was safer. I only heat to medium heat and it already has a toxic smell, so it is no good. Most new stuff is like this. It's better to use cast iron if you can find it. New man-made toxic products need to be avoided. It is hard to make french toast in a clay pot, so that is a no go, but our government has no oversight and no regulations.

By anon217895 — On Sep 27, 2011

Aside from all the smart aleck comments, I just got a new pan and only cook on medium heat and it has these deadly fumes. There are more dangerous ecoli and salmonella in all mcd's foods as well, but this is unacceptable. Dupont should have been fined a lot more. It is more likely just oversight by our government, which is owned by the corporations. Cancer is here, there and everywhere -- just externalized. What a wonderful democracy to legally sell cancer-causing products and cause birth defects. At least dupont didn't pull a massey coal company and call all citizens of an entire state deformed and retarded from inbreeding in order to avoid liability from coal mining toxins and tailings.

By anon199343 — On Jul 23, 2011

That was really educating! I almost got it done once. Well, it's sure Teflon is more of a pain than the other.

By anon176058 — On May 14, 2011

No one yet has posted what may happen to the lungs of these people who have inhaled the teflon fumes. Does anyone know?

By anon175353 — On May 12, 2011

Heating coated cookware enough to degrade the coating is way past the flash point of most cooking oils, which means you will most probably set fire in your kitchen before having some polymer byproduct fumes in the air.

If Teflon is a danger for you, you should stay away from the kitchen. There is more dangerous stuff lurking in there.

By anon173026 — On May 05, 2011

I put a teflon coated fry pan on the gas stove but forgot. Twn minutes later I noticed the smell and fumes - opened windows and doors then noticed one of my two pet cockatiels was semi conscious on the floor of the cage. Took them outside but one died quickly, the other about five minutes later. I thought it must have been fumes from burning fat/oil but apparently it was the fumes from Teflon being toxic. Kevin S., Canberra Australia

By anon163837 — On Mar 29, 2011

@posts 10, 20, and 21: I'm glad you have never made any mistakes, ever. But the rest of us are humans, and of the tens of thousands of times we use a stove in our lives, we might, just might, make a mistake once. I don't think that means we should be confined to baby food, just as rear-ending somebody once does not mean you should never drive a car again.

As for post 10's couch analogy? Couches aren't designed to be placed over a flame for a prolonged period. If you fall asleep while using a couch, you've made good use of your couch.

Yes, leaving a stove on unattended is a fire hazard. But that's not what these stories are about. This is about the poison hazard, which is an entirely different issue and happens every time a pot is heated with nothing in it, while a fire is rare even under those circumstances.

There is a very real issue that people are trying to discuss, and calling them idiots and telling them to get out of the kitchen is ignorant of a significant danger and entirely off-point.

By ra459 — On Mar 27, 2011

I was in the USAF in the early 60's. The earliest form of teflon was used back then for wire insulation in hi-temp locations. We had an AF directive that came out in '62 that warned of the fumes from burning teflon to be deadly, citing the death of an electronics tech who had laid a cigarette on telon strippings in an ashtray at his workbench.

By anon160803 — On Mar 17, 2011

I just bought a Teflon-coated skillet and was looking for some other information when I came across this post. I have no idea whether Teflon-flu exists. Putting saucepans on stove and letting them boil dry is negligent and the resulting fire could be far worse than the fumes from the burning Teflon.

The other thing is that we eat much more other unhealthy stuff, like too much oil and fat, too much salt, too much sugar and too much junk food. We live in a polluted environment if we live in a large city. Some people drink too much, smoke too much -- the list goes on. I think cooking every now and then in a Teflon-coated saucepan is a small problem compared to all the other stuff that can make us ill or is carcinogenic.

By anon155000 — On Feb 22, 2011

I've been using Teflon for years and never had a problem.

Moneta does both Teflon (which I use) and ceramic pans; all excellent quality.

By anon152586 — On Feb 14, 2011

My name is Toss and I did it too, and as chance has it, I have a parakeet. Although I have trouble with religion, I seriously think that God protected me and my bird. She seems unfazed by what happened and I have no flue symptoms. What I'm dealing with now is the odor.

I've worked so hard only to have my place smell like burnt teflon, vinegar, carpet powder, and febreze. I can't get rid of it and it's extremely depressing. I hear professional Oder removal is very expensive. It's been six days now and even though I'm not at my apartment I can smell myself so it's just constant shame. I'm going to try and be a better person because of this.

By anon150032 — On Feb 06, 2011

Having teflon on your cooking utensils is one thing but how about eating it?

Just look up ptfe dental floss. Yes, your dental floss, as well as many other dental products, are now coming with Teflon.

Another surprising use is fireworks. We all know what happens to teflon frying pans when they get too hot, but how hot does a firework get and how much teflon is in your average firework?

I have written to various dental hygiene companies asking about their products contents and if they contain teflon. The answer from one was to change their website so now you don't know if their floss has teflon, but none have answered.

I think this is a sensitive issue and is best served by letter writing and simply telling people.

By anon148151 — On Jan 31, 2011

to comment 132684 post 21 you had me laughing the whole time. good on you, and you're right.

By anon132684 — On Dec 07, 2010

Honestly, most of you shouldn't be allowed to use fire, let alone enter a kitchen. You nodded off on the couch after you started a pot of water to boil? What the hell were you doing in the living room with an unattended stove operating?

Or you tried to make popcorn in a Teflon pan and set it on fire in under two minutes? Given I've never had a problem with any Teflon coated (electric) popcorn popper I've ever owned, I'd say you managed to start a grease fire that consumed non-stick coating.

I have special ire for the individual who recommends boiling water with baking soda and then tasting it. Of course it tastes like crap, have you ever tasted baking soda? Why don't you taste clean boiled water. And really, boiled water in cast iron tastes bad? Why on earth would you boil water in cast iron. With baking soda? If you had any clue about how to use cast iron, you'd know it's only as good as the seasoning process you've put it through and that it's terrible for liquids.

Cast iron for bacon, cornbread or steaks is fantastic however.

So to reiterate, if you can't be bothered to attend to your cookware while you have a fire operating or can't manage to keep it from otherwise melting. perhaps you should stick to dry cereal or jars of Gerber baby food.

By anon129079 — On Nov 22, 2010

most folks on this list shouldn't be allowed near a stove. When they set their house on fire they will probably look to sue the stove manufacturer for making something that can burn something else.

By anon113625 — On Sep 25, 2010

Is there anyone out there who does know for sure the possible future effects of this stuff? If we know we have inhaled toxic fumes, what can we do about it now to prevent any kind of cancer from occurring?

By anon107078 — On Aug 28, 2010

The problem I have with all of this is in the future. Who knows what kind of damage has been done to our throat and lungs? Will we develop cancer because of these fumes that occurred because we all fell asleep?

By anon94976 — On Jul 11, 2010

anon94612 here.

So, my story is not very frightening.

I have inhaled just a little bit of fumes, just a sniff. And I was in the same apartment in the next room for about two hours after that (having opened windows wide, of course).

I was really afraid of the symptoms other people reported here and took my temperature - it raised just a little bit, to 37C (normal is 36.6 Celsius), which likely was due to placebo effect, so, i suppose, was the slight dizziness (i really wound up myself quite a bit, reading too much stuff online and medical forums).

Then I went jogging for 40 minutes or so (I figured, it would be better if I got more fresh air while my apartment was being ventilated) and felt pretty well after that.

The bottom line is, I didn't get any of the hardcore symptoms which are usually associated with 'teflon fever', not in four hours, not during the next day.

So, if you have not been inhaling the fumes for a really prolonged amount of time, if you were not taking deep breaths of the fumes and were exposed to the fumes for a couple of minutes or so, chances are, you will not get sick. Just take note of what you feel, take your temperature, just in case, go get some fresh air and do not overreact.

And, of course, try not to do stupid things like leaving non-stick cookware heating empty. I put my pan on the heater, and then some things distracted me and I ended up reading some JavaScript-related blog in the next room until I smelled the smoke. If you cook - you cook, do not mess around with heaters. And if you have burned your non-stick pan and the lid is on the pan - do not take it off and sniff it like I did - it's an impulse of habit you've got to resist.

Hope this post helps someone in the same situation as was mine. Here you go, folks: I inhaled a bit of fumes and lived, so there's hope for you. Do not get too frightened.

P.S. I am most certainly not saying that inhaling the stuff is safe. It says online that the fumes contain two military-grade poisonous gases. I think that's a big concern, and DuPont should really come up with a new non-stick polymer which has much higher melting temperatures. This many cases of poisoning has to make them think again about what they are selling.

By anon94612 — On Jul 09, 2010

I overheated my pan. And even purposely smelled the gas, stupid.

Now sitting with a thermometer waiting for the horribleness to kick in.

By anon85944 — On May 23, 2010

I am still recovering from my bout with the so-called Teflon Flu (Its really a toxic poisoning.) I was boiling water, went outside for a few minutes, came back inside the house and deeply inhaled a most awful, gagging smell of chemicals. As if that weren't bad enough, I sniffed around the kitchen even more to find where the smell was coming from. It was coming from the pot that the water was boiling in - it had not boiled dry. I quickly took the pan outside.

About seven hours later, I started to feel burning in my chest that lasted about 5 1/2 hours. That subsided, but my stomach was very sore. A few hours later, I got the most intense headache imaginable, started vomiting, and was really very sick. My husband called my mom, and they debated whether to take me to the Emergency Room.

The vomiting continued for about four hours, and the headache lasted three days. During this time I was extremely exhausted. This exhaustion, the scatter-brained or floaty head feeling, and sensitive stomach continued.

I finally went to see the doctor (two days ago), told him what happened with the pan, and he confirmed that I indeed was suffering from the toxic effects of this Teflon pan. I am now undergoing treatment to get rid of these toxic substances from my body.

Why is it okay for these things to be sold? For us to buy and expose ourselves and our families to? These reports aren't new. According to my doctor, there have been reports as early as 1975.

Tell you family and friends, for their own sakes, to throw away their non-stick pans.

By anon85080 — On May 18, 2010

Last night, I fell accidentally fell asleep at 10 p.m. and woke up at 4 a.m. to an extremely hot living room/kitchen and a red hot burner with a scorched non-stick tefal pan. It appears I nodded off on the couch waiting for water to boil.

I am horrified. I must have slept for almost six hours, breathing the toxic fumes for six whole hours.

I quickly turned off the burner and opened the balcony door to ventilate. I stayed outside for a good hour just getting fresh air. My apartment smells like burnt chemicals and plastic. The smell is in everything fabric. When I took a shower I could smell it all over my skin.

I appear to have developed the polymer fume flu - headache, an unproductive cough which developed about eight hours after I woke up and opened up the door to ventilate.

I keep having hot flashes mixed sweats and mini-fevers. My eyes are burning and I have bad sinus pain and a headache. I have lower back pain in my kidney area under my ribs. I feel nauseous, and I can taste the chemical smell in the mucus drainage from my sinuses. My heart is racing, probably from the exposure and from the anxiety of reading all the horrible things about Teflon and its breakdown products when superheated.

I immediately phoned our local poison control, who said to make an appointment to see my physician, but that I would probably be OK. Apparently this happens a lot to seniors and old folks.

When I saw my physician he said I have inhalation exposure and that the amount of teflon coating on the pan was very small and I was lucky that I didn't start a fire.

I have two small cats who appear to be unaffected. My doctor said that it is a good sign that the cats are OK, but if they died or got sick, then I should get myself to a hospital asap.

I have thrown out my non-stick tefal pans and will only ever cook with stainless steel and always use an egg timer when using the stovetop!

By anon80654 — On Apr 28, 2010

The answer to the number three person anon38200. you have what they call teflon flu. It will give you flu like symptoms. It is very hazardous to your health.

By anon80653 — On Apr 28, 2010

Teflon is the most nastiest tasting stuff I have ever tasted other than cast iron. Put some water into your pans at home and some baking soda and boil it and then taste it. That is what you are eating when you cook out of it. Believe me you will think god that is nasty. I hope that everyone who reads this will consider a new kind of cook ware. There is a better cookware out there if you want it.

By anon77723 — On Apr 15, 2010

If you want the absolute best cookware, look up Royal prestige.

By anon74579 — On Apr 02, 2010

Come on people, you leave a pan on the stove for too long and yes, it will release toxins. You know what? If you set your couch on fire, that's not very good for you either! Not hearing anyone calling for a ban on furniture.

By anon69806 — On Mar 10, 2010

I am 70 years old and decided that is was important to clean my home of any products that would harm my husband and myself. I threw out all my Teflon and started looking for ceramic products.

After trying many products I found one in Italy put out by Moneta. It is ceramic and absolutely safe. Thank you for keeping us posted and up to date on all information.

By anon63379 — On Feb 01, 2010

Last Saturday, I was making popcorn on the stove. I turned the burner on med-high to heat the oil. Left the room for approx 1-2 minutes, only to return and have the pan on fire, and smoke totally engulfing my home. The chemical smell was unbelievable. My eyes burned and I could not see.

Gasping for air, I called my husband and we threw the pan outside in the snowbank. Once it cooled, I checked the pan and the teflon is what was burning! Totally melted away inside the pan!

We had to leave our home, with windows open in the dead of an Upper Michigan winter. Thank God my children were not home at the time.

Within an hour, had an horrible headache and were very tired. Dupont, you need to be ashamed putting a product like this on the market, when you are fully aware of the hazards. Pans are made to be used on the stove and heated to high temps to cook food. What the heck are you thinking? Very glad I was able to find this info online. Dupont will be getting a love letter.

By anon59402 — On Jan 08, 2010

I am greatly dismayed and definitely scared after reading the previous comments. I just had the accident of leaving a pot of water boil dry. And from the strong chemical smell, decided to research it and here I am. I am getting new pots immediately and will never again use teflon. Uggh. Who needs the grief? Stupid money makers and their lack of morals.

By anon58635 — On Jan 03, 2010

I worked in a factory. I sprayed Teflon for 2 1/2 years.

I and everyone in my dept. got sick every day for about two to three hours after work. After I left that job I started having shortness of breath problems. It got worse every year. I do not smoke. Now I take medication three times a day for COPD. I think it was the Teflon, but I cannot prove it.

By anon56215 — On Dec 13, 2009

I had a neighbor who was in the middle of a law suit with dupont because of lung damage and cancer. She had let her pan boil dry and became very ill from the teflon fumes.

She lived for five years after this happened and never did get to settle in court.

I wonder if teflon is causing so many of our young people to have add, adhd, ocd and other learning problems. I know more kids on meds now than ever before. Something is causing it.

By anon47143 — On Oct 02, 2009

I remember several years ago DuPont had agreed to to phase out Teflon cookware. But the Bush administration must have let them get out of it or extend the already generous time frame to sell it down. Now it's extended to 2012? DuPont has a gazillion bucks; I think they can afford to get out of the cookware business if they can't find a safe alternative non-stick coating.

By anon38200 — On Jul 24, 2009

I'm pretty sure I left my pan unattended for over 3 hours, this past Wednesday morning in my one-bedroom apartment.

It's now Friday and I'm still having chest pains. And I coughed up some phlegm with blood this morning. I really don't want to go to the doctor, being that they said in the article that the symptoms will go away. But it almost feels like bronchitis. Anyone else have any input?

By anon35744 — On Jul 07, 2009

how about the smoke caused by an unattended teflon pot that SOMEONE forgot and was left burning on the stove for 3 hours??? I am concerned for my dogs and cats!

By anon33470 — On Jun 06, 2009

Thanks to this article. I now know why I became very sick, and why my 9 year old Cenegal parrot, Rico, died. I came home from work just the other night, hungry and tired. I decided to put on a pot of water to make some pasta. I sat on the couch and within 2 minutes I nodded off. I woke up an hour or so later to a horrible stench lingering through the house. I ran to the kitchen to find the pot, which was a teflon coated product, empty and sizzling on the hot stove. I retreated the pot to the back burner and opened the windows. Devastated by the chance that I could have burned my house down, I decided just to go to bed. Before heading to the bedroom, I noticed Rico laying on the bottom of his cage, dead. I was very disappointed at myself since I had a slight feeling that what I had done may have contributed to his death. Saddened, I went to bed around 1 am. 6:30 am, I awoke to an extremely nauseating feeling in my stomach. I went to the bathroom where I was forced to vomit. My head ached miserably, and I was very short of breath. Attempting to get a couple of more hours of sleep, I headed back to bed. Thirty minutes later, I started shivering. Then sweating. My heart was beating rapidly. I felt extremely ill.

Finally, I was up for the day, felt like I had gotten the flu. I refrained from going to work. I knew that somehow what occurred the night before was causing me to feel this way.

After research on the internet, my curiosity was over. Apparently teflon is harmful both in humans and sadly, our pets. Fortunately, the "teflon flu" symptoms only lasted 24 hours. But I assure you, I will be discarding all my teflon products and replacing them with new ones. Thank you for the information.

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