A global agency has warned that non-stick cookware pose as a threat to health and environment as they are produced using a carcinogenic chemical which emits toxic fumes. Environmental and Social Development Organisation (ESDO) found in a recent study that while cooking with a non-stick pot, the cook inhales toxic fumes every time.he/she cooks.
ESDO disclosed the findings through a report titled, “Uses of Non-stick Utensils and Associated Health and Environmental Impacts”.
Syed Marghub Murshed, chairperson of ESDO, launched the study report at a press briefing at its head office at Lalmatia in the capital on Thursday.
“Non-Stick cookware is the name of one of the technologies which make our daily life comfortable and easy. But it can act as a threat to our health and environment,” said Syed Marghub Murshed.
According to the study, non-stick surface is coated with Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commercially known as Teflon. When the cookware is heated it releases Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOAs). PFOA has been labelled by the U S Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogenic.
In response to a question, Abu Jafar Mahmood superannuated professor of the Department of Chemistry at Dhaka University said,” It is responsible for severe illness such as cancer, hormonal imbalance, birth defect in new babies, polymer fume fever in human and can kill birds.”
“The toxic element is also released during manufacturing process and poses as a risk to workers, especially female workers, as female organs are vulnerable to this toxic element. It can be exposed to their body and cause harm to the babies through infecting the fetus,” he said.
In Bangladesh, housewives, children and pet animals are becoming the greatest victim of the poisonous gas release from it because of increased use of non-stick cookware.
According to the survey, women of all ages are getting affected by this pollution in the capital city.
Among 450 women, about 421 suffer from the problem of kidney and asthma. Among 378 women, about 25 to 35 women suffer from pregnancy-related problem.
Among children, about 310 of them suffer from kidney and asthma-related problems. In case of households, (who keep pet animals), according to the survey result, about 211 pet animals died within six months.
In a pursuit to make non-stick coating manufacturing safer, industry officials of developed countries have made pledges to limit the use of PFOA and eventually phase it out of all production methods.
But, there is no initiative on this issue in Bangladesh. Ceramics and stainless steel are considered non-reactive and can be used as alternative to non-stick cookware.
Syed Marghub Murshed said toxic pollutant in non-stick cooking utensils is a new phenomenon in Bangladesh but it can act as a serious health and environmental threat.
“We need to address the issue with high priority to protect our ecosystem, wildlife and human health,” he said.
ESDO secretary general and ecosystem expert Dr Shahriar Hossain and executive director Siddika Sultana was also spoke on the occasion.