Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Silent Killer

Okay, I'm on a bit of a rant today, but I just get so angry every time I learn of another tragic death due to manufacturers using PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) as if it were such a great invention.  No it's not! It can kill a bird in your home within a few minutes.  

Why on God's green earth would we want such a silent killer in our home, around our children, grandchildren, pets, anyone we care about, or even ourselves.  Just because a person doesn't die within minutes, doesn't mean it's not causing horrible harm to the health of those we love as well as ourselves.

What is so offensive to me is that manufacturers insert this hideous danger into our lives in so many different products without telling us.  Most bird people are aware of the non-stick cookware, such as the brand name Teflon, but did you know this toxic substance is also in almost all new ovens, stoves, indoor grills, carpets, flooring, clothes dryers, hair dryers, space heaters, irons, ironing board covers, waffle irons, deep fryers, heat lamps, as well as many other small appliances and even in some clothing products.

For many years it was assumed this PTFE had to reach a certain temperature to do any harm.  That has been proven false.  It has been shown it can be deadly at medium temperatures as well.  It has been documented that at a temperature of only 350 degrees (some researchers say as low as even 250 degrees) toxicity becomes a concern.  

It's called a silent killer because you can't smell it, you can't detect it with a monitoring device, you will never know it's killing your bird until it's too late to do anything to save your precious baby.  It simply spreads the insidious odorless fumes throughout your home without you knowing it.  Even a closed door will not keep it out.  

Having personally witnessed the death of a friend's birds after she innocently used a new drip pan to broil some steaks, I can say it is a horrible tragedy to happen. She lost budgies in an adjoining garage, and cockatiels in a room off the kitchen.  The doors to the dining room and the garage were shut.  

Another friend lost her beloved Eclectus to this horrible chemical compound and the bird was down the hall in another room from the kitchen where the cookware was used.

And, just this week one of my wonderful customers lost several budgies and her Indian Ringneck simply cooking dinner using her oven newly installed 2 months ago.  She was careful not to use teflon or other non-stick cookware that might be dangerous.  She had no idea the lurking danger in her new oven.  

What can we do?  We can spread the information whenever and wherever we can.  We must be pro-active in reading labels carefully, asking questions of sales people and retailers, and contacting manufacturers with questions when necessary.   We may not be able to eliminate 100% of everything that contains this dangerous chemical, but by being careful, we can help keep our birds and ourselves as safe as possible until manufacturers own up to the dangers and care more about the customer than their profit.

My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a bird because of this.  

If you would like to read more, visit the links below.

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