Teflon (PTFE) Deadly for Birds



Do you have fowl or exotic birds, and use heat lamps? Thinking of putting in shatter-resistant bulbs? Think again! They are frequently coated with PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) which, when heated, can create noxious fumes. When the birds breathe these fumes, it causes pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs, causing respiratory failure and death, usually within a few hours. Package labels don’t give any warnings about this potential problem!

While manufactures like DuPont believe their product is safe for all uses the University of Missouri documented the death of about 1,000 broiler chicks exposed to offgas products from coated heat lamps.

Teflon coated items and non-stick cookware can also create fumes when cooking and creates a deadly situation for birds.  The following incidents have been documented in the past few decades:

Bird deaths have been documented during or immediately after the following normal cooking scenarios:

  • New Teflon-lined Amana oven was used to bake biscuits at 325°F; all owner’s baby parrots died.
  • Four stove top 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 chicks died.

This toxic exposure affects all species of birds not just exotic or chickens, but all birds. The fumes developed from overheating some reports state that overheating occurs at 600 degrees, but some reports state that as low as 325 can cause death for the birds, the affect is caused by gaseous fumes that are odorless and unseen. This is not just an result of cookware, but heat lamps used to keep your birds warm that are coated with PTFE.

 This gas travels rapidly and birds begin to die or become ill in order of their proximity to the gas source.  Again, the signs observed are acute death or respiratory distress, which may be quickly followed by death. Again, all types of birds are affected, from finches and canaries to macaws and Amazons.  If the bird is exposed and manages to survive, then medical attention will be required to ensure the bird’s continued survival.

Fallen Feathers strongly encourages that you ensure the well-being and safety of your pet birds by evaluating your cookware and heat lamps for their protect. For more information, please contact us.

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