Columbia, SC (WLTX) - One of our News 19 team members spotted a Facebook post from an animal rescue group.
A member of the group posted to the page, "If u own one of the new air fryers, they are making animals sick and killing birds. I lost my parrot yesterday and my dog isn't 100% yet."
It turns out the air fryer was lined with Teflon.
So we went to investigate. Can Teflon pose a deadly threat to your pets?
Much of the cookware we use contains Teflon, a non-stick coating making it easier to clean up. A non-stick pan with Teflon coating, for example, is not meant to be cooked over 500 degrees. If it is, the pan can release gases to make you feel nauseous or give you a headache.
After a social media post saying an air fryer lined with Teflon killed a pet bird, we met with an expert to learn more.
"Teflon is a no-no if you have birds in the house," said Dr. Patrick Gregory Brown, D.V.M., owner of Sunset Animal Clinic in West Columbia. "You and I go in and out of the lungs, mammals in and out of the lungs, but birds when they breathe in their whole body fills. When people have Teflon cookware, if they burn the Teflon cookware and that becomes an aerosol and the bird inhales it, it literally coats the air sacs and kills a lot of birds."
Teflon won't have the same effects on cats or dogs, he says. They don't have the same type of air sacks like birds do, making them breathe differently. But that doesn't mean they're immune to certain fumes.
"Remember that stuff goes down towards the floor where your dogs and cats are, so they're really sensitive to cigarette smokes and the side effects thereof, or any kind of nauseous fumes. It's the Teflon that's the biggie in the birds," Brown said. "Teflon and birds just don't mix. Period."
So, we can verify that Teflon can be deadly to your pet birds.
Most of our kitchen necessities, like air fryers, are available in ceramic if you're looking for an alternative.
Brown also says bird owners should avoid air fresheners, kerosene or oil heaters and even fireplaces to protect their pet.