WARNING: Teflon, Non-stick Coatings, PFOA's and other coatings deadly to your Parrots

wrench13

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Most (but not all) parrot owners are aware of the toxic effects of these 'wonder' coatings, but I wanted to post a specific thread on this, for all to see.
Teflon and a whole barrel of alternate coatings, going under a large variety of trade names, emit toxic to parrots fumes when they are heated. Cookware is where most folks expect to find these coatings - pots, pans, baking sheets, etc, bu they also are used in a myriad of other applications around the home.
They are used on:
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Heating elements in a wide array of products, like hair dryers, crock pots, coffee makers, etc Used to provide corrosion protection to the metal element.
  • Stain resistant/proof clothing, fabrics used on furniture, even a spray on version you can apply
  • Oven coatings, triggered by the 'self cleaning cycle' which goes to crazy high temperatures to burn off crud
  • The list of applications gets bigger every day

So these chemicals are not that toxic when used within their designed temperature range; the problem is when they are heated above that. Think about how many times you have burned your food by overheating, or over zapped the popcorn in the microwave, or over used the hair dryer to the point where it shuts off itself. Its then the toxic fumes are really emitted and are deadly. We read about the death of parrots several times a year here on ParrotForums, and that is just a small number of birds compared to the overall number of owners who are not members.

THese chemicals, collectively known in industry as PFOS and PFOA have also recently become known as "Forever Chemicals". By their very chemical nature, they are inert (non-reactive) to almost everything, which makes them ideal for the applications above. However they also can't be digested by living creatures, like us, and are readily retained in living tissue, and they don't breakdown in soil - ever! They are so pervasive in use that newborn babys have been found to have these already in their bodies at birth! It is thought that more then 99.8% of all living creatures already have some amount of these chemicals in their bodies and that keeps getting higher! It is unknown what the long term effects of having these in living tissue are. Industry is just now starting to realize the problem and taking (baby) steps to reduce their use.

Be aware of these chemicals in your home, especially on cookware. Understand that manufacturers are primarily concerned with the effects on HUMANS, not parrots, and claims of safety are geared to people, and then to "pets", meaning dogs/cats. Very rarely are they studied against the effects on birds. And, in industry, changing just one molecule in these highly complex polyfluorene based chemicals allows the makers to say "Teflon Free". It is still in the PFOA/PFOS family, just not that specific chemistry that DuPont registers under the name "Teflon". Just because a pot rr other cookware does not say Teflon does not mean it is safe. Any non-stick coating must be considered as un-safe for your parrot.
 

texsize

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So…
the cookware in Amazon listed as
PFOA/PFOS free can still have toxic coating?

I switched all our cookware to ceramic coating.
tends to not last as long but it works.
 

Jcas

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So important for people to know this. I wasn’t aware of how dangerous non-stick coatings were when I first got birds but fortunately never killed any of them because of toxic pots and pans. We recently did a total clean out of any dangerous pots and pans that might still be lurking in our kitchen cabinets and it’s crazy how many things have non-stick coatings. We’ve switched to glass, stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron. It’s really not too hard to get used to using non-stick products and most of them are much more durable than the cheap, coated steel products so they are a worthwhile investment. Quite frankly, if they can kill my birds, I don’t want them near myself or my family either! One other thing to add to the list: air fryers usually have a non-stick coating.
 

hiriki

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ugh idk what to do, we have teflon pans but my parents dont want to change them, because u know, costs money. and pebbles is next to the kitchen...😭
Are you able to move Pebbles? Obviously the ideal scenario would be to have no nonstick coated items in your home, but moving your bird away from the kitchen would help protect not only from chemical fumes but also from general cooking fumes!!

Birds can also be harmed by smoke from cooking even without the presence of chemical toxins. For example, I have a friend who lost two IRN parrots when his mom was cooking with chili peppers--smoke/steam from spicy food is particularly dangerous but any kind of smoke can be harmful. Whenever possible I tell my friends with birds that there should be a wall and a closed door between bird cages and the kitchen.
 
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wrench13

wrench13

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So…
the cookware in Amazon listed as
PFOA/PFOS free can still have toxic coating?

I switched all our cookware to ceramic coating.
tends to not last as long but it works.
Wade, if they state PFOA/PFOS free one can hope they are safe. If the item says the item is non-stick, and was made in China.... for me all bets are off. The Chinese are chemical GENIUSES (they even created a artificial hard boiled egg) and I don't trust them as far as I can throw a Volkswagen.
 

pebbles1553

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Are you able to move Pebbles? Obviously the ideal scenario would be to have no nonstick coated items in your home, but moving your bird away from the kitchen would help protect not only from chemical fumes but also from general cooking fumes!!

Birds can also be harmed by smoke from cooking even without the presence of chemical toxins. For example, I have a friend who lost two IRN parrots when his mom was cooking with chili peppers--smoke/steam from spicy food is particularly dangerous but any kind of smoke can be harmful. Whenever possible I tell my friends with birds that there should be a wall and a closed door between bird cages and the kitchen.
yes, unfortunately there isn't really another place we could put her...
 

texsize

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yes, unfortunately there isn't really another place we could put her...
Unfortunately my Tiels are in the same situation.
We make sue we use the vent over the stove when cooking and open the kitchen window a smidge even in winter.
keep some fresh air coming in and help the fumes exit through the vent.
 

GaleriaGila

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Most (but not all) parrot owners are aware of the toxic effects of these 'wonder' coatings, but I wanted to post a specific thread on this, for all to see.
Teflon and a whole barrel of alternate coatings, going under a large variety of trade names, emit toxic to parrots fumes when they are heated. Cookware is where most folks expect to find these coatings - pots, pans, baking sheets, etc, bu they also are used in a myriad of other applications around the home.
They are used on:
  • Microwave popcorn bags
  • Heating elements in a wide array of products, like hair dryers, crock pots, coffee makers, etc Used to provide corrosion protection to the metal element.
  • Stain resistant/proof clothing, fabrics used on furniture, even a spray on version you can apply
  • Oven coatings, triggered by the 'self cleaning cycle' which goes to crazy high temperatures to burn off crud
  • The list of applications gets bigger every day

So these chemicals are not that toxic when used within their designed temperature range; the problem is when they are heated above that. Think about how many times you have burned your food by overheating, or over zapped the popcorn in the microwave, or over used the hair dryer to the point where it shuts off itself. Its then the toxic fumes are really emitted and are deadly. We read about the death of parrots several times a year here on ParrotForums, and that is just a small number of birds compared to the overall number of owners who are not members.
I THINK it was)
THese chemicals, collectively known in industry as PFOS and PFOA have also recently become known as "Forever Chemicals". By their very chemical nature, they are inert (non-reactive) to almost everything, which makes them ideal for the applications above. However they also can't be digested by living creatures, like us, and are readily retained in living tissue, and they don't breakdown in soil - ever! They are so pervasive in use that newborn babys have been found to have these already in their bodies at birth! It is thought that more then 99.8% of all living creatures already have some amount of these chemicals in their bodies and that keeps getting higher! It is unknown what the long term effects of having these in living tissue are. Industry is just now starting to realize the problem and taking (baby) steps to reduce their use.

Be aware of these chemicals in your home, especially on cookware. Understand that manufacturers are primarily concerned with the effects on HUMANS, not parrots, and claims of safety are geared to people, and then to "pets", meaning dogs/cats. Very rarely are they studied against the effects on birds. And, in industry, changing just one molecule in these highly complex polyfluorene based chemicals allows the makers to say "Teflon Free". It is still in the PFOA/PFOS family, just not that specific chemistry that DuPont registers under the name "Teflon". Just because a pot rr other cookware does not say Teflon does not mean it is safe. Any non-stick coating must be considered as un-safe for your parrot.
Bless ya, Wrenchie. I remember back when (I THINK it was) Kentuckienne who posted a pic of a regular aluminum pan she had burned up, accidentally of course. She is one of the most scrupulous and careful parronts I know, yet that happened. She made the point that this was why she never has ANY dangerous teflon around. Because that makes a terrible accident possible, even with the most attentive cook!!!!!!!!!
 

PeentPeent

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Can someone please help ease my pain? I had two little ones (4 months and a 12 weeks) pass so suddenly in my arms within a month. We got henkle pans and they said pfe and pfoa free . But both instances I was cooking in the oven I have aluminum pans.

First one was happy and then went downhill super fast. Heart fast panting wobbly and was gone

Second time she had the same symptoms but vommitted as well


I have a space heater I use for my desk not at the birds are those ok?

Can someone please tell me if you think it was my gas stove or henkle pans I'm tossing them all out now I don't know if aluminum sheets are nonstick or not but I need closure and I can't go through this again my heart's allready shattered I got rid of anything I can think of. I don't use chemical cleaners or anything like that I can only think it's my oven and I was cooking at those times :( it was so fast so very fast please
 

texsize

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I looked it up
https://www.amazon.com/Henckels-Gra...ords=henkel+frying+pans&qid=1708140335&sr=8-4

I don’t see where it says PFOA free.
also only rated to 400 deg. F
the danger point for Teflon is about 450.
so it makes me think that they aren’t safe..

I am not expert on cookware but generally a green or white coating is safe.
usuly indicates ceramic coating.

I am very sorry for your loss.
I know how much it hurts because I blame myself for one of my Amazons passing in a horrible way.
 
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wrench13

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I created this thread specifically to make parronts aware of the danger, so many are not . My deep sympathies to anyone who has lost a loved parrot due to this hidden danger, so present in modern life. A moments inattention and as Gail pointed out, a pan or pot or baking tin can rapidly exceed the 'safe' temperature. I've burned my share of cookery believe me! But we are a strict stainless steel or cast iron house, for a long time.
 

Free as a bird

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ugh idk what to do, we have teflon pans but my parents dont want to change them, because u know, costs money. and pebbles is next to the kitchen...😭
It's not so bad as long as those pans don't get too hot. Make sure the pan doesn't start smoking. My electric stove top doesn't emit much heat which is frustrating cos I can't properly sear my steaks or make a good stir fry but its good cos I can't accidentally burn the coating on the pan.

Here are some other alternatives especially if you want to do some high temp cooking.

Stainless steel is a classic for hot cooking but it sticks and one has to know when and how to use one. With a steak you have to keep moving it around.

A wok is another popular one used by many Asians. It can take extreme heat. But again one must have the knowledge to use one. I don't

A cast-iron skillet is one the best ways to cook a steak in my opinion apart from a grill top. Easy to use, disadvantage is their so thick and heavy and take a while to heat up but get very hot eventually.

Surfaces I'm unsure of are ceramic coating, those pans that have a stone finish on them and pans made for induction stove tops 🤔
 
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We get the most use out of our cast iron skillet. After they are aged properly (not a difficult process), a bit of cooking spray and they are essentially non-stick.
 

Free as a bird

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We get the most use out of our cast iron skillet. After they are aged properly (not a difficult process), a bit of cooking spray and they are essentially non-stick.
Be careful of those cooking sprays they are full of aerosoles and stuff which aren't good for humans or birds either. Oil is the best stuff to use
 

Free as a bird

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Its an olive oil spray, BTW.
Well there are two types of spray delivery systems.

One uses pump pressure and is usually in a plastic bottle, they're ok.

The other is in a metal can and uses pressurised aerosols to deliver a continuous spray of oil. Thats the most unsafest option. They have butane in some of them as well.
 

pebbles1553

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Unfortunately my Tiels are in the same situation.
We make sue we use the vent over the stove when cooking and open the kitchen window a smidge even in winter.
keep some fresh air coming in and help the fumes exit through the vent.
ok i will try that, thx!
 

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Thanks for reminding us of the pervasive nature of PFAs, Wrench! It’s an insidious problem. In a side note, the ‘ceramic’ nonstick pans are made using something called ‘Sol-Gel’ which is basically a silicon-based slurry with various other metals, acid or base, sprayed on a pan and heated to form a ceramic-like coating.

It isn’t as durable as Teflon and the pans usually only last a couple of years, vs 10 years for a quality Teflon pan. The most durable pans are stainless steel, cast iron, and carbon steel - or real enameled cast iron. The cast iron and carbon steel pans accumulate a layer of carbon molecules called seasoning which makes them nonstick (think graphite lubricant) and if they get overheated or over cleaned or rusted they can be fully restored. Stainless can be cleaned and scrubbed.

Some sources say that ‘ceramic’ pans release small amounts of silicon oil when heated, and when that’s all gone the pans lose their non-stick quality, but that seems unlikely to me. Here is a well-written article where the author has a different theory which is plausible: the topmost layer of the ceramic coating has special molecules which are eventually abraded away. Here is the link for the science-curious:

I bought a toaster oven a couple years back with a stainless interior, not nonstick. I still set it up outside the house and used it several times at the highest setting to burn off whatever, and it seems safe. Same with space heaters and any appliance with a heat element - I keep it out of the house at first. So far so good.
 
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Kentuck, PFOA/PFOS coatings on heating elements in everything from crockpots to hair dryers to space heaters are a slippery slope. One might feel confident in using these appliances (after any manufacturing oils are burned off OUTSIDE the house). HOWEVER, should the built in cut-off circuit in the item fail or allow the temperature of the heating element to exceed design specs, they too could release the toxic fumes that are so deadly to our parrots. As I said earlier - I trust the Chinese manufacturers not at all, and if the article was made there...... We always hunt for items that specifically are found to not have any coatings on the heating elements, example Mueller brand toaster ovens. If you must use the CHina made item, make sure to never allow the item to shut off due to temperature issues. Hair dryers come to mind to me, as my thick and luxuriant hair often needs extensive dryer time, if I choose to use one. If I dont take a break in the middle, the hair dryer does shut itself off and needs cooling down time. As a result, I almost never use it.
 

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