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Teflon-coated pans barred from shelves
Updated: 2004-07-16 01:28

Following the US government's allegations against chemical giant DuPont, Chinese non-stick cookware producers may see a drop in sales, with customers worrying that Teflon-coated pans may potentially pose health risks.

Beijing SOGO, a large department store, has removed non-stick pans that use DuPont's Teflon coating from shelves after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused DuPont of failing to report potential risks from the synthetic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid used to make Teflon, known as PFOA or C8.

The acid may cause cancer, it says.

Some department stores in southwestern China's Chengdu City and southern China's Guangzhou city have also started removing the cookware from shelves.

Aishida, one of the biggest cookware producers in the country, said it had received many calls from customers concerned about its stick-resistant cooking utensils. Some even asked to cancel their orders.

Chen Yun, Aishida's general manager, said PFOA was used in the process of making Teflon, but the finished product did not contain any. The chemical was vaporized during manufacturing.

China's State Administration of Quality Supervision and Quarantine announced on Wednesday that experts had been organized to test whether the Teflon coating was harmful to human health and the result was expected to be released in September.

They said strict measures would be taken to remove all Teflon- coated cookware from shelves and stop imports of Teflon coating if they were proved to pose health hazards.

Shi Senglan, secretary general of the China Hardware Association, urged local non-sticking cookware businesses to keep in close contact with the US DuPont for any follow-up.

At present, China produces 80 to 100 million Teflon-coated, non- sticking cooking pans per year. Aishida alone earns about 400 million yuan (US$48.3 million) a year, but more than 60 to 70 per cent of their products are sold overseas.

Sources from DuPont's China branch said that its Teflon products posed no health risks to humans and the environment. The company said it would file a formal denial within 30 days to the allegations issued by the EPA.

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