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#1873236 - 04/03/12 06:01 PM Teflon powder unsafe?
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada


We have in Vancouver, at the present time, a serious allegation made in writing by a local technician about the properties of Teflon powder (PTFE). This is the fine cut Teflon many technicians have been using for years to lubricate knuckles and other friction points.

There is a chemical used in the process of making Teflon (PTFE) that is called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) that is suspected to be a carcinogen but this product is not present in Teflon itself.

Here is a verbatim statement from this technician’s invoice;

Quote:
Observed microfine white colored Teflon lubricating powder on the hammer shank knuckles. Removed powder as it is highly suspect being a cancer causing agent as it gets airborne.


This is an outrageous statement to make to a client and owner of a recently purchased piano with no substantiation or peer reviewed science to backstop the claim made.

Have any of the technicians here ever heard this before? If we have any chemical experts here your comments are a welcome addition.

Comments and opinions from everyone please.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873249 - 04/03/12 06:23 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
I am no chemist but I do know it is unsafe to transport Teflon across borders this way.

I personally use Teflon powder when needed.


_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1873250 - 04/03/12 06:25 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Getting any charges to stick may be difficult. grin
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1873253 - 04/03/12 06:42 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Hey, I use it all the time. Gotta die of something. Might as well be slippery on the way out! smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1873258 - 04/03/12 06:50 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Good one Rod, that's funny...

Hey Jerry,
I use the stuff all the time too. I know lots of tech who do. This product is sold by every piano tool/parts supplier I know.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873262 - 04/03/12 06:54 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3339
Nope. That's a new one for me. Not only do I coat knuckles with Teflon powder, before they receive it, they get sprayed with TFL-50.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1873271 - 04/03/12 07:06 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
That's just crazy.
It is the PFOA used in the manufacture of Teflon that is a problem for workers and Teflon can break down and produce toxic compounds in high heat.
(Teflon itself is extremely toxic to birds and bird owners should rid their house of Teflon cooking pans).
But powdered Teflon on parts is not going to harm anyone.
Even if Teflon itself was proven to be a problem it is going to be because of inhalation.
If the powder is on the piano's knuckles then it should stay there and only by making it airborne could it possibly cause any problem.
This is often the suggested remedy for Asbestos in many cases. If asbestos (which is known to be HIGHLY dangerous) is left alone it will not cause a problem. It is only when one starts removing it or disturbing it that it can cause problems since it can then be inhaled.
The tech that removed it is either extremely paranoid for no reason or he was looking for something to bill the client for.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1873280 - 04/03/12 07:25 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: beethoven986]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Nope. That's a new one for me. Not only do I coat knuckles with Teflon powder, before they receive it, they get sprayed with TFL-50.


Not familiar with that one. I expect it is a aerosol spray lube of some sort?
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873284 - 04/03/12 07:34 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
That's just crazy.
It is the PFOA used in the manufacture of Teflon that is a problem for workers and Teflon can break down and produce toxic compounds in high heat.
(Teflon itself is extremely toxic to birds and bird owners should rid their house of Teflon cooking pans).
But powdered Teflon on parts is not going to harm anyone.
Even if Teflon itself was proven to be a problem it is going to be because of inhalation.
If the powder is on the piano's knuckles then it should stay there and only by making it airborne could it possibly cause any problem.
This is often the suggested remedy for Asbestos in many cases. If asbestos (which is known to be HIGHLY dangerous) is left alone it will not cause a problem. It is only when one starts removing it or disturbing it that it can cause problems since it can then be inhaled.
The tech that removed it is either extremely paranoid for no reason or he was looking for something to bill the client for.



Sparky this is what I have read in my research.Teflon itself does not begin to break down until temperatures of 482 F°

So unless we are placing the clients piano in a pizza oven….

Jerry gave me a neat trick to use with this Teflon powder a couple of years back. He mentioned that his father used to mix powder up into a paste like form with isopropyl, and then apply it to the knuckles.

I had never heard of this before so I tried it out.

At times some older knuckles tend to get soft and mushy as the buckskin stretches. The wire brush seems to make these types of knuckles worse. What this paste does is makes the buckskin shrink slightly and that hardens up the knuckle a bit making for a more positive let-off sequence with the jack. I found this out by trying it on an old set of knuckles that were giving problems.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873295 - 04/03/12 08:00 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Gene Nelson Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1505
Loc: Old Hangtown California
I agree about inhalation. The powder is extremely fine and can penetrate deep in the lungs.
I worry about this as much as sawdust.
_________________________
RPT
PTG Member

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#1873307 - 04/03/12 08:24 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
RJ10 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/12
Posts: 44
Loc: Chicago, IL
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
At times some older knuckles tend to get soft and mushy as the buckskin stretches. The wire brush seems to make these types of knuckles worse. What this paste does is makes the buckskin shrink slightly and that hardens up the knuckle a bit making for a more positive let-off sequence with the jack. I found this out by trying it on an old set of knuckles that were giving problems.


Silverwood: Is this an alternative to bolstering the knuckles or is this a remedy for an issue with the buckskin itself?
_________________________
“Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe.” ~Lao Tzu

Richard J Beebe, RPT
Piano Technician & Collaborative Pianist
Bb Piano Service
Chicago, Illinois

www.bbpianoservice.com
bbpianoservice@gmail.com

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#1873311 - 04/03/12 08:30 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Wow, great memory Dan! I've used it that way in my shop for years. The alcohol dries out leaving the Teflon or, powered soap stone deeper into the felt and knuckles along with a lot less of a mess. When mixed up in a bowl, when the alcohol dries, what's left? Nothing but Teflon.... smile
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1873328 - 04/03/12 09:08 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Gene,
I would agree with the observations about fine particles. A variety of small particles are drawn into the breathing apparatus on a daily basis. But this does not make one of them a cancer causing agent as claimed.

RJ10,
Thanks for the question. I found this to be an alternative to bolster in some cases only. If the buckskin is really quite loose then it will not work. I tried this on a set of knuckles where the piano had been dormant for a long period and it helped a lot with the flat spots. But on other knuckles not so much. Really a trial an error thing…..

Jerry,
Yes the soapstone that is the part I forgot. I like the paste thing. Easy to apply and keeps the dust down.
It is true; the alcohol draws the Teflon deep into the buckskin and remains for longer periods without re-application. That is the part I liked, when the bowl dried out.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873348 - 04/03/12 09:42 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
JackH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
Teflon is absolutely non toxic, It’s the most inert polymer on earth. It can, however, be an irritant in your lungs or eyes. It decomposes above 400C (750F).


Jack Houweling
604 970-3371
www.Jackspiano.com
_________________________
Jack Houweling
www.Jackspiano.com
604 970-3371

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#1873356 - 04/03/12 09:48 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3339
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Nope. That's a new one for me. Not only do I coat knuckles with Teflon powder, before they receive it, they get sprayed with TFL-50.


Not familiar with that one. I expect it is a aerosol spray lube of some sort?


Yes. It is a Teflon based dry film lube. You can get it from Pianotek Supply. http://www.tfl50.com/
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1873372 - 04/03/12 10:35 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: JackH]
Chris Leslie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 649
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: JackH
Teflon is absolutely non toxic, It’s the most inert polymer on earth. It can, however, be an irritant in your lungs or eyes. It decomposes above 400C (750F).



This is what concerns me about teflon powder. Once it lodges in your lungs it will stay there indefinitely rather than decompose and expel unless it is possible to migrate out. There may be a cumulative build up in the lungs during a lifetime of inhaling tiny amounts every so often. Now, potential residual Perfluorooctanoic acid is a worry also.
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1873461 - 04/04/12 02:57 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2021
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
(Teflon itself is extremely toxic to birds and bird owners should rid their house of Teflon cooking pans).


Teflon (or its decomposition products) is only released from the cooking pans when they are overheated. And by the time it's actually released, it's bad not only for the birds, but for everyone in the house. So I don't quite get this statement...
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1873699 - 04/04/12 03:17 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Some emails came in overnight from technicians; I haven’t been able to ask them about posting their names so this is the email text verbatim;


Quote:
I use it a fair amount in my work, and have no worries about it. From what I have heard, teflon itself is inert, it is the manufacturing process that can cause cancer if one is exposed. I may stand corrected, though. I have used it for over 15 years with no ill effects. When used in reasonable quantities (i.e. not too much) it does wonders for knuckle lubrication and reduction of excess friction.




Quote:
I have used Teflon for many years as described, on knuckles to help a squeak or 2, on trapwork to ease pedal operations, and on key pins when installing new key bushings, all AS NEEDED. I bought a pound of it 10 years ago and have almost all of it. Very little is needed to do what I like to do with it. I essentially have a lifetime supply.

As for its toxicity, I believe you have received significant answers and opinions from the pianotech list. I do monitor that list also. The person that said the 'burden of proof lies with the accuser' is a perfect example of a recent situation I had with the opinion of another tech:

I came to a piano with a very heavy and not very responsive action. The client said the previous tech could do no better than what was there, and parts would have to be replaced. I demonstrated, with one key, how a few adjustments to the action will make the whole instrument play much better. No Teflon was needed, by the way! The client was very happy and had me make that improvement to the rest of the piano. The "burden of proof" was in my court, just as the burden is with this other technician.

I have attached a MSDS of Teflon for your information. As for my personal safety, I do wear gloves when I handle Teflon, but as you can see from the MSDS, it is pretty non-toxic unless you heat it up to 300 degrees F. I have no reason to do that.

I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to ask if you have any more.

Thank you,


Here are two piano parts supplier responses. Both of these suppliers are well know to all technicians.


Quote:
We've been selling our products throughout Canada for the past 25 years.

Since 5 years, we are selling a product under the name of Teflon powder to lubricate pieces in
a piano action (grand knuckles).

As far as we know, under normal circumstances, that product can be used without reservation, as
it has been used by piano technicians in Canada and United States


Quote:
Here are links to some articles about PTFE (Teflon) health risks or lack thereof. As you will read, the concern seems to be over the possible dangers of a chemical that is used in making Teflon (and other products), which is not present in Teflon itself:


Some links for reading:


http://www2.dupont.com/Teflon/en_US/products/safety/index.html

http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCause...noic-acid--pfoa

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read...irds-and-humans

http://video.about.com/environment/Is-Teflon-Cookware-Safe-.htm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8404384/ (Be sure to read all the way to the end, especially the last sentence.)

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/teflon-pans
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873700 - 04/04/12 03:18 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1976909_1976895_1976902,00.html

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#1873726 - 04/04/12 04:10 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Chris Leslie

This is what concerns me about teflon powder. Once it lodges in your lungs it will stay there indefinitely rather than decompose and expel unless it is possible to migrate out. There may be a cumulative build up in the lungs during a lifetime of inhaling tiny amounts every so often. Now, potential residual Perfluorooctanoic acid is a worry also.


Chris,
There is no evidence that the fine particles remain in your lungs indefinitely any more than any other microscopic particles you absorb during the day. Once again I have to state that this does not make a substance a cancer causing agent as per the written claim by this local technician.

3m has stopped making PFOS in yr 2000. There is a stewardship program to phase out PFOA by 2015.

Interesting to note in the provided links above that that any residual PFOA can only be activated by heat above a certain point.

I think we need to be careful making assertions without any facts to backstop the claims made. This is the problem with the local technician here. He is making opinionated statements as facts in writing without any clear peer-reviewed science to substantiate his claims.

Dupont and 3M will take these claims seriously. That has the potential to earn him a visit to the court docket in defense of his claims.

When I have pressed this person for science to back up his assertion I get the below as a response now stated as only his opinion:


Quote:
As piano technicians we are too close for comfort in my opinion and as such I have spoken at meetings of the local chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild.

I have spoken about the Teflon powder several times over the years. The last time was when Steven Brady, the author of a book on piano care (which I think is called 'Under the Lid' but I would have to look that up) came to speak to the Chapter.


Can any of the local technicians in this chapter confirm this?
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873803 - 04/04/12 06:42 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Chris Leslie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 649
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Dan, I only mentioned that because of the inert nature of teflon. Most other particles may gradually decompose or be able to absorb. Asbestos is another example of an inert, and therefore non-toxic, substance and we know that it stays in the lungs for life. The cancer trigger is thought to be mechanical because of the crystalline shape, but teflon particles are round and slippery so that may thankfully enable it to migrate away in phlegm. If so, then maybe old technicians have a new lubricant source - only joking.
_________________________
Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au

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#1873820 - 04/04/12 07:11 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos



I have spoken about the Teflon powder several times over the years. The last time was when Steven Brady, the author of a book on piano care (which I think is called 'Under the Lid' but I would have to look that up) came to speak to the Chapter.


Quote:

Can any of the local technicians in this chapter confirm this?



He has indeed brought this up over the years. He has not been asked to teach on his thoughts but brings it up when others talk about using the product in a favorable manner.
I do believe it was addressed when Steve was here in my shop.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#1873847 - 04/04/12 08:24 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
Chris thanks for the added comments. I did have a document come in with more safety information but it is in pdf form and I have no idea how to get it onto this forum.

If you or anyone else would like a copy of that document please email me direct from my web site icon and I would be glad to send a copy of that one...

The short version is that under first aid section, inhalation, skin contact, and even swallowing this product is not harmful.

It does say if you get some into your eyes to flush with plenty of water, but that is the usual for many products.

Rod,

Thanks for the clarification on the presentation aspect.The statments made about Teflon from this person are disingenuous.

I would venture to state at this point that the claims regarding Teflon being a cancer causing agent have been manufactured and perhaps for the reason suggested earlier by Sparky.

Here is another email just come in as I was writing this posting;

Quote:
I use microfine (9 micron) Teflon powder all the time and it's quite safe if used as recommended. I also use it in a paste a la VJ Lube in place of talc when I require something of that sort.

The technician who made the allegation about the dangers of Teflon is incorrect and is doing a disservice to customers, in my opinion. It poses no danger in the piano and is of very little danger to the technician. Techs are much more in danger by breathing in the dust when filing hammers and a mask should always be worn when doing so, but the use of Teflon powder is quite safe.

Hope that helps.

Regards...



Something from a wise fellow a long time back;

"All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison…." Paracelsus (1493-1541)

Never concern yourself with the chemical, only the concentration. Water, oxygen and (literally) everything else is toxic at the proper dose.

Only charlatans fail to describe the concentrations (and toxicity levels) of the scary sounding chemicals they want you to fear (as an entirely dishonest means to their purely political ends).


_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1873887 - 04/04/12 10:04 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Mark R.]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Mark R.
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
(Teflon itself is extremely toxic to birds and bird owners should rid their house of Teflon cooking pans).


Teflon (or its decomposition products) is only released from the cooking pans when they are overheated. And by the time it's actually released, it's bad not only for the birds, but for everyone in the house. So I don't quite get this statement...


I don't know why you don't "get" this statement. Someties some things are very toxic to some species but not affect other species.

There are several things that are deadly poisonous to birds that don't bother humans at all.
If your Teflon pan overheats your birds will die, usually within minutes it's that toxic to them.
I'm sure it's not good for humans but humans won't drop dead in a minute like birds will.

Freon is also highly toxic to birds.
If your air conditioner leaks freon into the house your birds will drop dead but humans won't even notice.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1873934 - 04/05/12 12:13 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21574
Loc: Oakland
I will remember that the next time I heat a piano to over 400°.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1873950 - 04/05/12 01:07 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1200
Loc: Qubec, Canada
Thanks to Jerry Groot and Dan Silverwood.

I made a paste with alcohol and teflon powder today.

I can imagine already how much easier some of it's uses will be now.

Thanks again.

Jean
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1873952 - 04/05/12 01:20 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Although I use Teflon powder sparingly on a regular basis, I do have concerns about the toxicity of its manufacturing - which has been proven to be a problem. Just because the end product isn't toxic, it doesn't follow that we should embrace the product without taking a look at all of its repercussions. We have to leave this planet for our grandchildren. We should always be looking for solutions that have the least harmful impact on the environment.

I used to use 2-part carbonless paper for my invoices. I then heard about how NCR (National Cash Register) has been involved in an ongoing law-suit over the tons of PCB's they dumped in the Fox River (http://www.foxriverwatch.com/NCR_corporation.html). So I went to using good old fashioned non-toxic carbon paper. Here's another interesting link: http://www.ewg.org/kid-safe-chemicals-act-blog/2010/07/a-little-bpa-along-with-your-change/
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1873983 - 04/05/12 04:05 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2021
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
I don't know why you don't "get" this statement. Someties some things are very toxic to some species but not affect other species.

There are several things that are deadly poisonous to birds that don't bother humans at all.
If your Teflon pan overheats your birds will die, usually within minutes it's that toxic to them.


OK, Sparky, let me try again.

First off, it's not the Teflon that' extremely toxic to birds, but the thermal decomposition products.

Secondly, there is no rational foundation for the statement, "Bird owners should rid their house of teflon cooking pans." Risk is the combination of probability and severity of damage. The birds will only die if the pan overheats. But if it's used normally, they will be absolutely fine. I've never overheated a pan, least of all, a teflon-coated one. So to me, the potential threat my teflon pan poses to my two budgies, on the extremely off-beat chance that I overheat it, is no reason to throw it out. My teflon pan and my budgies are all in excellent health.

I don't throw my kettle or other pots 'n pans into the trash either just because my toddler could burn his fingers on them. Rather, I take due care when cooking.

If you still don't get what I don't get, never mind.


Edited by Mark R. (04/05/12 04:08 AM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
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1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1874009 - 04/05/12 06:39 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
Abstract: An incident where five cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) died within 30 minutes following exposure from a frying pan coated with the plastic polytetrafluoroethylene (900-284-0) (PTFE) that had accidentally overheated is reported. Within an hour the owner developed symptoms of polymer fume fever but recovered within 24 hours. A PTFE coated milk pan boiled dry for 15 minutes with the cockatiels in a cage in the next room. The birds were examined by a veterinary surgeon and were found to be normal except for the lungs, which were severely congested and edematous and were considered to be the cause of death. It is concluded that parakeets are unusually susceptable to the pyrolyses products of frying pans coated with plastic polytetrafluoroethylene.
Ref. Case of Polytetrafluoroethylene Poisoning in Cockatiels Accompanied by Polymer Fume Fever in the Owner by Blandford TB, Hughes R, Seamon PJ, Pattison M, Wilderspin MP. Veterinary Record, Vol. 96, pages 175-176, 6 references, 1975.

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#1874038 - 04/05/12 07:35 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2021
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Well, getting back to topic: if your piano has been treated with teflon powder, you'd best throw it out, along with your teflon cooking pans. That way, the next time your house burns down, at least you can rest assured that it won't be the piano's teflon powder fumes that kill your cockatiels.
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1874062 - 04/05/12 08:39 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2393
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
There is presently a study being conducted by 3 epedemiologists in an area near a chemical plant in the US concerning C8 (PFOA). I beleive its in Parkersburg WV where Dupont makes Teflon. Results should be out later in the year but will reflect the direction that possible lawsuits will go. 98% of the population in the US has PPB amounts of PFOA in their bloodstream according to testing and the material has ben manufactured since the 1940's. Teflon pan overheating will release the agents only if the surface has been scratched according to some studies. Incidently, perfumed scented candles, air fresheners and toxins from common houshold plants are the primary source of toxicity for housepet birds according to my veteranarian. If PFOA is of concern to someone, it is commonly found in stain resistant carpeting, carpet cleaning chemicals, microwave popcorn bags, Gore-Tex, house dust and food and water that come into contact of areas where the material has been dumped.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1874072 - 04/05/12 08:50 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
pianocat88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 99
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
The MSDS (material safety data sheet, available from where you purchase a chemical)for Teflon was written for using the product in factories where the Teflon is heated. We don't use it that way. We use the powder at room temperature and apply it directly onto a surface. It is inert, but an inhalation hazard. It is also fine enough that it will enter your bloodstream through the skin. It will stay in your liver. Cumulative damage is a real issue. So often, self employed technicians ignore chemical (and other occupational) safety issues.
Years ago, I taught a class on chemical safety. Randy Potter modified my class notes and made a video.

If we are working in schools and places of business, there are legal requirements we need to pay attention to as far as chemical safety and workplace safety regulations. Here is a brochure from OHSA on guidelines for small business.

http://www.slideshare.net/ankenytemp/osha-for-small-business
_________________________
Lisa Weller, RPT
Huntington Beach, CA
www.wellerpianoservice.com

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#1874098 - 04/05/12 09:58 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2393
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I find it strange to read that Teflon can enter your system through the skin since I presume the size of the particles (microns) would be a factor in this ability. There are products out there such as Slik Dust (by Skin Strong) that are used by atheletes to dust their feet and shoes to prevent chaffing. They contain teflon also. My understanding is that Teflon is inert, that is the main reason that scrapings of the Teflon from cooking pans apparantly cause no harm if ingested. I am beginning to wonder if the Teflon scare is right up there with the mercury amalgam dental fillings. Many people have gotten their fillings replaced with conmposites instead and now they are finding that the composites contain bisphenals which has estrogen in it and along with the adhesives/binders used, are likely just as as toxic.

Reminds me of an often quoted 3rd graders report...

Socrates was a Greek philosopher who went around giving people good advice. They poisoned him.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1874102 - 04/05/12 10:01 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2021
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Lisa,

To my knowledge, the particle size in typical dry lubricant teflon powders is about 2 to 10 microns. Intuitively, I would expect the skin to keep such a particle size out quite easily. Can you provide references for your statement that this is fine enough to enter the bloodstream through the skin?

(Nanoparticles are a different matter, of course. But the teflon in lubricating powders is not nano-sized.)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1874136 - 04/05/12 11:08 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Mark R.]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Mark R.


Secondly, there is no rational foundation for the statement, "Bird owners should rid their house of teflon cooking pans."


Then I suggest you take it up with avian veterinarians and professional parrot breeders, since that is what most of them recommend, instead of berating me for repeating the recommendation.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1874139 - 04/05/12 11:15 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Just had this document come in from a colleague in Europe.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/4716.php
_________________________
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www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1874330 - 04/05/12 06:58 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
pianocat88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 99
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
Mark- All my MSDS-bs es were in my tool case when it was stolen. I'll have to go look it up. Thanks for making me do this. I need new paperwork anyway.

Here is the link to the MSDS for powdered Teflon from Spurlock Specialty Tools. http://www.spurlocktools.com/id39.htm

The MSDS doesn't state anything about using the product as we do, directly applying it to friction points in the piano action.
Things that stuck out to me in this report are where the animal testing showed lung irritation after a single exposure. No skin irritant, but in the handling instructions, it states to avoid contact with eyes, skin and clothing. It also says to avoid contact with food and cigarettes.
I really would like to get answers because we're leaving this powdery stuff in pianos. Some of it will become airborne through the strings with all the other dust and stuff coming off the hammers through the strings when people play.

I don't think this MSDS is complete because it leaves out information for us like spill clean-up, disposal, and more clear information on irritant hazards instead of just stating that "exposure is unlikely".

This is the guide that is suggested reading on the powdered Teflon MSDS before reading the actual MSDS information:

http://www.fluoropolymers.org/news/APFOsafehandlingguide.pdf

On page 10 of this guide, there are statements on health hazards and toxicity. They are always talking about FPA's which are liquids. So since we use the product unheated and dry, the information is inconclusive. I'd err to the side of caution.
_________________________
Lisa Weller, RPT
Huntington Beach, CA
www.wellerpianoservice.com

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#1874344 - 04/05/12 07:19 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
Well I just bought a new set of pans/pots (Tfal)and there instructions say season the pans
and don't overheat...and if you burn the pot toss it, isn't the current coating outlawed by 2015?
and thanks for the info about carpets..(stainmaster)

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#1874616 - 04/06/12 11:12 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Originally Posted By: accordeur
Thanks to Jerry Groot and Dan Silverwood.

I made a paste with alcohol and teflon powder today.

I can imagine already how much easier some of it's uses will be now.

Thanks again.

Jean


Hey Jean, two things I observed with the paste; it keeps the dust down to a minimum when working with this product. Secondly the alcohol draws the mix deeper into the buckskin. After a few applications over time, even when the knuckles are brushed the mixture remains impregnated in the buckskin to a certain degree. This cuts down on the use and handling of the product.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1874619 - 04/06/12 11:14 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
thumb
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Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1874623 - 04/06/12 11:24 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1200
Loc: Qubec, Canada
Thanks Dan,

I used it yesterday on a set of knuckles and it worked really well. Thanks again.

Jean
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#1874870 - 04/06/12 08:05 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 291
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Does the client in question use a beat up teflon frying pan? Probably more dangerous eating a ton of it than accidentally snorting the microscopic amount thrown into the air by flailing knuckles.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
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#1874907 - 04/06/12 09:25 PM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Teflon is used on more than just cookware and it sometimes lines ovens and toaster ovens.

Some hair blowdryers even use teflon coasted metal inside for some reason.

I get regular email notices from a few avian and veterinary organizations (obviously I'm bird obsessed) and one of the regular horror stories that is always sent around is when someone's expensive parrots drop dead and all they did was use a brand new toaster oven or even blowdryer on their bird.

Yesterday I received such an email telling the story about a lady who's whole family was devastated and her kids won't stop crying because their African Grey parrot died within five minutes of her using a new table top toaster oven (that didn't overheat) that was a gift from her sister.

If you don't have birds it's not a problem but it amazes me that there's something going into the air through just normal use that seems to be completely innocuous to us.

But hey, I've got four birds and I've got a bottle of the Teflon powder at home for my piano (but no Teflon cookware) so I think the piano tech removing it is totally out of line.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1874972 - 04/07/12 12:32 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Sparky McBiff]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
and one of the regular horror stories that is always sent around is when someone's expensive parrots drop dead and all they did was use a brand new toaster oven or even blowdryer on their bird.


I hope they didn't put their beloved parrot in the toaster oven. whome
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#1875103 - 04/07/12 10:31 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4197
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
These postings are from LinkedIn Piano Technican and Tuners forum;

Quote:
Indeed, an outrageous statement Dan Silverwood; Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. Never B/4 have I heard of this pathetic attempt to [perhaps?] throw ones weight around a little..?? I have used Teflon Powder purchased from Bill Spurlock {Spurlock Specialty tools} in California as well as from Bob Marinelli of PianoTek in Michigan, both of whom are very well respected Piano Techs. in the industry, & from whom I've learned so much.

I've used Teflon Powder for 30 years in dozens of Pianos from Minnesota to Washington State and by golly, all of my Piano Clients are still very much alive last I heard....why would some of our best Techs. be selling this item to us if it were so harmful...??? Have used the Teflon powder from numerous spots in the Piano Action & Grand Keybed down to the lower parts of the Pedal & Trapwork systems while restoring the functions of the failing Grand pedal system, and is among the best lubricant {not to mention the best squeek eliminating agent} for vertical & grand pianos known to man, in my humble opinion....


Quote:
Hi,

The technician in Vancouver is in error about the material. He is confusing frying pans at high heat with pianos.

Here is the msds for the product.


(MSDS already posted here so I did not include again)

Quote:
One of my clients is a retired engineer who worked for IBM (they formerly had a huge manufacturing base here, now mostly IT support).

He told me of a project he worked on years ago to manufacture plastic housings incormporating recycled plastics. From a warehouseful of obsolete military telecommunications equipment which they piurchased, he devised processes to convert the plastic housings into reusabkle materials, and achieved plastics materials made from 100% recycled plastics, well ahead of anyone else.

I mention this to illuatrate that he has expertise in synthetic materials. I spoke with him about Teflon powder, which I was using on his piano. Sopecifically I raised the issue of safety. He assured me "No, that'll not do you any harm", with a slight emphasis on the "you". This fits the idea that while the manufacturing propcess may involve hazards which need to be controlled, the end product is perfectly safe.

It is outrageous for a technician to make unfounded assertions about a legitimate product widely available and used by reputable technicians.

The MSDS referred to below is the one on Spurlock’s web site;
.
Quote:
From the Carcinogenicity Information section of the above MSDS
"None of the components present in this material at concentrations equal to or greater than 0.1% are listed by IARC, NTP, OSHA or ACGIH as a carcinogen." .


Quote:
I am a piano restorer in the United Kingdom and have used teflon,and never heard this about that product before.

Could it be the said piano Tech is trying to blow his own trumpet to make himself look good to a client, thus causing problems for the retailer selling the piano.
If there was a problem the company making this product would know.

Especially as its an American product, and they would not want lawsuits against them.
If it cannot be backed up by scientific data ignore it.



_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1880437 - 04/16/12 09:14 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7656
Loc: France
As many recent discovers I understand that fumes or PTFE degraded by heat may be a hazard for health (as most probably many substance, with the difference that we cook aliments in Teflon covered pans, so I understand this is a very sensitive question)

The pan making and Teflon making trade will protest and pay some people to influence the ones who make laws (if it have not been yet the case yet) so those products cannot be banished and no pertinent information can be easily find. As "how many names palm oil based products have, when in our food" (that one is interesting !).

This is the world as we are leaving it for our children. To get thru some real facts is rarely easy .

That is why I like the concept of "caution until I know better".

I know a few German top technicians that simply stopped using it and take talcum in replacement.

We need something on (in) the "leathers" to avoid graphite contamination from the jack (and to lessen friction indeed)so, when I'll have finished my 750 grs of lMP1100 I received as a free sample from Dupont Nemours I will use something else !
Joking in fact I use yet micro fine Teflon, but I try not to abuse of it, I also wonder, most of them "leather" beying polyurethane micro fiber fabrics today, that may also exists a possibly that a a reaction between 2 different chemicals occurs with the PTFE ..

A chemist may know better, I did not find one to explain me if there where a possibility of hazard between PTFE and polyurethane microfiber.
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#1880481 - 04/16/12 11:44 AM Re: Teflon powder unsafe? [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
Emmery Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2393
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
There has been a lot of buzz lately in regards to absorption of products through the skin that contain nano particles. Some makeup for instance contains these particles. Most government studies on absorption of materials through the skin are concentrating on particles less than 1 micron in size...a nanometer is 1/1000th of a micron. The teflon powders I have seen available for our work I believe have a particulate size in the 2-4 micron range...far to course to be absorbed through the skin unless exposed to an open cut.
_________________________
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Niagara Region

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