Background Information • Teflon is a synthetic fluoropolymer of tetrafluoroethylene • It is the non-stick coating on your frying pans • It is used as lubricants in machinery • Powdered Teflon is used as an oxidizer in pyrotechnics • Teflon in put in sportswear to reduce friction-induced blisters
History Polytetrafluoroethylene was accidentally discovered in 1983 by Roy Plunkett. Roy was attempting to make a new chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant for Kinetic Chemicals during the process, there was a weight problem and upon investigation, he found a white, waxy material which was quite slippery. Further analysis showed that it was polymerized perfluoroethylene. This new material was patented by Kinetic Chemicals in 1941 and the Teflon trademark was registered in 1945.
Risks • Over-heated pans can release fumes which will cause flu-like symptoms for a little while. • Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA (a by-product of Teflon) has shown the potential to develop tumors in animal studies. • Human studies with PFOA have shown slightly similar results with tumors, but much less so. • This in NO WAY means that you will grow a tumor from frying your eggs on a Teflon pan.
Benefits The benefits of Polytetrafluoroethylene lie in the many products that it can be made with. There aren't any medical or health other than lubricant in tools.
Alternate Solutions Not enough is known about the effects of Teflon and PFOA due to them being minimal. We don’t really have an alternate action or material.
Sources • princeton.edu • cancer.org