Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Warning about silicone bake & cook ware

I received this email a little while ago, and have been really lax about posting it. It is so sad, every time I receive another email about birds dying from some chemical in the house. Basically, unless you absolutely, positively, cannot live without it, don't use it. With birds, you constantly hear about the dangers of anything non-stick/teflon/PTFE, but I have always wondered how something that smells as strongly as silicone bake ware does could really be safe. I received some as a gift once, after I had not had birds long, and quickly gave it away again, as I automatically assumed it was dangerous for the birds. After all, the smell of it sitting on the counter was incredibly strong, and bothered me, so I could not imagine what it would be be like if you cooked with it, even at low temps. I since have read how it was safe for birds, and assumed I was wrong. However, after receiving this email, I am going back to my original thought!

What is so hard to understand is that every creature, human, bird, any animal, is different from all the others, even ones of the same species that live in the same house. This is why something that kills ones bird at the first exposure, another bird may be able to live through several exposures. This does not mean that that bird is not bothered, it simply means they are able to live with it and recover. And it is often so hard to get people to think ahead, and get them to understand that just because it did not bother your bird once does not mean it will not ever bother them. Notice that though two of this lady's parrots died, one survived.

Many parrots should live 50-100 years, so if they die at 10,15, or 20 of something so absolutely preventable, it is really, really, sad; even more so when they die of things that are sold as "safe".

The following is the email I received:

I know about teflon products and do not purchase them. I do not clean
my oven with anything but a plastic scraper and hot hot water.
Saturday Jan 10, 2009 two days ago, I put an oven liner that claimed
it was made from silicone and was completely safe for animals.
I followed the directions, started the oven, popped in a pizza, within
five minutes of taking the pizza out, my Parrotlet fell to the bottom
of the cage and died in my hand. I had no clue what happened to him, I
tried to clear his little air way, I thought maybe he choked on
something. No luck bringing him back. I have only had him for 5.5
months, but you sure can get attached quickly.

I also have two female caiques, Tango and Daisy. These birds are my
children just as for many of you.
I wanted to show the the girls that little Tucker had passed, so they
wouldn't call for him.
I took out Tango (blk.head) showed her that Tucker was gone, she
seemed to understand.
When I went to take Daisy (wht.belly) (my princess) I have had her for
3 years, when I looked at her she was sitting low on her heated perch,
almost squating.
I had her step up, but she had a hard time doing so. Once I had her I
could tell something was very wrong, she was wobbly and out of it.
It hit me like a ton of bricks!!!!
I had read about this........That darn oven must have contained some
type of teflon or chemical.
My roomate and I now in a total panic, rushed the girls outside.
Daisy was fading fast........I was crying and begging her to stay
My neighbors came out to help, they called the local avian vet and had
to leave a message.
The internet said oxygen......Where am I going to get oxygen at 6pm on
a Saturday night??? I was a mess!!!
I called the local Fire Dept. I asked them to please, please bring
oxygen to save my baby. I must have sounded like a lunatic or
They came with in fifteen minutes, we put the mask over Daisy's mouth
and her eyes became more allert. I was hopeful. He suggested putting
her in a small box and letting the oxygen tube go directly into the
We got a small box, she seemed to be standing now........Very hopeful
The EMT called the University of Tennessee avian vet. The avian vet
said it sounds like telfon exposure.
He told the EMT the outcome was not good, but the EMT did not tell us
that right away, he could see what a mess we already were.
The vet said to take the oxygen off for ten minutes and if she stayed
allert that we could bring her to the hospital, but if she faded that
meant she had already suffered a lethal dose and there would be
nothing he could do for her.
Daisy Mae died at 10:15pm, I told her it was bed time and she went to

Tango the surviver was trying to feed Daisy the last hour of her life.
It broke my heart.

Much safer alternatives are aluminum, stainless steel, and stoneware baking sheets, as well as cast iron for cooking.


Liberty said...

h my gosh this is so sad. I am so sorry for your losses. :-(
I also had a bad feeling about the silicone bakeware. it just doesn't 'feel' safe to me (I have MCS too).
I'm so sorry about your birds. Losing an animal family member can be devastating. I think it's really cool that the fire department actually came and gave oxygen to Daisy (if I read that right?!). That blew my mind and restored some of my faith in good people being out there :-)

Meg said...

I am sorry, I should have clarified, these were not my birds. I received emails about them on the bird lists I am on, in an effort to warn other people about the dangers. It is very sad, though, I cannot imagine what the girl who did own them is going through.

Liberty said...

oops! It was me who missed that - you had said it was an email. sorry for the confusion! I really feel for that woman :-(

sue said...

meg- i think we should stop calling our MCS a disease. i'm beginning to think its an extra level of intuition about all these artificial substances that we are (almost forcibly) surrounded by.it all started with white flour

Trish Brown said...

BEWARE BIRD OWNERS. I never thought about this product hurting my birds even though I know not to use the self cleaning feature on the oven as it kills birds. Tonight I was roasting some potatoes at 450 degrees when my birds started falling off their perches and dieing. Tonight I lost 6 parrots including 2 Sun Conures, 1 African Grey, 3 Cockatiels, and 1 Green Wing Macaw. The non stick oven liner works fine but if you have birds DO NOT USE IT. I hope this helps someone to not go through the heartache I am going through right now. My vet says silicone and teflon kill quickly and around 100% of the time. I don't want to trash the product but it should contain a warning to NOT USE if you have birds and small pets.

Pat Russes said...

I just lost 3 of my babies a few days ago to an oven liner that said nothing on it . I always look for Teflon and never use it
My heart just broke thinking I just killed my birds , I called the fire Dept thinking it was a gas leek or something they came found nothing I thought of the liner after they left OMG the oven liner I just put it in that night .I am putting the word out there as best I can and will try to have something put on the boxes about birds .

itsthatguyphil said...

Considering oven liners, as mentioned in the email you had received... I think the oven liners that person bought were actually Teflon (although they sometimes were advertised incorrectly as Silicone). That would definitely address the issue of what happened to the birds. I know this because I made the mistake of buying the incorrectly advertised liners, and returned them immediately. As of now, all agencies state that Silicone liners are safe "the best of anyone's knowledge" because there is nothing noticeable fuming. Keep in mind that Silicone is also Food Grade safe, and Medical safe, and is used for so many things, including life-saving devices and internal medical devices. If there was any danger, it would have been made very clear by now.

Dayna Mintz said...

Thank you so much to all previous commenters. I recently got a 3 month old Congo African Grey, who after only 2 weeks I'm very attached to. I'm also a baking enthusiast and while I've thrown out all Teflon, I was thinking and doing my research on silicone when I came across all your comments. I owe a huge thanks to you all for saving Keikos life. Please know that you've made a difference.