On paper, it seems like no big deal the difference between the word 'potential' and the word 'likely', but in the world of science that's huge.
This week, an independent panel reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bumped up its warning on C-8: deciding that instead of a potential risk....it is a "likely" cancer risk. C-8 is the chemical in Teflon that makes that cookware non-stick. It's also what's called a persistent chemical, meaning it takes decades to break down so aside from any health hazard, it is also a major concern to the environment.
"We believe there is a reasonable basis for some of those questions and that they need to be answered," says Tom Skinner from the EPA.
Ironically, scientists are still not sure how the chemical gets into people because the best known source of the chemical, Teflon cookware is not believed to be a source of direct exposure to consumers. Even so, Teflon-maker Dupont is under investigation for allegedly hiding critical safety information about the risks of C-8.