Environmental Working Group Studies Teflon Toxicity in Birds
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

May 2003 News

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment, is studying teflon toxicity in birds. In humans, the condition is termed 'polymer fume fever.'

Teflon toxicity is due to the inhalation of toxic fumes from a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which is used in many brands of nonstick cookware and stain repellant products. When heated to a high temperature, PTFE releases a toxic gas, which has very serious effects on the sensitive respiratory system of birds, resulting in serious illness and even death. In humans, it can also cause sickness, especially in persons with underlying respiratory disease.

The EWG is hoping to increase awareness of PTFE Toxicosis among bird owners, and is collecting reports of PTFE toxicity and deaths in birds. Anyone having an experience with a bird death related to PTFE is encouraged to contact the EWG at:

Anne Morgan
Environmental Working Group
1436 U Street NW
Suite 100
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 667-6982
Fax: (202) 232-2592
E-Mail: morgan@ewg.org

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