Since the outcry of Teflon’s link (a chemical used to make a non-stick pan) to cancer, people have a dreadful terror of using a non-stick pan. Due to the large hue and cry, a lawsuit against DuPont company, the most famous brand T-Fal, producing non-stick pans, came under much scrutiny.
But there is a lot of misunderstanding and wrong conception due to confusion about Teflon and the brand Tefal.
To clear all the mysterious confusion regarding this, let’s start with very basic things.
T-Fal has been a famous brand of non-stick cookware since 1956. In fact, it’s the first brand that utilized the chemical Teflon to make the slickest cooking surface that doesn’t stick food on it.
So, the question,
- Does T-Fal have Teflon in it?
- Are T-Fal And Tefal the Same Thing?
Does T-Fal have Teflon in it?
Yes, T-Fal has Teflon in its non-stick pans. In fact, the name Tefal is the combination of “Teflon” and “Aluminum.” Aluminum is the metal that constitutes the base of the non-stick pans.
Now, you might be aware or noticing that I am interchanging “Tefal” and “T-Fal.”
Those who are unaware might be thinking,
Are T-Fal And Tefal the Same Thing?
Yes, T-Fal and Tefal are both the same; the Tefal company originated in France, but its products are marketed as T-Fal in North America. According to Wikipedia, “Tefal name alteration is due to the DuPont Company’s objection for the similarity of their trademark chemical Teflon” to Tefal.”
Why Teflon Gained Bad Reputation, and What is DuPont?
It’s one of the most exciting stories that you might be missing out on. So, read till the end and enjoy it.
A scientist named “Roy Plunkett,” who worked at DuPont company, accidentally discovered a chemical in 1938 when he was researching refrigerants. He had stored a gas (TFE) in the small cylinders at dry ice temperature, but what he found was the chemical which was one of its kind and polymerized into the white waxy substance.
The chemical was called PTFE, and it was the most slippery substance in existence. When the chemical was further researched, it was found to be chemically inert and heat resistant.
This discovery opened up many possibilities and gave the DuPont company a whole new set of ideas to use in various products.
Since the company discovered it, it patented the PTFE chemical in 1945 with a new name, “Teflon,” for branding purposes.
So far, we know that Teflon is not produced by Tefal; instead, it is produced by the DuPont Company.
Due to the fascinating chemical properties of Teflon, it was started to be used in
- Automakers and car parts
- Industrial processes and architecture
- Medical devices
- Surgical tools
How the Tefal Brand Started Using Teflon?
Seeing the non-friction substance Teflon, a French engineer Marc Grégoire used this chemical to make non-stick pots and pans. This innovative idea and execution took the world by storm.
Non-stick pans and Tefal started gaining popularity. Almost every household was switching from traditional sticky pans to non-stick pans.
The downfall began…
When Teflon’s connection with Cancer was found…
And not just cancer, but also birth defects, infertility, immune disorders, liver problems just to name a few…
It so happened that…
In 1951, the DuPont Company started purchasing a new chemical PFOA to be used in the making of the chemical PTFE (a.k.a.) Teflon. The addition of PFOA was to stop clumping during the application of Teflon coating.
But this chemical (PFOA) was the “REAL CULPRIT” and was causing various kinds of cancers.
Since then, many pieces of research have been conducted by the EPA, FDA, American Cancer Society, and the company DuPont itself.
It turned out that the DuPont company had dumped thousands of pounds of PFOA chemical in the Ohio River. The carcinogenic material was contaminating the drinking water. Even when the DuPont company stopped throwing PFOA in rivers and bought a DRY Run landfill to dump 7100 tonnes of PFOA sludge there, it seeped underground and contaminated water.
PFOA levels were rising in the water…
And so were the mysterious deaths of hundreds of farm cows, cancer, infertility, congenital anomalies in the near vicinity….
The DuPont Company was keeping all the research a hush-hush affair…
But then the company’s neglect was brought to light by a lawyer Bob Bilott, and ultimately the PFOA was banned in the production of PTFE or Teflon.
EPA asked cookware manufacturers to weed out the PFOA. The DuPont company, which supplies Teflon to all cookware manufacturers, slowly stopped using the most harmful chemical, PFOA.
Does it Mean that Tefal is Now Free of Teflon?
No, T-Fal still uses Teflon (PTFE), but Teflon is now free of PFOA, which was causing some deadly diseases in human beings. If you are looking for a cookware free from toxic-material check our list of the best ceramic non-stick pans.
Do you Still Associate Teflon with the T-Fal Brand only?
I don’t think you would be…
PTFE was a new chemical introduced, and T-fal just used it in making cookware without knowing that it contains anything harmful. Many other cookware products started using Teflon too in their products. However, we constantly see people thinking and connecting Teflon only with Tefal.
- Next time, when you purchase any non-stick cookware, check the label.
If it says PFOA-free, it wouldn’t mean it is PTFE-free (it still has Teflon, aka PTFE).
- If it says PFOA, PTFE free, it means it doesn’t have Teflon coating.
Are New Tefal Products Safe to Use?
Yes, Tefal and all products using PTFE coatings are now deemed safe. But scientific research is an ongoing process. There is still a slight risk (not deadly) involved in all pots and pans containing PTFE coating.
Read more about it in our article “Is Teflon Cookware Safe?”, where we will discuss it in detail.
- T-Fal and Tefal are the names of the same company.
- Teflon is the patented name of the chemical PTFE.
- Tefal was the first company to use Teflon (PTFE) in its products.
- PTFE used to have a chemical PFOA in it.
- PFOA is carcinogenic and now banned.
- Tefal pans produced after 2013 are entirely PFOA-free, thus considered safe to use.