The Travels of the Teflon Toxin: PFC Contamination Makes It's Way Around the World

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8), known as the Teflon toxin given its role as a water contaminant in numerous American cities, is the essential component of the nonstick pan's claim to fame. PFOA and other perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been linked to numerous health conditions and are very persistent in the environment. Originating in nearby factories, local workers and residents have been found to have high levels of PFOA and PFOS in their blood. These chemicals have also been detected worldwide, in countries such as Greenland, Vietnam, England, Japan, and South Africa.

Despite the fact that the international community is moving towards banning PFCs, with PFOS being listed as a persistent organic pollutant to be phased out under the Stockholm Convention, China stands out as country with one of the worst problems. Although at least 56 companies produce PFCs, measured levels in the environment and in human blood in China have been off the charts. For example, levels of PFCs in the Xraoqing River were over 6,000 times higher than a contaminated river in Holland. Additionally, PFOS in the blood of one fishery worker at the Tangxun Lake in China's Wuhan region tested at 31,400 ppb, the highest ever measured.

[Source: The Intercept]