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Nonstick Cookware Can Kill Birds

One of the companies that makes a nonstick cookware product (DuPont Teflon®) has been sending letters to webmasters demanding that they remove any reference of their product (Teflon®) harming birds from their web pages.

This is a quote from their letter:

"As such, we ask that you remove all references to DuPont Teflon® from your
internet website by week day, November XX, 2002. Please confirm in writing
your compliance to this request so we can note our records" (date changed
to protect the recipient of this letter)

This web page is my effort to clear up any misconceptions about nonstick products, and the use of the word "Teflon®" on web pages. This page is in the public domain so anyone is free to link to it, copy it to their web site, or email it. There is no copyright on this page so feel free to do whatever you want with it.

Web site owners can use the word Teflon® to talk about the dangers of PTFE as long as they use the trademark symbol "®" with the word, and also mention that it isn't just the Teflon® brand but all nonstick products that emit dangerous fumes.

Pans, as well as other products treated with the non-stick coating polytetrafluorethylene, which are referred to by a number of names including Teflon®, Innovex 75T nonstick coating, and Thermo-SpotT as well as others, can cause the death of birds if overheated. Dupont, which manufactures Teflon® has a bird safety page online that admits, if you read to the very bottom of the page, that fumes from overheated PTFE products such as Teflon® can harm your bird. Your own veterinarian can confirm that fumes from overheated PTFE products, including but not limited to Teflon®, can and does kill birds very quickly.

This information needs to be on the product label so that customers, if they have pet birds, will be aware of the problem before they make the purchase.

Environmental Working Group(EWG) -- News articles and general information on the dangers of PTFE.

The Silent Killer -- An informative article about the dangers of PTFE to pet birds. Discusses the history of PTFE, its harmful properties, and lists many products containing it.

TeflonTM poisoning: The Silent Killer by Dr. Darrel K. Styles---

The Nature Chest Bird Shop -- A news letter on the dangers of PTFE from someone who has had first hand experience with it.

The degradation products of PTFE have been known to be extremely toxic to humans for 50 years. See: Harris, D.K., _The Lancet_ 1008 (1951).

The San Antonio Zoo in Texas lost 21 birds in an outdoor aviary awhile back. Their death was caused when the birds gathered by lights that the zoo had installed so that the birds could warm themselves in an outdoor aviary. The bulbs had been coated with PTFE.

Blandford TB, Seamon PJ, Hughes R, Pattison M, Wilderspin MP. "A case of polytetrafluoroethylene poisoning in cockatiels accompanied by polymer fume fever in the owner." Veterinary Record, 1975, V.96, No. 8, p.175-176.

Duff P. "Acute inhalant toxicosis of cagebirds." Veterinary Record,1997, V. 141, No. 4, p. 107.

Ehrsam H. ["Fatal poisoning of small pet birds following accidental overheating of cooking pans lined with polytetrafluorethylene."] Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd (Switzerland), 1969, V. 111, No. 4, p. 181-186.

Forbes NA, Jones D. "PTFE toxicity in birds." Veterinary Record, 1997, V. 140, N. 19, p. 512.

Holt PE. "PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) toxicity in birds." Veterinary Record, 1997, V. 141, No. 7, p. 180.

Lumeij JT. ["Risk for pet birds following exposure to burn products of pans coated with PTFE and butter."] Tijdschr Diergeneeskd (Netherlands), 1997, Vol. 122, No. 24, p. 720.

Stoltz JH, Galey F, Johnson B. "Sudden death in ten psittacine birds associated with the operation of a self-cleaning oven." Veterinary and Human Toxicology, 1992, Vol. 34, No. 5, p. 420-421.

Temple WA, Edwards IR, Bell SJ. "Poly (polymer) fume fever - two fatal cases (cage birds)." New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 1985, Vol. 33, No. 3, p. 30.

Temple WA, Edwards IR, Bell SJ. "Poly fume fever - two fatal cases (poisoning of Psittaciformes by fumes from heated teflon saucepans)." Australian Veterinary Practitioner, 1985, Vol. 15, No. 2, p. 66.

Wells RE. "Fatal toxicosis in pet birds caused by an overheated cooking pan lined with polytetrafluoroethylene." Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1983, Vol. 182, No. 11, p. 1248-1250.

Wells RE, Slocombe RF, Trapp AL. "Acute toxicosis of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) caused by pyrolysis products from heated polytetrafluoroethylene: clinical study." American Journal of Veterinary Research, 1982, Vol. 43, No. 7, p. 1238-1242.

Wells RE, Slocombe RF. "Acute toxicosis of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) caused by pyrolysis products from heated polytetrafluoroethylene: microscopic study." American Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Vol. 43, No. 7, p. 1243-1248.

Here's a report about Teflon® coated heat lamps allegedly causing raptor deaths. Unfortunately, no reference to the original source is given --

"Another relatively new product is a make of heat lamp, which is designed and markets which is painted on the exterior with Teflon®, In the case involving the heat lamps, the lamps were being used to prevent chilling of raptors that were being kept in otherwise unheated buildings over night. The lamps appeared to function safely for one year, after which time, with continued use at their normal working temperatures, several poisonings occurred. In all 8 birds died over a period of three months. All birds died or were affected by fumes over night. The lamps were the proven source of the fumes. Histopathalogical findings were consistent with Teflon® toxicosis." (source:

Many thanks to Judith and Rex for their invaluable information!

Jackie Collins

Disclaimer: Gore-tex®, SilverStone®and Teflon®are registered trademarks of Dupont Chemical Company. Stainmaster®and Scotchgard®are the registered trademarks of 3M. Guardsman®® is a registered trademark of Lilly Industries. Dupont Chemical Company, 3M, and Lilly Industries do not sponsor or endorse this page

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