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News2008July › Fetal Growth: Pressure grows to ban the 'Teflon acid' › July 2008

Fetal Growth: Pressure grows to ban the 'Teflon acid'

An industrial acid that's found in Teflon, in surface cleaners and food packaging can slow fetal growth, researchers have discovered this week

An industrial acid that's found in Teflon, in surface cleaners and food packaging can slow fetal growth, researchers have discovered this week. It may also cause cancer.

The pollutant, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), has been used in so many everyday applications that it's now in the blood of virtually every person living in the West.

Researchers at the University of California have this week confirmed that it slows fetal growth, and women who have high levels of PFOA in their blood are more likely to give birth to smaller babies.

They assessed the PFOA levels in 1,400 pregnant women in Denmark, and found a direct link between that and fetal development and birth weight.

This is yet more bad news for DuPont, the industrial giant that manufactures PFOA. It took over manufacture after 3M bowed to environmental pressures and stopped production of the acid in 2000. America's Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to get PFOA listed as a recognised carcinogen.

PFOA is found in Teflon, household surface cleaners, food packaging, stain-resistant clothing, and products such as Gore-Tex and Stainmaster.

(Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, 2008; 168: 66-72).


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