You put what in my clothes? The low down of teflon in clothing

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Chloe Adam


So you’ve become aware of everyday toxins in your environment , you’ve thrown all your non stick teflon pans out the window and think life is pretty good without teflon in it. Then buy some new yoga or perhaps a new school uniform for your children and there it is, you see the tag “Teflon added for crease and stain resistance” you find your old friend Teflon surprisingly emerging into your life again. 
Teflon is the trademarked name for a group of man made chemicals, the most common being Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), known as member of PFAS chemical family. PFAS chemicals have been linked to a whole host of endless health conditions such as thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, testicular and kidney cancer, obesity, hormone dysregulation  and/or obesity. Not to mention the fact that the off gasses from teflon products have been found to kill birds. It also has serious impacts on the environment. PFAS chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning that they don’t break down easily and can accumulate over time. Animal studies have shown PFAS to cause tumours in animal studies. Heck, these chemicals have even been found in Polar bears. 

Dupont one of the largest manufactures of PFAS type chemicals (main chemical found in teflon) knew the dangers of these chemicals for over 20 years after even testing their own factory workers. Autoimmune conditions, abnormalities, birth defects and a whole variety of different health ailments where seen amongst their staff. Then legendary Dupont “surprisingly” did what many other billion dollar companies have done – they covered up and hide all of the evidence. Then when they couldn’t hide the evidence no longer they were forced to pay millions of dollars in damage and forced to get teflon out of their non stick pans by 2015 (however what they replaced it with is still not classified as “safe”). So what was poor old Dupont to do when they couldn’t make their teflon coated pans anymore? The found a new revenue stream – getting in our kids clothes. Yes this toxic teflon was found to have another great use – being stain and crease resistant in our clothes. I guess their thinking was is that if we are not cooking with it and not physically eating teflon, it should be safe to use in our clothes right? wrong

The chemicals from teflon clothing offgass (even when not heated) and can be absorbed directly through the skin. Washing and hanging these clothes out in the sun will help (however now it ends up in our waters) and slowly makes the clothing less toxic. Our skin is our largest organ and we absorb chemicals through sweating and frictionData shows that chemicals can migrate from our clothing into our bodies – we learnt this with flame retardants in children’s pyjamas. Increased levels flame retardants were found in children’s urine after wearing these chemical laced pyjamas. Animal studies found flame this particular type of flame retardant t cause cancer and sterility in animals. 
So know you know the nitty gritty of teflon in clothes, what clothing can contain teflon and how do I know if its in your clothing? 

What clothing can contain teflon

Swimwear School uniforms Sports wear (yep likely your yoga pants)Waterproof clothes (raincoats etc) Shoes (nike, puma and Adidas have been found to contain PFA chemicals) 

Labels that contain the words “Gore-To”, “Teflon”, “Statinmaster” or “Scotchgard” may signal the presence of PFAS in these moisture wicking clothes. Avoid those at all costs. Stick to natural materials like cotton when purchasing clothes. 

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