Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
1 October 2000 Issue

Warning !! Household Hazards to Companion Birds
From Bill Dollinger - [email protected]

Recently, Friends of Animals was contacted by a very distressed man who had just found thirteen of his sixteen birds lying dead in their cages. The deaths were due to something called PTFE intoxication, or Teflon poisoning. The deaths were traced back to a Teflon-coated pressure cooker the family had just used for the first time. When the pot was heated, gaseous fumes were given off causing the birds to suffer respiratory distress and failure. According to necropsy reports, one bird's brain exploded and two others' lungs filled with blood, drowning them.

If you live with companion birds, please take the following precautions to minimize their risk of PTFE intoxication:

  1. Never keep birds in the kitchen. (In addition to PTFE toxicity, they run the risk of burning themselves.) However, note that birds do not have to be in the same room where Teflon fumes start in order to be poisoned.

  2. Don't leave Teflon cookware unattended.

  3. Do not overheat Teflon cookware.

  4. Do not use heat lamps or portable heaters made with Teflon.

  5. Do not use the self-cleaning feature on your oven.

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