Teflon: Bird Owners Beware

Quoted as being the “leading cause of death” amongst birds, Teflon toxicosis kills thousands of household pets a year. While many avian veterinarians have known of the problem since the mid-1980s, it is a danger many owners are not aware of.

When under the right conditions, Teflon pans and cookware can release gasses lethal to birds within ten minutes of exposure. Some experts debate that extreme human judgment or temperatures must be in place to omit such fumes, but as several unlucky owners have found out, even under normal cooking conditions the toxins can be present.

As reported on ewg.com, several documented ordinary kitchen instances have led to bird deaths:

· New Teflon-lined Amana oven was used to bake biscuits at 325°F; all the owner’s baby parrots died

· Four stovetop burners, underlined with Teflon-coated drip pans, were preheated in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner; 14 birds died within 15 minutes

· Nonstick cookie sheet was placed under oven broiler to catch the drippings; 107 chicks died

· Self-cleaning feature on the oven was used; a $2,000 bird died

· Set of Teflon pans, including egg poaching pan, were attributed to seven bird deaths over seven years

· Water burned off a hot pan; more than 55 birds died

· Electric skillet at 300°F and space heater were used simultaneously; pet bird died

· Toaster oven with a non-stick coating was used to prepare food at a normal temperature; bird survived but suffered respiratory distress

· Water being heated for hot cocoa boiled off completely; pet bird died

· Grill plate on gas stove used to prepare food at normal temperatures; two birds died on two separate occasions

In cases of Teflon toxicosis, the effect on the bird is grossly gruesome. The lungs of the birds hemorrhage, filling with fluid and leading to suffocation within a matter of minutes. Signs of this disease are apparent, beginning with rapid blinking and open beak panting and leading to stretching, flapping, and chirping. Ultimately, this behavior leads to one final convulsion and immediate death.

So if Teflon has such a great affect on birds, what does it do to humans? Science has not run enough tests to effectively know. However, the most suggested bet for the safety of your pets and family, is to ease Teflon products out of your household.

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