Submitted questions will be posted with my response by the following Tuesday or before.
Submitted comments will be moderated and approved within 24 hours.
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.
Question from Shana
I’m looking for bedroom furniture for my son’s room, as well as the master bedroom. I’d like to find non-toxic furniture that’s traditional, rather than contemporary. The more I look, the more confused I get! There are many Amish manufacturers that use solid wood furniture, but the stains are low VOC. I know that no VOC is preferable, but is low VOC ok? Most of the Amish companies use either Ohio Certified Stain or a catalyzed conversion varnish. Are either of these ok?
Question from Miriam
Question from Rick
We hired a painter to redo our master bedroom with BM low VOC paint and after 5 weeks it still smells. We’ve tried a number of things to clear it, but nothing works. I recently read that heating the room to 85-90 as a Bakeout for a couple days might remove the smell. Is that a real way to get rid of the smell? We cannot move back into our bedroom and winter is coming, so airing it out everyday is no longer an option.
Question from Linda
I live in San Francisco and am putting in about 50, 3″ x 10″ x 24 feet beams to cantilever a deck under our house. Its treated with ACQ-A and I’m wondering if the pesticides will off gas into our home, through the floorboards.
They will reach under our living room floor (between a basement room and the upstairs living room about 18 feet. The deck will stick outside about six feet.
Question from Kathleen
Any recommendations or warnings about OTC and custom-made (by dentist) bite guards? I know to avoid phthalates (hence methyl acrylate), formalhehyde, and BPA. No one seems to even report BPB. And I’m guessing there’s a bunch of other yucky chemicals in these things.
The dentist-made guard looks like a combination of silicone or soft plastic on the inside and hard plastic on the outside. My dentist practices biologic dentistry, but doesn’t know what’s in the bite guards she makes. Said she’d try to get that info for me. Meanwhile, she gave me a sample. Holding it in my mouth for a couple hours gave me me an odd taste in my mouth; not sure what else it’s doing. Ugh….
Question from Stacy
1) Does PET plastic containers offgas? I have the plastic in my car and can get hot.
2) What do you think of the Wetbrush materials? It says nylon66 (which is fine) but what about the epoxy tips?
Question from Donna
New air purifier called Molekule. Sounds intriguing. Esp as it states it kills VOC’s also on top of all else, more powerful than HEPA. Thoughts?
We just ordered 5 bamboo charcoal bags you recommended.
Question from James
My house uses city water i cant afford the pure effect whole home filter at the moment but i was wondering is their another way i can wash my clothes safely without worrying about any vocs,chemcicals getting in my clothes especially the organic cotton ones.Also is this something i should be concerned about or am i overreacting?