“Are you wearing Teflon on your face?” my friend Stephen asked, as he watched me smear cream from cheek to cheek.

“Teflon?” Anna replied wide-eyed. “On my face? Aren’t eggs fried on Teflon? The no stick, easy flip, fry pan? My Grandma loved her Teflon fry pan. I don’t wear Teflon on my face. Why would anyone wear Teflon on the face?”  

“I don’t believe people are aware that they are actually wearing Teflon.” said Stephen. It’s called PTFE. People just like the texture and feel of the cream or lotion or shampoo or sunscreen or makeup. It is part of a group of chemicals called PFAS’s, a whole group of questionable chemicals. Teflon has been added to make clothing waterproof, stain resistant. So why not add it to make-up?

“ Like in no -run mascara? Or waterproof foundation? “ Anna surmised.

“Yes. And people seem to like the results. But there is concern about its safety. Teflon is linked to some serious health effects including cancer and thyroid disease. There is also concern that they build up in the body and do not break down in the environment.” 

“I bet the jury is still out on that one. Maybe it  all depends on who is doing the testing, no? “

“Exactly. EWG ( Environmental Working Group) says Teflon can pose a danger. The FDA Personal Care Product council says differently. However, I recently heard that the Environment and Climate Change Canada has put out a warning to Cosmetic companies, citing certain PFAS are deemed toxic and are now illegal. It mentioned the PBAS found in foundations, liquid lipsticks, waterproof mascara. 

“Finally.” Anna  said.

“Let’s err on the side of caution and make sure we read our labels carefully. Teflon can be on a label in under different names, of course.  Here, I wrote them down.”  Stephen handed Anna a piece of paper.

Anna read. 'Teflon, Perfluoroalkylethyl Phosphate, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, DEA-C8-18’.

Maybe the laws should demand the word Teflon on a label, even in brackets, so the consumer does not have to a chemist or have a photographic memory. In any case,  I do not relish the idea of Teflon on my skin.  I’ll keep it in the fry pan. But maybe we should be questioning that too? ”