Trouble in frying pan

Published: Friday 31 August 2001

Over heating oil in a frying pan may have more serious consequences than just a spoilt meal, suggests research conducted in Canada on chemicals used in non-stick frying pans. Heat breaks down some of the compounds used to persistent and potentially toxic chemicals whose long-term environmental effects are unknown, say studies. Scott Mabury, researcher at the University of Toronto, points the accusing finger at 'fluoropolymers', like Teflon and its chemical cousins. They are the likely source of toxic chemicals such as trifluoracetic acid (TFA), which lingers long in the environment. At high temperatures these compounds give off TFA, the research confirms ( Nature, Vol 412, p321).

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