Saturday, August 27, 2005

Are Paper Towel Cardboard Rolls Safe for your Bird?

We have received the following notice that is circulating around the Net about those cardboard rolls from paper towels. The warning we believe would also apply to the cardboard rolls of toliet paper as well. Since we tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to our feathered friends we though we would pass it along as well.

"NEWSFLASH: Paper Towel Rolls Potential Zinc Poisoning
Source!", by 'Parrots Secrets' Newsletter Editor


Many of us have allowed our parrots to play with and shred
paper towel cores after we've used the entire paper towel
supply from the core.

This has appeared to be harmless and I was very shocked to
learn that it could be harmful! Had I not seen an email from
Kimberly-Clark, one of the manufacturers of paper towels and
toilet paper, I might not have believed this information.

Zinc toxicity is very serious and can kill a parrot if it
is severe. Kidney damage, upset digestion, feather plucking
and increased water intake are all signs of zinc poisoning.

Other symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite and larger
than usual green droppings. Sudden death, unfortunately, is
another sign.

Cockatoos are especially sensitive but no parrot is exempt.
If you do, however, have a cockatoo that plucks feathers
and nothing has resolved the problem, ask your vet to check
for zinc in the parrot's blood.

I was aware of zinc toxicosis (a big word for zinc poisoning)
in parrots, but had always heard that the most common cause
was older cages or the use of galvanized wire in aviaries.

Using washers containing zinc to attach toys to a parrot's
cages is another potential cause of zinc poisoning that I
had heard of.

However, I was shocked to learn that the adhesive used to
attach the first sheet of paper towel to the cardboard core
has resulted in some parrots being diagnosed with zinc
toxicosis. This same adhesive can be present in toilet
paper rolls also.

When making sure you do not give your parrot any zinc-containing
products, watch out for anything made of metal that is dull
and creates a whitish dust.

Padlocks and some hangers used for toys are often culprits.
Paints and varnishes and adhesives, pennies, curtain or blind
weights, keys, costume jewelry, tile, duct tape, and hardware
around the house are all potential sources of zinc that could
poison your parrot.

Blood tests are the only accurate diagnosis tool for this
serious poisoning. Be very cautious of what you give your
parrot to play with and what you use inside the cage!

Kimberly-Clark's statement regarding this adhesive says:

"Although the core glue is safe for its intended use, it
is not intended to be ingested. It is not food grade and
does not meet indirect food contact regulations. Therefore,
we cannot recommend that it be used with pets".