Environmental Working Group Seeks Input On PTFE-Related Deaths

By Ann Morgan
Administrative Assistant
Environmental Working Group
1436 U Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-6982
Email: morgan@ewg.org

I am writing on behalf of Environmental Working Group (EWG) regarding avian health. We are currently working on an issue known as PTFE Toxicosis or Teflon Toxicity (in humans it is called Polymer Fume Fever).

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the synthetic polymer (CF2CF2) used in most nonstick cookware including such recognizable brand names as Teflon, Silverstone, Calphalon, All-Clad, Circulon, Emerilware, Farberware, Meyer, KitchenAid, Krups, and George Foreman as well as stain repellent products such as StainMaster and Scotchgard. When heated to high temperatures, PTFE undergoes a process known as pyrolysis and releases a toxic gas. This gas has very serious effects on the sensitive respiratory system of birds. Bird deaths have also occurred from exposure to furniture coated with stain repellent.

According to a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 6.9 million households own a total of 19 million birds. Far too few of these households are aware of the potential for accidentally poisoning their beloved pet birds and many otherwise preventable deaths have resulted. The relative obscurity of this danger is our motivation for contacting you.

We are in the process of collecting as many stories of PTFE-related (Teflon, Scotchgard, etc.) bird deaths as possible. We ask your cooperation in this process. If you are anyone you know have had any experience with a PTFE-related bird death, please contact me at EWG by phone, mail or email.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.