Do Air Fryers Actually Pose A Risk To Birds?

Air fryers have become some of the most-desired small appliances on the market. Part of its appeal is its variety. According to Chicago Tribune, they have a wide price range, with plenty of options under $100, and this has made it easy for almost anyone to get their hands on the sought-after device.

An air fryer creates crispy, crunchy meals without the added fat of oil frying. These fryers circulate hot air around food quickly to crisp up the food's exterior in the style of the deep fryer. We know this popular kitchen tool to be a lifesaver; however, there have been rumors that they aren't as harmless to other species. Social media websites such as Reddit and Facebook have circulated stories of bird owners using air fryers only to find their beloved pets dead a short time later. It's time to clear it up: Do air fryers actually pose a risk to our feathered friends?

Air fryers do release a chemical that can kill birds

The short answer is yes; air fryers can be potentially lethal to birds. And it's because of Teflon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Teflon produces chemicals once it reaches a certain temperature. It's common in kitchen items such as pots, pans, and even air fryers. Air fryers often come with a Teflon coating that helps prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the appliance.

The chemicals released from Teflon are in such small amounts that they're relatively harmless to humans, though the EWG suggests there can be adverse effects on humans due to Teflon exposure. Unfortunately, birds are susceptible to the chemical, and even small amounts can harm them. Known as "Teflon Toxicosis," exposure to chemicals from Teflon causes a bird's lungs to hemorrhage. This prevents the bird from breathing and results in suffocation, per EWG. The outlet also reports that a study found that birds faced a "rapid death" when exposed to nonstick chemical fumes.

Can you own an air fryer if you have a bird?

Those who own pet birds will need to use extra caution when purchasing cookware. Thankfully, there are plenty of nonstick kitchen products on the market that don't contain Teflon, and a number of air fryers are available for those looking to avoid the chemical altogether. According to Air Fryer Reviews, several Teflon-free versions exist, and they fall in the same price range as regular, Teflon-infused fryers.

Teflon's website also has suggested precautions for pet owners who use Teflon in their homes. Keep birds out of the kitchen while cooking, always remain with heated appliances while they are being used, and add ventilation to the room through either a window or exhaust fan to help reduce the amount of fumes. Still, if you own a pet bird, the best option might be to explore the various non-Teflon versions of your favorite small appliances.