Air fryers are becoming increasingly popular in homes across the world. They are convenient, easy to use and allow people to cook healthier meals without having to spend hours in the kitchen, or using a traditional deep fryer.
However, there has been some concerns recently about whether these devices are safe around birds. The worry is that there is a trend where birds are dying when exposed to the cooking fumes from an air fryer.
I have a first-hand encounter on how a friend’s parakeet died at an age of 12 months because she did not know about the dangers of using an air fryer with PTFE / non-stick coatings around birds. One particular day, she found her parakeet dead and could not understand why. Only after further research and investigation did she only find out that the brand new air fryer was the culprit which led to the parakeet’s demise. Here is some very important information to know especially if you are a pet bird owner or know someone that owns one.
Are Air Fryers Bad for Birds? Or Are They Safe for Birds?
Air fryers could very potentially be harmful or even deadly to birds, if it has a Teflon or PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coating. The high temperatures used in an air fryer could cause the Teflon and PTFE coating to release gases that are toxic to your pet birds.
Air fryer cooking temperature varies between 325°F (163°C) to 400°F (204°C). At this temperature, the chemicals released by PTFE coating is considered generally safe and stable for humans. Only when temperatures go above 570°F (299°C), that’s when PTFE starts breaking down at a rate that is releasing toxic fumes that are at an unsafe level for humans.
However, even at lower temperatures, trace amount of the fumes produced by PTFE are not safe for birds. It is very important to make sure you do NOT use an air fryer with Teflon / PTFE coating around your pet birds.
All Air Fryers Unsafe for All Kinds of Birds?
Air fryers that have Teflon / PTFE coatings are generally not safe for all kinds of birds. If you keep birds as pets, make sure they are nowhere near your kitchen or the air fryer. This includes parrots, cockatiels, budgies, finches, lovebirds, pigeons and other kinds of birds.
If you do decide to buy an air fryer, then try to find one with no Teflon / PTFE coating on its surface. Also, ensure that the device does not emit any smoke during operation. These two things will help reduce the risk of poisoning your bird by using an air fryer. Make sure you read the user manual thoroughly before operating the machine so that you know how to operate it safely.
Other Cooking Appliances That Also May Be Harmful to Birds
Air fryers are not the only cooking equipment found in the kitchen that produce chemicals toxic to birds. Non-stick pans, cookers, deep fryers, waffle makers, skillets and woks are also some examples of cooking equipment that may produce chemicals upon heat that are toxic to birds. This is because most of these non-stick cooking equipments are coated by Teflon / PTFE. It’s really important to keep this in mind if you own a pet bird.
As a precaution, never leave your pet birds near your kitchen or anywhere that you may be doing some cooking. Also know that there could be other items outside of your kitchen that may have PTFE coatings such as hair dryers, clothes iron, ironing boards and ironing board covers.
Are There Air Fryers that are Safe for Birds?
Look out for air fryers that are free of Teflon or PTFE. There are also other non-stick coating options available that are safe for birds such as ceramic coating. You can always contact customer service representatives via phone or email if you need more information regarding safety concerns of certain models. Make sure to read the instructions manual carefully before using such products.
Unsure which air fryer models to get? Here are some bird-safe air fryers in the market:
- Ninja AF101 Air Fryer
- Ninja Foodi 12-in-1 Deluxe XL Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer
- Big Boss Air Fryer
- Elite Gourmet EAF4617 Electric Hot Air Fryer
- Elite Gourmet EAF-0201BG Electric Hot Air Fryer
- Cuisinart Airfryer, Convection Toaster Oven
- T-fal FZ700251 Actifry Oil Less Air Fryer
- Nutrichef PKAIRFR48.5 Air Fryer
What Should I Do When My Pet Bird Was Exposed To An Air Frying Device?
Unfortunately, it’s common for birds to die after being exposed to toxins released from heating surfaces like those made of Teflon or PTFE.
However, if your bird manages to survive, remove it from the area immediately and bring it to an area that has fresh air. The best thing to do next is to call a veterinarian immediately. They should be able to provide advice about possible treatment. Hospital care may be required.
How Can I Prevent Poisoning From Happening Again?
The first step towards preventing another incident would be to eliminate all non-stick products containing PTFE (such as Teflon) around the house if possible. Make sure your birds are never in the same area where these products are being used or while cooking. Keep your kitchen and cooking areas well-ventilated so that unwanted exhaust can be properly removed from the house.
What About Instant Pots? Are They Safe Around Birds?
Instant Pots are generally safe around birds, as the bowl is made of stainless steel. Instant Pots do not have any PTFE coatings in any of the components. Many pet bird owners are using Instant Pots at home, and there have not been known reports of any harmful effects towards birds. However, if your Instant Pot is not a genuine product, you may be taking a risk here. If in doubt, always call or email the company to make sure on the product’s safety guidelines.
Air fryers, and other equipments that are coated with or contain Teflon / PTFE are extremely hazardous towards birds. If you are a pet bird owner, it is highly advisable to do away with such products around your house. Exposing birds to PTFE is very irresponsible. It often results in death. Always keep this in mind when buying new equipment or cooking ware.
Do you know of any other items that are dangerous for birds? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!