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Teflon and other non-stick pans kill birds

PFCs: Global Contaminants: Teflon and other non-stick pans kill birds

April 3, 2003

April 2003

Bird enthusiasts and veterinarians have known for decades that Teflon-coated and other non-stick cookware, if heated to high temperatures, is acutely toxic to birds. The peer-reviewed literature contains numerous reports of bird deaths linked to the use of Teflon and other non-stick pans and appliances in the home, beginning about 30 years ago. The birds die abruptly, usually shortly after new non-stick pans are heated for the first time. The ubiquity of the deaths has spurred mention of the problem on at least 100 websites devoted to the care of pet birds.

In 1975, in one of the early peer-reviewed articles on bird deaths, the authors describe the deaths of five pet birds following the owner heating a non-stick (PTFE-coated) pan:

“Five cocatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) died within 30 minutes following exposure to fumes from a frying pan coated with the "non-stick" plastic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) that had accidentally overheated. Within an hour the owner developed symptoms of "polymer fume fever" but recovered in the next 24 hours. Clinical signs and post mortem lesions of the cockatiels are described and reference is made to the unusual susceptibility of parakeets to the pyrolysis products of frying pans coated with PTFE.” [1]

Bird deaths related to nonstick coatings are not restricted to exotic species in the home. A recent article recounts that hours after moving 2400 broiler chicks to a research warehouse at University of Columbia-Missouri, veterinarians noticed that substantial numbers of chicks were dying. Four percent of the chicks died in the first four hours, and within 72 hours more than half of the chicks were dead. After investigating the possibility of many common gas toxicants, scientists traced the deaths to lightbulbs coated with the Teflon chemical PTFE: “Further investigation revealed that the only change in management practice in this facility prior to the onset of the severe mortality problem was the replacement of 48 heat lamp bulbs (one for each pen). The new heat lamp bulbs were polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated. PTFE gas intoxication has been reported in several exotic avian species, but this intoxication has not been previously reported in a poultry flock.” [2].

Scientists have not identified the particular offgas compound from Teflon and other nonstick pans and other kitchen equipment that is responsible for the bird deaths, but among the many chemicals that have been measured in the air when nonstick pans are heated are PFOA and other gases that scientists consider highly toxic [3].


References:

  1. Blandford TB, Seamon PJ, Hughes R, Pattison M, Wilderspin MP. 1975. A case of polytetrafluoroethylene poisoning in cockatiels accompanied by polymer fume fever in the owner. Vet Rec 1975 Feb 22;96(8):175-8.
  2. Boucher M, Ehmler TJ, Bermudez AJ. 2000. Polytetrafluoroethylene gas intoxication in broiler chickens. Avian Dis 2000 Apr-Jun;44(2):449-53.
  3. Ellis DA, Mabury SA, Martin JW, Muir DC. 2001. Thermolysis of fluoropolymers as a potential source of halogenated organic acids in the environment. Nature 2001 Jul 19;412(6844):321-4.

 


Related websites:

upatsix.com
Hazards and
Search their database
Description: Up At Six is a very comprehensive pet bird care website. Lists common household hazards and provides a search engine for research by topic or keywords. Also links to avian associations, aviaries, sanctuaries, shopping, online chat groups, and many other bird-related issues.

Association of Avian Veterinarians: Basic Bird Care
http://www.aav.org/basic_care.htm#Avoid
Description: Association of Avian Veterinarians promotes avian medicine and stewardship. Become a member, find an avian vet, learn about AAV programs and policy statements.

PetPlace.com article: Dangers in the Kitchen
http://www.petplace.com/articles/artShow.asp?artID=3534
Description: PetPlace.com offers access to a wealth of medical and wellness pet information. Features an archive of more than 1350 pet-related articles searchable through a user-friendly database.

The National Cockatiel Society: General Bird Care
http://www.cockatiels.org/articles/care/gencare.html
Description: The official website of the National Cockatiel Society. Features a question and answer bulletin board with scheduled chats and “reading rooms” of cockatiel-related articles.

Planet-Pets.com: Housing/Feeding Birds
http://www.planet-pets.com/feedbrd.htm
Description: Planet Pets serves the public by finding, evaluating, selecting, organizing, and offering quality pet-related information and resources. Features a free online newsletter, kids korner, ask an expert, links to services.

Birds and More
Health issues and
Protecting birds from toxic fumes
Description: Online store for birds and their owners. Includes health tips and general care for your bird.

TalkToTheVet - Caged Bird Housing Considerations
http://www.talktothevet.com/ARTICLES/BIRDS/Pbirdhousing.HTM
Description: Talk To The Vet is an online veterinarian consultation service. Links to vets, free newsletter, pet-specific articles, etc.

Bird Crazy - Safety Guide for Plants and Poisons
http://www.birdcrazy.com/newsite/articles/plants.htm
Description: Bird Crazy is an Online aviary based in San Diego, CA. Comprehensive list of poisonous plants and household poisons and well as a list of safe plants.

Birds N' Ways eZine
http://www.birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww1e.htm
Description: Guide to parrots and other exotic pet birds. Offers dozens of links to shopping, chatting, information and miscellaneous bird-related sites. Offers access to thousands of articles searchable by keyword, topic, author and website.

ASPCA - Managing Pet Bird Toxicoses
http://www.aspca.org/site/Search?query=PTFE&inc=10
Description: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals exists to promote humane principles, prevent cruelty and alleviate fear, pain and suffering in animals. Use the search engine (search “PTFE”) to find a downloadable report “Managing Pet Bird Toxicoses”.


Additional Links:

Starling Talk
http://www.starlingtalk.com/warning.htm

Parrot Parrot
http://www.parrotparrot.com/birdhealth/kola.htm

Exotic Pet Vet
http://www.exoticpetvet.net/about.html

Kaytee
http://www.kaytee.com/companion_animals/birds/health/

PETA
http://www.petauk.org/mc/facts/fsc16.html

Pet Bird Report
http://www.petbirdreport.com/articles/dangers.html

The Parrot Chronicles
http://www.parrotchronicles.com/departments/hazards.htm

Feather Care Aviary
http://home.cogeco.ca/~jjackson283/index.htm

The Parrot Society of Australia
http://www.parrotsociety.org.au/

Stanley’s Quakerville
http://www.quakerville.com/features/ptfe.asp

Lafeber Company
http://www.lafeber.com/docs_book/13/thirty_three_dangers.htm

The Aviary
http://theaviary.com/teflon.shtml

Avitec Exotic Birds
http://www.avitec.com/Birdcare.html

Budgie.org
http://www.budgies.org/info/teflon.html

Those Majestic Macaws!
http://www.exoticbird.com/teflon.html

Taking Care Of Your New Bird
http://www.ddc.com/~kjohnson/safety.htm

Lovebird Center
http://www.lovebirdcenter.com/7hazards.htm

Cockatiel Cottage
http://www.cockatielcottage.net/hazards.html

New England Exotic Bird Sanctuary
http://www.neebs.org/poisons.htm

South Bay Bird Society
http://www.sobaybirdsoc.com/hazards.htm

Austin Bird Club
http://www.austinbirdclub.com/dangerous.htm

Old World Aviaries
http://www.oldworldaviaries.com/text/styles/teflon.html
http://www.oldworldaviaries.com/text/miscellaneous/buying_a_bird.htm

Bignest Aviaries
http://www.bignest.com/food.htm
http://www.bignest.com/misgrey.htm

Wee B Toys
http://www.weebbirds.com/firstaid.htm

Pet Bird Care Safety Tips and Information
http://members.tripod.com/~DAdams/qkbrdinf.html

Parrot Online
http://www.parrotline.org/teflon.html

Bella Online
http://bellaonline.com/articles/art3973.asp

Senegal
http://www.makasnest.com/senegal/Teflon/toxins.htm

Feathers and Tails
http://www.feathersandtails.org/holiday.html

Birds By Donna
http://www.birdsbydonna.com/BIRDS_BY_DONNA/Basic_Bird_Cax.html

Kindness Club
http://www.kindnessclub.nb.ca/pets/BirdSafety.html

Rockport Roost
http://www.rockportroost.com/Birdsafetytips.htm

Animal Lovers Pet Shop
http://www.animalloverspetshop.com/whatsnew.htm

The Real Macaw
http://www.realmacaw.com/pages/tielcare.html

Wool-N-Wings
http://www.parrots.com/faq-hn.htm

African Lovebird Society
http://www.africanlovebirdsociety.com/lovebirdcare/

North American Cockatiel Society
http://www.cockatiel.org/articles/hazards.html

Angel Wings Aviary
http://www.parrot-breeder.com/parrothazards.htm

A&M Aviaries
http://www.petbirdbreeder.com/hazards.htm

The Animal Clinic of Clifton
http://www.pethealthcare.net/html/body_household_dangers.html

Birdsafe.com
http://www.birdsafe.com/story_bird33.htm

NetPets
http://www.netpets.org/birds/healthspa/poisons2.html

Arizona Avian Breeders Association
http://azavianbreeders.org/BirdCare.shtml

Avian Avenue
http://zachary.avianavenue.com/BirdSafety.html

Ask Dr. Petra
http://www.drpetra.com/Birds/Household%20Dangers.htm

Long Island Parrot Society of New York
http://www.liparrotsociety.org/harmful.htm
http://www.liparrotsociety.org/teflon!.htm

The Grey Place
http://www.africangreys.com/hints/emergency.htm

Birds Birds Birds!
http://parrotfeathers.tripod.com/care.htm

The Family Pet Show
http://www.familypetshow.com/toxocosis.html

Doctors Foster and Smith
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Articles/bird_commoninjuries.cfm

Parrots Canada
http://www.parrotscanada.com/birdowner/forthenewbirdowner.html

Birds Just Wanna Have Fun
http://www.birdsjustwannahavefun.com/durability_info.htm

American Animal Hospital Association
http://www.healthypet.com/Library/prevent-18.html

Soldan’s Feed and Pet Supplies
http://www.soldanspet.com/petperspectives/bird_basics.htm

British Columbia SPCA
http://www.spca.bc.ca/Factsheets/birdcare.htm

The Avian Medicine Chest
http://www.petmedicinechest.com/avian/discussions/chemicalpoisoningtext.asp

Pet Parrot Club UK
http://www.petparrotclubuk.co.uk/help/hazards.htm

The Pet Bird Website
http://www.petbird.co.uk/housedangers.htm

Quaker Parakeet
http://www.quakerparakeet.com/b4ubuy.html

Houston Pet Talk
http://www.houstonpettalk.com/Column_Bird_Buddies.htm

Hex Aviary
http://www.hexaviary.com/hexlocal.htm

Birds of a Feather
http://www.boaf.com/article_11.htm

All Creatures Animal Hospital
http://www.all-creatures.com/care/bird.htm

Feathered Friends Forever
http://www.featheredfriendsforever.org/homesafety.html

Bird Crazy
http://www.birdcrazy.com/toxins.htm

The Parrotlet Parlour
http://www.theparrotletparlour.com/Parrotlet_Hazards.shtml

The Windhover Veterinary Center
http://www.windhovervet.com/birdcare.htm

Arizona Bird Supply
http://www.azbirdsupply.com/bird%20care_basics.htm

The PetCARE Information Center
http://petcare.umn.edu/OPets/Articles/BirdTox.htm

The Holistic Bird Newsletter
http://www.holisticbirds.com/HBN01/octnov/pages/chronic1.htm

Win Rose Animal Hospital
http://www.winrosevet.com/Birds.htm

Harmony’s World of Pets
http://www.petvets.com/petcare/birdscolumn.html

Janice’s Bird Haven
http://www.wtv-zone.com/JaniceMarr/feathered/Care.html

The Bird Hotline
http://www.birdhotline.com/vet.htm

The True Parrot
http://thetrueparrot.homestead.com/EnvironmentalNeeds.html

The Grey-cheeked Parakeet
http://www.lib.montana.edu/~bmarsh/cheeky/dosdonts.html

Dandy the African Grey Parrot
http://www.vdnent.com/html/articles/part_behav_be-a-bird.htm

Quaker Parrots
http://www.quakerparrots.com/qtips/more_thoughts_on_teflon.htm/
http://www.quakerparrots.com/qtips/dangers_of_teflon.htm

Animal Rescue League of Iowa
http://www.arl-iowa.org/PetCare/Birds.asp

Wasatch Avian Education Society
http://www.wasatchavian.com/fosterguide.html

Dane County Humane Society
http://www.humanesociety.dane.wi.us/care/bird_groom.html

Montreal Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital
http://www.birdandexoticvet.com/avian.html

Parrot Passions UK
http://www.parrotpassionsuk.com/Advice/hazards.htm

Birdlife
http://www.birdlife.com/care/dangers.html

Pretty Birds
http://www.prettybirds.net/Parrotsafehome.htm

The Animal Network
http://www.animalnetwork.com/birds/library/articleview3.asp?Section=&RecordNo=2721

Pet Finder
http://www.petfinder.org/journalindex.cgi?path=/public/animalcare/bird/1.3.404.txt

Budgies ’N Tiels
http://www.budgies-n-tiels.com/contents/health.html

Pair o' Keets and Qweak n' Tails
http://www.geocities.com/monicaarnouk/BirdHazards.htm

SunConure
http://www.sunconure.com/safety.html

Give Us A Home
http://www.giveusahome.co.uk/birds/faq.htm

Eve’s India
http://www.evesindia.com/family/pets/bird_safety.html

MSN Health
http://content.health.msn.com/content/article/35/1728_84136

Pet Education
http://www.peteducation.com:80/article.cfm?cls=15&cat=1829&articleid=2418 http://www.peteducation.com:80/article.cfm?cls=15&cat=1912&articleid=1559

North Fork Animal Hospital
http://www.northforkanimalhospital.com/animals/birds/birds_quaker.htm