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Bringing Back the Magic: A Transformational Memior
Protecting our Birds from Toxic Fumes
By Margaret T. Wright

REMEMBER THE CANARIES? They were used by coal miners as "warning signs" for any toxic fumes: if the birds died, the miners knew to vacate the premises immediately. That's because our birds' respiratory systems are more efficient than ours and they are affected by toxins quicker than we are. Due to their small size, high metabolic rate, low body fat AND efficient respiratory system, our birds can die quickly when exposed to airborne toxins. One of the worst dangers is the non-stick ingredient, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which comes under the brand names, TEFLON, SUPRA, SILVERSTONE, and many others. Basically, anything that has a non-stick surface can kill your bird.

When cookware with PTFE (ANY NON-STICK COOKWARE) is over heated, it breaks down and emits several types of organic gases and hydrofluoric acid: the gases and acid attack the air sacs of the birds almost immediately. Also, after "Teflon" or other non-stick surfaces are scratched or tainted in any way, they are susceptible to breakdown of the acid and gases, no matter the temperatures.

As the world becomes more modernized and the push is for more convenience, the grip of "PTFE" on many different products has escalated. Always check with manufacturers to make sure their products are "PTFE free." Be careful and avoid the following types of products that have non-stick coatings:

  • pots/pans
  • hair dryers
  • drip pans
  • space heaters
  • heat lamps
  • broiler pans 
  • irons
  • stove top burners
  • griddles
  • bread makers 
  • coffee makers
  • waffle makers
  • electric skillet
  • woks
  • crock pots
  • hot air poppers
  • lollipop molds
  • stock pots
  • roasters
  • pizza pans 
  • tortilla presses
  • stove top burners
  • computer printers
  • non-stick rolling pans
  • never-stick stainless steel 
  • ironing board covers
  • ceramic top cooking stoves
  • MANY



Maggie Wright is a marketing consultant and expert on African Grey parrots. She wrote the popular Barron's pet manual on Greys: African Grey Parrots: A Complete Pet Owner's Manual. She created the Grey Play Round Table®, which is an informative website with information on how to care for Greys. She is the creator/publisher of Nature's Corner® Magazine. For more information, refer to the following sites:

ll rights reserved. This article cannot be copied in any form without the consent of the author. © 2000-2007

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