TEFLON MAY CAUSE TROUBLE
Scientists claim that Teflon frying pans are posing a serious threat to the environment. Teflon decomposes into a (1)________ chemical that persists in the environment and may kill plants at high concentrations.The chemical, called TFA, occurs widely in the environment. Most of it results from the breakdown of compounds known as HCFCs and HFCs. But in many places, TFA levels are too high (2)________ HFCFs and HFCs alone. According to research, teflon and its relatives that are used in many household and commercial settings seemed like a strong threat due to their chemical composition and wide usage. But could teflon breakdown really produce TFA? To find out, Mabury and co-workers analyzed compounds that are formed (3)________ pure teflon and various other teflon products were heated. Experiments (4)________ at a variety of temperatures up to 5000 C to stimulate both standard cooking and the burning of trash. They discovered that Teflon decomposition produces (5)________ TFA but also a group of related molecules with unknown environmental effects. "Although it's harmless at its current levels, TFA can persist in the environment for centuries, which might allow it to reach concentrations that may harm plants," says Tim Wallington, an environmental scientist. But there's no reason for immediate alarm: 'I don't think we should stop (6)________ teflon,' he says. 'I just think we need to do better environmental testing.'