Thursday, October 07, 2010

Non Stick Kills

With the fall festivities and holiday season approaching, many people will be cooking and baking more than usual.  It may also be a time when cleaning your oven is necessary.  Because of the above, we felt it might be helpful to remind all bird owners of the deadly danger of PTFE.

What is PTFE you ask?  PTFE stands for polytetrafluoroethylene and it is one of, if not the most,  insidious deadly danger to your bird.

It is the quiet killer.  It has no smell, it has not warning, but it can be 100% guaranteed death for your bird in almost all situations.

In birds this killer is called "Teflon toxicosis" which causes the lungs of the exposed bird to this toxin to quickly begin to hemorrhage and fill with bloody fluids causing the bird to suffocate within minutes.  Death by PTFE happens quickly, so quickly you will not have time to go for help.

It goes by many names but the most recognized ones are Teflon, Silverstone, Stainmaster, and other well known names.  If anything you purchase has the wording of "non-stick" anywhere on the label, then it is very probable that it contains this chemical.  It is hidden in self-cleaning ovens, ironing board covers and irons, some heat lamps, space heaters, and many many other (way too many) common household products.

Virtually all "non-stick" cookware and drip-pans which can be purchased under many different manufacturer's names, contain PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) and are extremely deadly to the lives of our birds. Any brand of cookware you are considering which states "non-stick" should immediately send up a warning flag to you as it most probably contains the very deadly PTFE.  Your brain should be screaming "DANGER DANGER" at the mere mention of the those words "non-stick"

Unless the manufacturer of the product in question can state in writing it does not contain any form of PTFE, and can explain exactly how it is a non-stick product, and can guarantee that it will not harm your bird, you would be safer to assume it does in fact contain deadly PTFE.

It has now been proven that these products do not have to overheat to emit the odorless fumes containing PTFE which are lethal to birds and can kill within minutes. So never assume you are safe because you never leave pans on the stove to overheat.  Tell that to the owner whose 18 year old African Grey died suddenly while she was standing nearby in the kitchen cooking dinner.  Nothing there was overheating when she heard the bird fall from his perch.  Tell it to the owner who went upstairs after dinner to find her beautiful 6 year old female Eclectus dead in the bottom of her cage and Necropsy confirmed death by Teflon poisoning from a pan she used in the oven that night.

Whatever utensils you use, rooms should be well ventilated when cooking is in progress. Ventilate the bird's room or area as well as the kitchen. Fumes will travel within your home. Use a range hood, ventilated to the outdoors when you are cooking.

Stainless steel or cast iron cookware is an easily cleaned alternative to pots and pans coated with non-stick surfaces.   Self-cleaning ovens should only be set to clean when all birds have been safely removed from the home.

Having personally witnessed the death of a friend's birds when she innocently used a new drip pan to broil some steaks in her oven, I can say it is a horrible tragedy to happen. Several budgies in a room off the kitchen with a door shut between all died as well as several cockatiels in an adjoining dining room. If you had been the one instead of me who gently reached into each cage to remove a small body from the bottom of the cage after the incident, then you would also know the horror of this chemical.  The only bird to survive was an amazon in a back bedroom with the door closed. He spent several days in the hospital but did survive the ordeal. Nothing can describe the horror the owner went through losing her beloved birds.

Be in the "know", and do all you can to protect your feathered friend this holiday season.

For links to more information about this danger please visit Non-Stick Cookware Dangers


Ross4Teflon said...

Because there's so much misinformation out there about Teflon, I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont though, and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

Because birds have extremely sensitive respiratory systems, bird owners must take precautions to protect them. Cooking fumes, smoke and odors that have little or no effect on people can seriously sicken and even kill birds, often quite quickly. Cooking fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just non-stick, can damage a bird's lungs with alarming speed. This is why bird owners should take steps to protect their pets, such as keeping their birds out of the kitchen, never leaving cookware unattended, never allowing pots and pans to overheat, and making sure that their kitchen is properly ventilated at all times.

Thanks and I appreciate your consideration of this comment.

ParrotPressNews (PPN) said...

Thank you for your additional information Ross4Teflon concerning dangers to pet birds. While we also agree there are many inhaled dangers to pet birds in the form of scented candles, cleaners, air fresheners, as well as other household products, the focus of our blog post was to remind bird owners of the specific danger of PTFE to our birds during the fall and holiday season. Often people are cooking and baking more during this time, and possibly using the self-cleaning ovens which are often coated with PTFE. It is indeed important that owners learn all they can to become more aware of the dangers in our everyday environment.