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Old 11-13-2016, 04:10 PM
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PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Hi all! I've been relatively inactive for awhile, life has been hectic. I'm currently in the middle of lots of work, sports, as well as in the process of making a bird room, so I've been busy. But recently when I saw someone asking about some ceramic frying pans, it made me want to look a bit more into the dangers of certain products for new members.

That being said, here's some of the stuff I've found. Please feel free to contribute, give criticism, or add anything else you know. I'm no chemist or physiologist, and I'm just sharing a bit of what I've found.


PTFE & PFOA's
UNSAFE
Any non-stick products that contain either of these substances is immensely dangerous to your birds and yourself. PTFE, or Polytetrafluoroethylene (try saying that 5 times fast) is a fluoropolymer commonly used in anything non-stick. It's commonly produced by the Teflon company.

"The reason why PTFE is dangerous is because of its maximum use temperature, which the FDA lists as 260C or 500F. At these temperatures, PTFE releases an off-gas that is harmful when inhaled. As it heats beyond 500F, eventually PTFE releases other particles. At a temperature of 240C, release of PTFE particles has been observed:

- By 290C emission of ultra-fine oxidized particles can occur
- At 360C a cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic gases is given off
- Between 360-600C there is release of TFE (tetrafluoroethylene), a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen
- Above 360-650C there is emission of HFP (hexafluoropropene)
- Above 440C COF2 (carbonyl fluoride) is released - a fluorinated derivative of phosgene, a chemical warfare agent
- Above 440C, PFiB (perfluoroisobutene, a warfare agent 10 times more toxic than phosgene) is detected
- Above 650C, decomposition releases carbon tetrafluoroide (CF4)

Independent tests have shown that a frying pan can easily reach a temperature of 390C or higher in just a few minute on a conventional stove [when on the high setting]."
(http://www.thermolon.com/html_e/imag...ctober2010.pdf)

PFOA's are commonly used in conjuction with PTFE as it is a dispersing agent. PFAO, or Perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as C8 in the past, is known to be toxic and carcinogenic in animals when ingested. While many of the non-stick cookware you may find will list being PTFE free, it must also be PFOA free as well due to its health dangers as it accumulates in the body over time. In fact, studies have shown that 98% of Americans have PFOA in their system.

These two substances are highly toxic to parrots because of their sensitive digestive and respiratory systems. Please remember that while you may not be over heating your non-stick cookware that can result in extreme respiratory distress, any food you heat on a pan with PFOA's may become contaminated and then ingested. There's a good reason these substances are being phased out. Also, when PFOA is released into the air, polymer fume fever is what results in the death of many parrots.

EDIT: The covering Patents on all the above surface coatings and the strict application requirements under those Patents are no longer in place. The result is that the FDA testing results are now useless. The off-gassing and surface breakdown can and is happening at much lower temperatures! This due to the much thinner coatings and substructure, which transfers heat faster causing failures far below the FDA published temperatures. Also, the formulations for the coatings have been weakened resulting in their easier breakdown/off-gassing. (Thanks Sailboat!)

Silicon Bakeware
UNSAFE
Silicon bakeware is becoming very popular due to its nonstick and easy to clean properties. You can buy liners, muffin pans, non-stick sheets, utensils, the list is endless. The FDA does list silicon as inert, non-reactive, and resistant to extreme temperatures, thereby making it safe. However, what may make silicon bakeware dangerous is the curing process used during their production. While a post-cure systems are in place to prevent any potential health hazards for humans, the byproducts left behind may be hugely hazardous for our parrots. The silicon may be non-reactive and produce no off-gases, but the by-products used during the curing might, which can result in extreme respiratory distress.

For example, one curing process is through Peroxide. One byproduct produced is all known to cause respiratory distress in humans when exposed to a large amount, whereas the other is not listed as a human carcinogen, but has caused cancer in rats during large exposure studies. Alternatively, if peroxide vapour is inhaled, it does cause respiratory distress in humans.

While I'm not 100% positive if this is what makes silicon bakeware so dangerous, I imagine it is part of the dangers associated with it. I'm unaware of what other binding agents are used during the production of silicon bakeware that could also be dangerous when heated to parrots. If anyone else finds anything, let me know!

Alternatively, parchment paper or baking paper is also dangerous to parrots. This is because of how it is made. It's made by running pulp through sulfuric acid or zinc chloride: "This process partially dissolves or gelatinizes the paper. This treatment forms a sulfurized cross-linked material with high density, stability, and heat resistance, and low surface energy–thereby imparting good non-stick or release properties." (Silicone Coated Baking Sheets | Sierra Coating).

Ceramic Coating
SAFE IF PTFE & PFOA FREE
Ceramic coating, sometimes referred to as Thermolon, Ceramica, etc., is a relatively "weak" non-stick coating being used in place of PTFE. This is because it does not produce any off-gases. It's made out of silicone oxide (SiO) during a process known as "Sol-Gel". Silicon is, as mentioned above, listed as a safe product. Most ceramic coated pans require only a single coat on top of a substrate, which is what makes them a weaker non-stick surface. They are more likely to wear and have a much shorter non-stick lifespan than PTFE. What is important to note, however, is that many companies do not list what the substrate underneath is. It may be the actual metal of the pan, or it may be something else to help with its non-stick properties that could be potentially hazardous. As listed on the Thermolon FAQ sheet, the interior Thermolon coating involves a "degrease substrate" and a sand blast substrate. What that degrease substrate is, I'm not sure.

While many parronts have been successful in using their ceramic pans, it's important to remember that overheating anything may or may not produce dangerous off-gasses, as we are currently unaware of what the substrate underneath the ceramic coating is. Please remember to use ceramic pans only on low-medium heats. If you notice that the ceramic coating is chipping, be sure to immediately replace it. And as always, ensure that your ceramic pan is both PTFE AND PFOA free. Some pans are listed as PTFE free but not PFOA, or vice-versa.

EDIT: The "degreaser" is probably just a solvent used to clean the pan before coating it with ceramic, and would evaporate in the subsequent firing, so I don't worry about that. My problem with those pans is the poor quality and short life. Cast iron, stainless steel, and porcelain coated cast iron are the best. (Thank you Kentuckienne!)


Please feel free to add anything with the research you can find! This is just what I could cook up in the last hour or so. It's not perfectly written or edited, and as always could use more sources and accurate information.
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Last edited by Dinosrawr; 11-14-2016 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 11-13-2016, 04:48 PM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Well presented and I only have a couple of things to add:

The covering Patents on all the above surface coatings and the strict application requirements under those Patents are no longer in place. The result is that the FDA testing results are now useless.

The off-gassing and surface breakdown can and is happening at much lower temperatures! This due to the much thinner coatings and substructure, which transfers heat faster causing failures far below the FDA published temperatures. Also, the formulations for the coatings have been weakened resulting in their easier breakdown /off-gassing.

Ceramic cookware is the growing segment of the market. Proper manufactured ceramic cookware requires a very strong substructure with a thick layer of ceramic powder applied and then baked on to the substructure (think cast iron bathtubs of old). The process is expensive and the end product is very heavy, but they are excellent products. You will not find this product as part of a "As Seen On TV" offering!

Thank-you for your research and placing it as part of a Thread here on the Parrot Forums!
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Old 11-13-2016, 08:27 PM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Thank you for an excellent post!

I recall a test done by Cook's Illustrated, maybe some ten years past. They tested nonstick pans placed on a heat source with and without something in the pan. An empty pan on the heat quickly reached 600 degrees F, while a pan with food in it stayed at the boiling point of water. They advised always at least putting oil in such a pan before putting it on the heat, to get a visual cue of overheating.

The "degreaser" is probably just a solvent used to clean the pan before coating it with ceramic, and would evaporate in the subsequent firing, so I don't worry about that. My problem with those pans is the poor quality and short life. Cast iron, stainless steel, and porcelain coated cast iron are the best.
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Old 11-13-2016, 10:00 PM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

We threw all our coated pots, pans, everything out. Replaced them all with stainless steel or cast iron. Baking sheets with aluminum or stainless. Hasn't really made a big difference in clean up time, unless some one get careless with the cooking time or technique and then clean ups a *****. But we can cook knowing we are not gonna kill off Salty, and thats a big thing to know.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:48 AM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Thanks much for a comprehensive go-to list!!
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:23 AM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Quote: Originally Posted by Dinosrawr View Post
Ceramic Coating
SAFE IF PTFE & PFOA FREE
Ceramic coating, sometimes referred to as Thermolon, Ceramica, etc., is a relatively "weak" non-stick coating being used in place of PTFE. This is because it does not produce any off-gases. It's made out of silicone oxide (SiO) during a process known as "Sol-Gel". Silicon is, as mentioned above, listed as a safe product. Most ceramic coated pans require only a single coat on top of a substrate, which is what makes them a weaker non-stick surface. They are more likely to wear and have a much shorter non-stick lifespan than PTFE. What is important to note, however, is that many companies do not list what the substrate underneath is. It may be the actual metal of the pan, or it may be something else to help with its non-stick properties that could be potentially hazardous. As listed on the Thermolon FAQ sheet, the interior Thermolon coating involves a "degrease substrate" and a sand blast substrate. What that degrease substrate is, I'm not sure.

While many parronts have been successful in using their ceramic pans, it's important to remember that overheating anything may or may not produce dangerous off-gasses, as we are currently unaware of what the substrate underneath the ceramic coating is. Please remember to use ceramic pans only on low-medium heats. If you notice that the ceramic coating is chipping, be sure to immediately replace it. And as always, ensure that your ceramic pan is both PTFE AND PFOA free. Some pans are listed as PTFE free but not PFOA, or vice-versa.

EDIT: The "degreaser" is probably just a solvent used to clean the pan before coating it with ceramic, and would evaporate in the subsequent firing, so I don't worry about that. My problem with those pans is the poor quality and short life. Cast iron, stainless steel, and porcelain coated cast iron are the best. [I](Thank you Kentuckienne!).
Adding this to this thread because, 'I know what I am doing'! And I am sure there are many of us, like me, that are lax in this area!
I am at a loss on what direction to go! Was out last night looking for a replacement cook pan, big ol glass lid type. Looking at high end ceramic, I read the label... "As with all cookware, have your bird away from the kitchen in a well ventilated area."!! And a 450f deg limit!
Yes, it was 'everything' free!
My daughter lives here and if it isn't nonstick, she is lost! If it is nonstick, it is destroyed in less than a year!
For years, I have been using the stoneware type cookware, knowing the risks,but being very cautious. Well, I am the cook! Last week, at the wife's house, multitasking, I forgot the pan on the stove! Fortunately, it had butter in it! All good, very burned butter, little smoke! Her Bongo was 20 feet away!
The death from this stuff is very ugly! Other than prayers, little can be done!

As should be, I am spooked!
I have a really nice quality stainless set that no one will use!
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Old 11-18-2016, 09:37 AM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Parrots are at risk in the kitchen even with no pans. Gas burners can create carbon monoxide and other toxic gases and birds are very sensitive to this. Heating certain foods can release volatile compounds into the air which might be injurious, and burnt foods create smoke, which is bad because of toxic components including fine particulates. Our house is very small, so it's not feasible to keep the bird far from the kitchen, so I turn the (externally vented) fan on over the stove any time I'm using it and I'm a stainless steel / cast iron / glass junkie.
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Old 07-24-2017, 11:55 AM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Just giving this thread a bump, since Teflon is under discussion in other threads. Additionally, here's a good link explaining PTFE toxicosis in birds:

Teflon Toxicity (PTFE Toxicosis) in Birds: Signs and Prevention
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:00 PM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Is copper cookware ok to use around our birds? I have a set that I would love to use if its safe.

Thanks to all the info here, I have gotten rid of all cookware and replaced it with stainless, but thought I would check on the copper stuff too.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:49 PM
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Re: PTFE's, PFOA's, Silicon, and Ceramic Cook/Bakeware

Quote: Originally Posted by Shine View Post
Is copper cookware ok to use around our birds? I have a set that I would love to use if its safe.

Thanks to all the info here, I have gotten rid of all cookware and replaced it with stainless, but thought I would check on the copper stuff too.
Sorry I'm just seeing this, but yes, copper cookware is safe for use around birds.

Kentuckienne, good instinct bumping this thread again. Upon reviewing it, we've decided it deserves sticky status. Information about the danger of PTFE's and PFOA's in nonstick cookware is vitally important information for any household with a parrot.

***A special thanks to Chantal (Dinosrawr) for starting this thread and putting so much time into the needed research. I don't doubt that your article has saved parrot lives.
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