Misleading PFAS claims found in frying pans
A recent study in Denmark has found that a number of frying pans have what could be misleading labelling regarding their chemical contaminants.
In the study The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals checked the Danish market for frying pans that claimed that they were ‘PFOA or PFOS Free’. They found frying pans sold by eight different companies that carried this ‘environmentally friendly’ sounding declaration.
PFOA and PFOS are members of the PFAS chemical family. They are very persistent in the environment and have been linked to several health issues.
However, according to the companies, these pans all contain another PFAS, PTFE (commonly known as Teflon). PTFE is a type of polymer PFAS, and in itself is not thought to present significant toxicity of concern. However, there are concerns that if your non-stick pans become overheated or chipped during cooking, these polymers can release more harmful PFAS impurities.
Harmful PFAS are also used in the production of PTFE and can leak into the environment at this stage.
The Danish Consumer Council suggests the signage could be misleading. Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager at the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals said “Our experience is that the consumers are misled and believe that the products are without all PFAS – which is not necessarily true. It is essential that the misleading advertising using PFOA and PFOS free is stopped immediately”
In addition, PFOA and PFOS are already banned globally under the Stockholm Convention. Therefore, it is illegal to market them as being free of these banned substances within Denmark
The Consumer Council has reported the frying pans to the consumer ombudsman for illegal and misleading claims. They also contacted the companies regarding their claims, receiving a range of replies. Read the companies’ full replies in the report.
Investigations like these show that ‘greenwashing’ is still a tactic employed by many companies.
CHEM Trust and partners have recently launched their ‘Ban PFAS manifesto’ which urges the European Commission and EU Member States to ban all PFAS in consumer products by 2025 and across all uses by 2030.