Luckily for me, DuPont maintains an informative website about its ubiquitous product conveniently located at www.teflon.com. Not only does this life saving substance coat our windshield wipers and make driving safer, according to the website, but it is also safe. At least, this is implied by their link entitled "Teflon is safe".
Their site agrees with recent findings of the Environmental Protection Agency. The main concerns with Teflon are with PFOA, (favorable talking points available at www.PFOA.com, go figure) a chemical used in the production of Teflon and similar substances. PFOA been found in the environment, and in human blood, breast milk and umbilical cord samples. Ahhh, now I understood why I was directed to the Environmental Protection Agency website instead of the Food and Drug Administration website. DuPont admitted to hiding toxicity research about this chemical, which its own studies indicated caused cancer and birth defects in laboratory animals. Good news for me, apparently there is little to no PFOA left in the finished product, like my minimuffin pans.
But, there is plenty of it left in the environment, and it is found in the blood of about 95% of Americans. So, bad news for all of us. Also bad news, there isn't much the EPA can tell us yet about avoiding it or removing it from our bodies. Hopefully they will come up with something in the ten years DuPont and friends have to phase out the chemical.
There is also some fear that Teflon sends off toxic vapors at extremely high temperatures. These vapors can be toxic to birds. According to Wikipedia, however, these same toxic fumes are emitted when butter is heated to a much lower temperature.
That settled it. I was not about to give up butter, so, the kids were allowed to eat the minimuffins. Boycotting further Teflon products until the compound may help influence (minutely) the amount of PFOA released into the atmosphere, but my pans were already made and purchased. And, those muffins sure smell goooooood.
For anyone who is a glutton for paranoia, put on your own tinfoil hat and read some more information from the Environmental Working Group.