3M Knew Your Non-Stick Pan Was Poisoning You in the ’70s
The Intercept has obtained evidence that chemical conglomerate 3M knew about the health dangers of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) since the 1970s. These components were in thousands of everyday products, from water-repelling clothes to Teflon-coated non-stick pans, and they accumulate in your blood causing cancer,damaging your immune system, injuring your liver, spleen, bone marrow, and increasing cholesterol and triglycerides levels putting you at risk of heart attacks. Fun stuff.
These fluorochemicals were the basis for the company’s success, going from a small business called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company to a $120 billion conglomerate. The company used the discoveries from the Manhattan Project–which used fluorine to distill the uranium for the first atom bomb that dropped over Hiroshima–to develop a magic fluorocarbon fluid called PFOA. Dupont used PFOA to create Teflon, a coating used by hundreds of companies to manufacture miraculous–and toxic–non-stick cookware.
Did the company stop selling it then? No. 3M kept selling the compound to Dupont and other companies even after Rich Purdy, one of its environmental scientists, found out that the toxic component waseverywhere in the food chain, from fish to humans.
He voiced the alarm again inside the company, asking it to run more tests to see how far the poisoning went. But 3M management and the legal team ignored him: “I’m not sure there is a need to support or refute the hypothesis within any particular time frame,” a 3M attorney named Thomas DiPasqualewroteto his colleagues in the company’s corporate division in a 1999 email. As a result of these findings, the state of Minnesota sued 3M in 2005 and 2010.