TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: I will not support brands which encourage chemical pollution in their production and in my home.
Day 59 / 365
[PART 1] UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
It was only last month that my fellow Ethical Writer's Coalition homie, Elizabeth Stilwell from The Notepasser, alerted me and the rest of her loyal followers to the deplorable story behind chemical company, DuPont.
The information came from a The New York Times Magazine article about environmental lawyer Robert Bilott's 16 year long battle with DuPont, during which he had exposed decades of chemical pollution to the environment and human health.
And it turns out DuPont knew about it. In Elizabeth's article she shares what Mr. Bilott's tireless efforts uncovered: "DuPonthas been conducting internal studies and connecting the chemical to health defects in animals and people for over four decades. Never revealing their findings or removing the chemical from their products, DuPont even began dumping waste water tainted with PFOA into the Ohio River on the edge of theirParkersburg, WV facility. People have been drinking this contaminated water and using Teflon products for decades without knowing about the health effects DuPont discovered."
|[Food52] STAUB french oven stovetop cooker|
[PART 2] WHY IT MAKES YOU SICK
PFOA causes cancerous testicular, pancreatic and liver tumours in lab animals and this has been linked to human harms as well. To top it off, breathing fumes from Teflon can cause something called "Teflon Flu" which the longterm effects of which are largely unknown.
DuPont has been knowingly poisoning you, your family and any wildlife coming in contact with their water or yours, without an inkling of guilt.
Profit over people once again.
Interestingly, while I was researching this article I noticed that all the cancer care websites claim "Teflon itself is not suspected of causing cancer." This is interesting, but also misleading.
Just to be clear, 'Teflon' is the brand name (owned by DuPont) for a plastic product called Polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE. PFOA (mentioned above) or Perfluorooctanoic Acid, is another chemical which is used in the process of making PTFE. So though they're not the same, but 'Teflon' was using PFOA to create their PTFE which is a synonymous with their name brand (and which was running into the waterways harming humans and wildlife).
|[Food52] STAUB cast iron mini round cocotte|
Now PFOA is now considered pollutant and a toxic substance (likely because of the hard work of the lawyer above) and it is no longer used in Teflon. So when you see something that is advertised as 'PFOA free' but it is still non-stick or labelled 'Teflon', it means they created their PTFE with another chemical. And PTFE is allegedly safe if you don't heat it up. And we don't want to eat heated up chemicals which are made up of plastics.
The reason the Cancer societies have to say that "Teflon doesn't cause cancer" is because there are libel and slander laws which protect brand names, like Teflon, from having their 'good name' injured in 'harmful statements'.
[PART 3] SO WHAT TO DO?
For this reason, environmental reasons (evil chemically filled plastic coated products don't biodegrade!), and reasons of economic intelligence, it is silly not to consider chemical free alternatives and vote against Dupont, and other companies like theirs with your dollar. Boycotting their products and other products from companies who value money over transparency.
Removing your Teflon cookware immediately wouldn't be a bad idea either.
|[Food52] STAUB cast iron biscuit pan|
[PART 4] GETTING RID OF THE TEFLON YOU'VE GOT
If you have a Teflon (and therefore a DuPont product) and you live in the United States you can look up on Earth911 for how to get rid of it responsibly in your local area. Otherwise, look at the name of the manufacturer and send it back to them with no return address (as Elizabeth suggests). Some cities will recycle your old Teflon pan but be sure to check with the city before you dump it on the street.
[PART 3] REPLACING WITH BRANDS THAT WON'T TRY TO KILL YA
I'm going to focus on cast iron pots and pans for your sustainable switch because, as Kent Rollins ,author of A Taste of Cowboy puts it, "a good cast iron, if taken care of properly, will outlive us all."
And this is the the idea overall friends, buy things that are made to last so you can pass it down to your kids. Sounds like a terrible business plan but it is the kind of plan we all need to get behind.
Replacing your cookwear will be expensive at the get go, but once you've done it, and done it right, you're sorted for life. You can usually hunt down cast iron cookwear at garage sales, second hand stores and on ebay. Or you can purchase new.
Cast iron can be re melted and reused, and recycling cast iron saves enough energy to power 18 million homes per year, saves 1,400 pounds of coal, 120 pounds of limestone and 2,500 pounds of iron ore, so even once you and your children have used and abused it, it can have a new lease of life.
- LODGE -
This is only brand I could find that uses recycled cast iron. Lodge, which has been in business since the late 1800s are one of the oldest manufacturer of cast iron cookware still in business in the United States. They make their products with a mixture of pig iron, recycled cast iron and recycled scrap steel which are melted into a single product and have a pretty impressive Green Policy. It is much more affordable than the following because it is not enameled. Can be used on all cooking surfaces, including grills and campfires.
- STAUB -
French brand, Staub, is among some of the prettiest and will last a lifetime, if not several. It comes in a number of colours and is celebrated throughout the food industry for its high quality creations. It combines traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology and they are considered by many to be the original creators of the non-stick pans. All of their cookware is Cadmium Free, Lead Free, PFOA Free and PTFE Free. Their products are 100% recyclable and even save energy saving because their products retain heat so well. You can use their products on all cooking surfaces, including grills and campfires.
- LE CREUSET -
Since 1925, Le Cruset has manufactured cast iron cookware for the past 8- years in the same site in France. Like Staub, their collection comes in multiple colours and is well respected in the food industry, and like Staub, their durable products will last multiple lifetimes. Their products are 100% recyclable and even save energy saving because their products retain heat so well. You can use their products on all cooking surfaces, including grills and campfires.