The Danger of Teflon (PTFE)

Lately there has been an awakening about the dangers of Teflon towards birds. Teflon is actually DuPont's trademarked name for Tetrafluoroethylene which is found most commonly in non-stick cookware. Polytetraflouethylene (PTFE) is not only found in the fumes of Teflon products, but other brands of product as well.

Like carbon monoxide, PTFE is odorless and invisible. It travels through the air unnoticed. In humans PTFE causes flu-like symptoms; in birds PTFE kills.

All birds have sensitive respiratory systems and PTFE poisoning can cause a traumatic and painful death to birds. There has been much debate over the exact temperature at which these fumes occur. Originally it was believed that PTFE poisoning only occurred when Teflon and other similar products were heated to extremely high temperatures. But lately it has been reported happening with temperatures below 300° F.

You may be thinking that you only use your nonstick pots and pans at low temperatures so you will be safe. Don't make that assumption. A day may come when you may accidently leave a pan on a hot burner, or your kids or someone helping you out at a party may not know and cook something at a high temperature and by the time the mistake is realized it may be too late.

And PTFE fumes can be emitted from many other common household products:

PTFE is commonly found in.

If you are not sure if a product contains PTFE, call or write the manufacturer of the product to verify before buying it or using it. Also check out other resources on PTFE including the following: