Greetings from Yahoo this morning spread warnings about poison popcorn. Unfortunately, they are striking out at the food industry again. Not that it isn’t warranted. I do hope that the industry isn’t setting out to poison all of us. I choose to believe they use a product and aren’t aware of any danger. Perish the thought that they know PFC’s may cause illness and use them anyway.
PFC’s are used in a variety of ways. The Yahoo article is talking specifically about the use of this chemical in the lining of the bags for microwave popcorn. While we see them used in a variety of grease resistant packaging — pizza boxes, and other fast food containers — they have also been in our environment in other forms. Paint, fire-fighting foams, cleaners, roof treatments, and stain and water barriers applied to products. So why the concern? According to the resource of Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families we should be concerned because of the possible risk of cancer. This is based on the results with laboratory animals. Before you begin to strip your home of its shingles and rip up your stain resistant carpet, look at this next report from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
I assume I was right in my assessment of what the industry knew initially regarding this chemical. They find something that works and then use it. No testing long-term because they discover it and use it. Now they are aware (some of them painfully with law suits pending) and with the enforcement and guidance
of the government they’re trying to change this. The National Toxicology Program has been working since 2000 at eliminating and understanding the health effects of exposure to PFCs. So, is it banned? Is it against the law to use it? No. Not in the United States. I assume the difference of opinion about the danger is what keeps the wheels of “banning” from moving.
The Star-Tribune reported in mid-February that a study of PFC monitoring study participants in Cottage Grove, Oakdale and Lake Elmo (Minnesota where PFCs were dumped) since 2008 will be ending soon. This was evidently against the recommendation of the officials. As they have found the levels of PFCs have declined in the participants in those areas, there are still concerns about the long-term health issues.
“The effects of PFCs on people are a matter of intense debate. . .”
I know this is beginning to feel like a tennis match as we flip from one side to the other of this issue, but that’s the problem we face with science. It can be slanted. Those who seek adverse reactions find them. Those like 3M who have a legal (financial) stake in it don’t see a problem. There is a huge difference of opinion. Period. I believe there is enough evidence to say I want to be as aware of my environment as I can. Read your labels and look for any of the following chemicals:
• Perfluorinated alkyl acids
• Polyfluorinated chemicals
• Polyfluorinated compounds
• Polyfluoroalkyl substances
Then consider carefully if you want to purchase what you hold in your hand. I vote for popcorn the old-fashioned way! In a pot…shaken over the stove or hot air (I can find nothing that indicates there is an issue of PFC exposure from the hot air poppers.