In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces containing polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases. This according to the EWG (Environmental Working Group) is linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths.
In cases of "Teflon toxicosis," as the bird poisonings are called, the lungs of exposed birds hemorrhage and fill with fluid, leading to suffocation. DuPont acknowledges that the fumes can also sicken people, a condition called "polymer fume fever."
The signs of PTFE toxicosis are non-specific, and could be seen in a variety of respiratory and other diseases. Birds are usually found dead in the cage or gasping for air and eventually dying. Mild exposures may result in difficulty breathing, wheezing, incoordination and weakness.
The respiratory tract of the Canary is extremely sensitive to toxins in the air. They were used for many years in the Coal and other Mines to detect gases; when the Canary dropped dead it was time to get out quick.
Although poisonous gases can be produced, all of the above products if used according to the manufacturers instructions are safe, it is when they are poorly used and allowed to overheat that problems occur.
This information is extracted directly from the folowing:
Summarised for AFC - 11/6/2009