Last week I wrote about PTFE as an ingredient in the seal at the bottom of Vitamix containers. I want to reframe this discussion because this is not an issue about one brand. I have researched further and found that other blenders, high-speed, professional-grade blenders in particular, also contain PTFE. And some that do not use it will not disclose what they use in its place to keep the containers water-tight.
I also want to make sure it’s understood that there is no regulation that prohibits PTFE use in consumer products including those that come in contact with food. Manufacturers are free to use it. It is a matter of choice whether consumers WANT it in their products.
What is PTFE and is it Safe?
PTFE is one of 3000 poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in consumer products. PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they are persistent in the environment and in our bodies. Most people looking to avoid toxins choose not to use non-stick pots and pans because the PTFE-containing coating, when heated, can release fumes that coat the lungs and can cause fluoropolymer fever, also known as Teflon flu. PFOA, another PFAS chemical, used to be used to manufacture PTFE and was sometimes found as a contaminant in products made with the chemical. PFOA is considered a toxic substance by the EPA and has been linked to adverse effects including cancer, birth defects and liver damage. Fortunately, most reputable companies no longer manufacture PTFE using PFOA.
So, is PTFE harmful even when it is not heated and when it is not contaminated with PFOA?
Some health experts contend that the chemical is safe because it is inert and will pass through the body without harm. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PTFE is considered a moderate health concern because it hasn’t been studied and there is no evidence that the PFAS chemicals that have replaced PFOAs are much safer. There is no direct evidence that PTFE coming in contact with food is harmful, but there is also no conclusive evidence that it is free of harm.
Which Blenders Contain PTFE?
The following blenders use PTFE in the seal at the bottom of the container:
The following blenders do NOT contain PTFE:
- KitchenAid: There is no PTFE in any KitchenAid product.
Are Blenders with PTFE Safe to Use?
It is important to understand whether or not the PTFE migrates into the food and unfortunately, I can’t answer that. All other things being equal, I personally would choose a blender without the chemical as a precautionary measure. However, I don’t plan to stop using my Vitamix because of the health benefits from the smoothies I use it to make. I do hope that companies, particularly those that sell the promise of better health, will look beyond regulatory compliance and seek materials that are proven to be safe for consumers.