Smoke fumes coming out of an air fryer -

Do Air Fryers Give Off Toxic Fumes? (A Safety Report for Humans and Pets)

We all love a good air fryer, but what if it’s giving off toxic fumes?

That’s right—you heard us. Your air fryer could be releasing toxic fumes into the air and harming both humans and pets including birds and animals.

How do you know if your air fryer is making toxic fumes? What can you do to stop it from happening? And how can you prevent it from happening in the first place?

What exactly are these fumes? How can you prevent them from being emitted? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.

Key takeaways

  • Air fryers generally do not give off toxic fumes, but the non-stick coating called Teflon or PTFE used in some air fryers can release toxic gases when heated above 536 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Inhaling these toxic fumes can cause health problems known as Teflon flu, with symptoms including chills, fever, cough, chest congestion, and difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
  • The toxic fumes from Teflon can be particularly harmful to birds, so it is crucial to keep air fryers away from birds and ensure proper ventilation in the kitchen.
  • To prevent toxic fumes, consider purchasing air fryers without Teflon or PTFE coatings, such as those made of ceramic or stainless steel.
  • It is important to maintain temperatures below 500 degrees Fahrenheit and clean the air fryer regularly to minimize the risk of toxic fume emissions.

Do air fryers give off toxic fumes?

For the most part, air fryers are not going to give off any toxic fumes when using them. The most important thing to remember with air fryers, is that most of them do have a basket that is lined with a non-stick coating like Teflon or PTFE.

There have been studies that state that PTFE does have the potential to put off gasses that may be toxic, but for that to be a major concern you would have to use your air fryer every single day, multiple times a day, and stand directly next to it while you use it.

Is there any scent of air fryer toxic fumes?

When it comes to PTFE (better known as Teflon) generating fumes, it’s widely considered odorless to a human’s sense of smell.

Even though we can’t smell these fumes, it’s likely that we won’t know whether or not we are breathing them in until it becomes a serious health problem.

What exactly about air fryers is giving off toxic fumes?

The cause of the toxic fumes given off by air fryers is the non-stick coating called Teflon. When heated to a certain temperature, Teflon produces chemicals that can be harmful to both humans and birds.

Studies have shown that when you heat Teflon up to over 536 degrees Fahrenheit, a toxic particle dissociates from the material.

This gas is acidic and actually toxic when inhaled by humans and animals.

Air fryers are made with a non-stick coating called Teflon or PTFE, which can release Carbonyl fluoride (COF2), a toxic gas.

As you inhale carbonyl fluoride, the toxic chemical comes down your lungs and causes severe irritation. The longer you are exposed to this toxic chemical, the more it begins to build up and get worse.

This usually activates your body’s defense systems and produces the cold and flu-like symptoms known as Teflon flu.

These chemicals produce oily fumes which can accumulate over time and cause health problems.

To reduce risk, it is important to ensure good ventilation in the kitchen and leave at least 1 foot of space between the air fryer and any surface.

Are toxic fumes from air fryers dangerous?

Yes, there are health risks associated with using an air fryer. Teflon, which is one of the material ingredients in air fryers, can produce toxic gases which can be harmful to humans and birds.

Even if there is no smoke or damage involved, oily fumes from an air fryer can pose a risk to one’s health.

Therefore, it is important to follow safety procedures when using an air fryer in order to minimize any potential risks.

Teflon fumes can cause serious health problems to the human respiratory tract.

Inhaling these toxic fumes can lead to something called polymer fume fever which is also known as the Teflon flu.

The symptoms of Teflon flu are very similar to that of the traditional flu. You’ll first experience chills, fever, cough, chest congestion, and tightness. You’ll have difficulty breathing.

Coughing is one of the most common first symptoms of the Teflon flu And the symptoms can start occurring anywhere between 4 to 10 hours after you’re exposed.

It’s important to find fresh air as soon as possible by leaving the room or opening up the windows.

The issue should be resolved and your symptoms should subside within 12 to 48 hours. If it’s not better by that time then it’s recommended to get medical attention immediately.

Can air fryers give off toxic fumes that can kill a bird?

There have been several reports stating of people who have pet birds that would die for no apparent reason.

Many people have suspected that this is due to their air fryers heating up their Teflon material above a certain temperature of 536 degrees Fahrenheit.

There’s an interesting history when it comes to birds and toxic fumes.

Miners who were digging deep underground and inside tunnels would utilize canaries in cages and carry these birds with them as they went deeper and deeper into the cages to dig.

The idea was that, since the small birds had a higher metabolism and higher breathing rates, they would be affected much sooner by the toxic gas than humans.

Miners would utilize these canaries and monitor their well-being. If one suddenly died, then the miners would exit the digging site, assuming that there was some sort of toxic fume or gas leak.

It’s definitely possible that this type of scenario is happening in someone’s household when it comes to air-frying Teflon materials.

What to do if you’re afraid of toxic fumes from your air fryer?

If you are concerned about toxic fumes in your home, then you must be aware of the risks posed by using an air fryer.

Air fryers can produce fumes that are potentially toxic to humans and animals.

Furthermore, frying food with an air fryer may cause birds to die if it is not done properly.

It is recommended that air fryers be kept far away from birds and should not be used when there are birds present in the area.

Also, try cooking at lower temperatures with your air fryer. Instead, cook for a longer period of time. 

It is important to check the temperature settings of your air fryer and choose one that does not exceed 500 degrees Fahrenheit. According to studies, you should have gone beyond 536 degrees Fahrenheit.

Finally, open up all your windows and allow air to ventilate throughout the house. In most cases, these toxic fumes probably won’t harm humans or larger animals.

However, there are still questions about whether or not infant humans are affected by this.

Why do air fryers have Teflon or PTFE?

Teflon is non-sticky, meaning that if you put food in a Teflon-coated pan and heat it up, the food won’t stick to the surface of the pan.

This is important when making things like French fries or chicken nuggets in an air fryer because you want them to cook evenly without sticking to the pan.

It’s also why you’ll sometimes see people using foil or parchment paper to make sure their food doesn’t stick (which can be pretty annoying if it burns).

The thing about Teflon is that it isn’t actually one thing: it’s made up of chemicals called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The most common type of PTFE is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

How to prevent toxic fumes from an air fryer

Set a timer so that the machine turns off automatically

When using an air fryer, it is important to set a timer so that nothing goes wrong. Air fryers are powered by electricity and can be dangerous if not used properly.

If you set a timer, the air fryer will turn off after a certain amount of time, making sure it is used safely and correctly.

This helps reduce the risks associated with improper usage.

Don’t buy air fryers made with Teflon or PTFE

It is important to buy an air fryer made without Teflon or PTFE because these substances can have negative impacts on human health.

Popular air fryers, such as those made of ceramic or stainless steel, are free of both Teflon and PTFE and are a great option because they offer excellent performance, reasonable pricing, and good customer service.

Additionally, many models come with warranties for added peace of mind.

Keep your distance from the air fryer

Air fryer owners should keep their distance from them, as air fryers with Teflon or PTFE coatings may not be safe for them.

This doesn’t mean you can’t stand close by or have your air fryer running in the kitchen. Just avoid sitting next to it for the duration of its cooking process.

Additionally, you should make sure that the air fryer is not emitting any smoke and is not Teflon-coated before using it.

Maintain temperatures below 500 degrees Fahrenheit

When using an air fryer, it’s important to keep the temperature below 500 degrees Fahrenheit so that dangerous fumes don’t come out.

Air fryers can get very hot, which can damage the nonstick coating and make dangerous fumes come out, like those that come from Teflon cookware.

Teflon fumes are especially deadly to birds, so it is critical that users keep their temperatures below this threshold in order to protect themselves and any animals in their vicinity.

Additionally, if the temperature does not reach what it should, even lower temperatures could still produce toxic fumes.

When your Air fryer is old or broken

If you have an old and broken air fryer, you should attempt to repair it or purchase a new one.

It’s possible that after long-term usage, your Teflon material will begin to weaken and even peel from the surface of the basket.

Its tolerance to heat may even end up being lower, and the toxic fumes may end up being produced at a higher rate.

Clean your air fryer gently

It is important to clean it after each use.

Unclean air fryers can give off toxic fumes that are dangerous to breathe in, so they need to be cleaned often and thoroughly with a non-abrasive cleaner.

The air fryer should also have removable drawers and accessories for easy cleaning.

What to look for in buying an air fryer when it comes to toxic fumes

If you are worried about toxic fumes and your air fryer, you want to get one that does not have a non-stick coating on the basket.

It is not the air fryer itself that gives off the fumes, but rather the coating on the air fryer basket that poses the issue.

You want to get an air fryer that does not have a coating on the basket if you are worried about frying in point oil, and you want to put a very thin layer on the air fryer basket after you have cleaned and dried it well.

You then want to put your basket back into your air fryer and run the machine at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes.

You then take the basket out and wipe it down to remove excess oil. You can re-season every few weeks.

You can also set out to look for baskets that are made with non-stick materials such as ceramic or stainless steel. 

These materials don’t produce toxic fumes when heated and will not harm humans or animals.

What is the safest air fryer to buy?

If you are concerned about fumes and toxic gases, your safest bet is going to be to find an air fryer that does not have any coating on the basket.

Cuisinart has an air fryer that does not have a non-stick coating, as do Ninja and Fotile.

You just have to take the time to read the package and see if there is a non-stick coating or not, and if there is an option to get a basket that does not have a non-stick coating.

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