Teflon in unexpected places - a warning

I’m well aware of the dangers of teflon. Before I brought home Barney I threw away anything I thought may have possibly been made out of teflon - our sandwich press, most of our pans… While I didn’t know for sure whether they were teflon coated or not, I didn’t particularly want to take the risk. I thought I’d removed everything that had teflon that could be heated out of the house. Wrong!In my insomnia ridden state I thought it might be a good idea to straighten the mop on my head that some refer to as “hair”. So I grabbed my hair straightener, brought it into the lounge (my hair’s long enough that I don’t need a mirror and I wanted to be comfortable, dammit.), plugged it in and sat around for a bit while waiting for it to heat up. Fwiw, Barney sleeps in my bedroom at night, which is practically the next room over (yay for having a small-ish unit), with the door shut so my insomniac antics don’t disturb him during the night.This hair straightener takes a couple of minutes to heat up, so for some reason I was looking at the heated parts while I waited and I thought to myself “I wonder what this ‘ceramic’ stuff is made out of,”. I find the model number, go into google, and bam:http://www.remington-products.com.au/Haircare/Straighteners/remau_cs1200d.htm"Ceramic + Teflon® coated plates protect against hair damage."ARGH, GOD DAMMIT. What the hell is a goddamn hair straightener doing being coated in teflon?! It was a gift from my aunt a couple of years back and the box is LONG gone, but what the hell?! Everywhere I’ve looked warning about teflon - hair straighteners are not mentioned. Well, to be completely honest with you all, for all I know they might have been and I overlooked it like an idiot, but in all honesty hair care products are the last place I’d really consider teflon being in, and from what I can recall from my research they’re not mentioned as containing teflon.I had the stupid straightener heated to 160C (325F), and it was still heating up when I read “teflon”, then flipped out and ripped out the cord, and opened up the house. I think that temp’s too low for the gases to appear from what I’ve been reading up about it the last half hour. At the moment I’m currently cursing myself like you wouldn’t believe, cursing teflon, cursing my aunt and freezing my butt off while the house airs out at a nice, ‘cozy’ 6C (42F). Thankfully it’s a decent temp in my bedroom. I checked on Barney, and he seems fine thank god.Long story short: Don’t use Remington hair straighteners, they have a teflon coating. I wish I’d dug this up http://theparrotforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=1407&hilit=teflon beforehand, would have prompted me to look into it.


That’s something I’ve never thought of! I’m going to check mine as soon as I get home tonight. Whenever I’m doing my hair I have the fan on, the bathroom door shut, and the bedroom door shut (we have an ensuite) and the birds aren’t allowed near that end of the house. I don’t use my straightener often but I do use hairspray so I try to be as careful as possible with the sprays and other things that have fumes in the bathroom. I honestly wouldn’t have thought twice about straightening my hair near my birds though. Thanks for the tip!

No worries. I only use aerosols and the like in the bathroom as well, but something like a hair straightener just didn’t cross my mind. It’s something that could end really badly if one that contained teflon was accidentally left on for a while :/The highest settings of some are 210C +, and I think that’s right up in the range where teflon can become pretty dangerous.

Blow dryers and curling irons as well as clothes irons are other likely culprits. The good thing is that none of these things will normally heat to hot enough to release toxic fumes, so you are being extra cautious. Not that that’s a bad thing. Teflon needs to heat to ~500°F to give off the dangerous fumes. The idea that it may happen at lower temps apparently comes from cases where people heated sparsely filled pans on a stove – research has been done that demonstrates this can lead to the empty portions of the pan getting very hot – over 500°F – even though the food doesn’t burn. The food is acting as a heat sink. So it is definitely wise to avoid (or use only with very extreme caution) Teflon in the kitchen.The thing that really got me was when the manufacturer confirmed that the lining of my self-cleaning oven contains Teflon. Those things get WELL over 500°F and those fumes aren’t exactly good for people, so I’m still a bit stunned that is even allowed.

I’ve always hated the smell of self-cleaning ovens, it makes me feel sick too. We have one but I’ve volunteered to clean it myself the old-fashoined way so we dont’ have to use the self-clean function anymore. We did use it once, with no problems…the oven is upstairs close to patio doors and a large window, which were all open, and Akilah was downstairs in my bedroom with the door closed. I also had an air filter going and stuffed towels around the door, lol…can’t be too careful.

I figure a self cleaning oven without Teflon would call for careful ventilation. Knowing there is Teflon in there, I’m not at all sure what to do. This one is pretty well sealed, you can’t really detect any smoke or smell when it is running unless it is very dirty (which it now is since I haven’t run it AB). I’ve cleaned it “the old fashioned way” several times, but it is a convection oven and there are areas I really can’t get to that have plenty of grease and the smoke that a dirty oven produces can’t be great for birds either. Sigh.I’ve actually been tempted to get some expendable finches to use for safety-testing if it is OK to bring the birds back in after running it! Talk about moral dilemmas…

entrancedbymyGCC wrote:I’ve actually been tempted to get some expendable finches to use for safety-testing if it is OK to bring the birds back in after running it! Talk about moral dilemmas…Please tell me you’re joking.

can anyone tell me if its ok to cook food in a teflon pan and feed it to a parrot…I havent done this yet incase but i was wondering if I fried some pasta or an egg or something in a tefal pan and fed a few bites to a parrot if thats a big risk? is it only the fumes we have to worry about? we are 2 stories up and across a small hall from the kitchen (the room me and lorenzo stay in) and I dont take him with me to the kitchen unless nobodies cooking so theres no way fumes would affect him up here. but wondering about the risks of eating whats cooked in them…another thing, the whole teflon poisoning thing is new to me, I only found out about it just before I bought Lorenzo. before that the main issue was always avocado. I told my sister about it too as she also didnt know and has always cooked with the parrot close by and im guessing she used teflon. In 8 years its never affected her african grey at all. dont worry, she has him far from the kitchen now that she knows the dangers. also back in the days when I was young and my parents had an african grey plus me with 2 cockatiels… the grey was always in the kitchen cooking with my mom and it never affected him either. And again with the GCC we had for 3 years which stayed in the lounge of an open-kitchen lounge apartment. How long has the teflon poisoning factor been around? or were we really just kept in the dark by living in africa When you tell people about it there, they seem really surprised. Ok ok now with the whole world of the internet and loads more info about parrots to search up before buying one- its not that bad anymore. But im talking about 6+ years ago. Id be interested to know.

idlepirate wrote:can anyone tell me if its ok to cook food in a teflon pan and feed it to a parrot…Yes. is it only the fumes we have to worry about?Yes, but they are quite deadly, very fast acting, untreatable, and very small concentrations can wreak havoc. How long has the teflon poisoning factor been around? or were we really just kept in the dark by living in africa I’ve known about it since long before I had birds myself, 10-15 years at least I’d guess. I think it’s been known for quite a while, probably almost as long as Teflon (and that includes a lot of other brand names, all the polymer-based nonstick coatings have the same properties). The stuff does have to get pretty hot, but when it does you get colorless, odorless fumes that are rapidly deadly to birds, and it happens more often than you might naively expect. The fumes aren’t good for people either, they cause a condition called “Polymer Fume Fever” which gives you flullike symptoms.If you really like nonstick, the new ceramic coatings seem to work very well and at least one manufacturer states definitively they are bird safe. Pricey though. I replaced most of my cookware with stainless steel or uncoated anodized aluminum. I have three ceramic nonstick pieces I use for eggs and other delicate jobs, and I already had cast iron for high heat use.

Thanks for the info might try one of those ceramic ones, just spent a fortune last year on the tefal ones for cooking so its ever so slightly annoying.