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  • Bath Tissue And Paper Towel Rolls Are Toxic!?!?

    http://www.orgsites.com/pa/freshstart/_pgg10.php3

    Full article is below for your convenience.

    I came across this information on our local bird rescue's web site by accident and thought it was mentioned way too casually. Am I over-reacting? Anyway, I'm bringing it to your attention first.

    I think it may be a good idea to let pet owners know about this ASAP, as many people, including owners of rodents, birds, cats, etc. have believed that these cardboard tubes were perfectly safe to use for our pets!

    Here is the article copied from the website:
    ==========================
    HEALTH WARNING:
    DANGER: CARDBOARD PAPER TOWEL AND TOILET PAPER ROLLS
    Many of us have allowed our parrots to play with and shred paper towel cores after we've used the entire paper towel supply from the core.
    This has appeared to be harmless and we were very shocked to learn that it could be harmful!
    Had It not been for an email from Kimberly-Clark, one of the manufacturers of paper towels and toilet paper, We might not have believed this information.

    Zinc toxicity is very serious and can kill a parrot if it is severe.
    Kidney damage, upset digestion, feather plucking and increased water intake are all signs of zinc poisoning.
    Other symptoms include vomiting, loss of appetite and larger than usual green droppings. Sudden death, unfortunately, is another sign.

    Cockatoos are especially sensitive but no parrot is exempt. If you do, however, have a cockatoo that plucks feathers and nothing has resolved the problem, ask your vet to check for zinc in the parrot's blood.
    Be aware of zinc toxicosis (a big word for zinc poisoning) in parrots, but had always heard that the most common cause was older cages or the use of galvanized wire in aviaries.
    Using washers containing zinc to attach toys to a parrot's cages is another potential cause of zinc poisoning that I had heard of.
    However,We were shocked to learn that the adhesive used to attach the first sheet of paper towel to the cardboard core has resulted in some parrots being diagnosed with zinc toxicosis. This same adhesive can be present in toilet paper rolls also.
    Kimberly-Clark's statement regarding this adhesive says:
    "Although the core glue is safe for its intended use, it is not intended to be ingested. It is not food grade and does not meet indirect food contact regulations.

    Therefore, we cannot recommend that it be used with pets".

  • #2
    I still use them for toys. My birds don't eat them.

    I would be interested in finding actual cases of zinc poisioning from papertowel rolls as being the known cause. Anyone know of any? Lara?

    Comment


    • #3
      according to Exotic Pet Vet, they dont' need to ingest the paper towel rolls..the info from Kimberly Clark goes back as far as 2003 or 4 I believe.

      Zinc and Parrots

      Zinc toxicosis has emerged as a clinically significant factor in companion and aviary psittacines. Zinc can lead to primary illness or it can be one component of clinical disease. It is important for avian veterinarians and bird owners to have an understanding of the role that zinc plays in health and illness of birds.
      Zinc poisoning has been described in many species of birds. In tests performed on cockatiels, they were fed a high or low dose of zinc from galvanized coating. All the cockatiels in the high dose group became severely ill and died or were euthanized within two weeks. Even the low dose group induced significant chronic disease.
      The signs of zinc toxicosis are often non-specific and identification of the problem requires a thorough history and zinc testing. It is well known that galvanized after welding wire contains enough zinc to cause disease, so cages should be cleaned with a wire brush and vinegar before placing birds in them. Birds need not ingest flakes of metal to become ill, as zinc may leach from the cage into rainwater, which the birds can drink. (which to ME means that if paper towel rolls end up in drinking water, zinc is being injested. )

      Birds are inclined to play with and chew on toys, pieces of cage and locks, and may become acutely toxic from zinc. With acute toxicosis, birds may vomit, but may stop eating. Voluminous, green stools are commonly reported. Sudden death may occur.
      With chronic disease, gastro-intestinal upset may occur. Kidney damage may result in a bird developing increased urination and water drinking. Feather picking is commonly observed in cockatoos with zinc poisoning, but conures also show feather picking frequently, as well. In one study performed by an avian veterinarian in California, 43 cockatoos suspicious for zinc toxicosis were tested, and of those, 37 were indeed ill from zinc, and 34 were feather picking. Ninety seven percent of those birds ceased feather picking and barbering after treatment for zinc toxicosis and environmental correction. Feather picking cockatoos should be worked up for zinc toxicosis. It appears that birds are very sensitive to poisoning from zinc.
      Sources of zinc are many. Any white rust found on cage wire should be removed prior to use, as it contains zinc. Food can leach zinc out of cage wire, so aviculturists must be careful to not feed directly on the wire. (which to me means that we shouldn't be feeding soft foods especially to our fids when they're outside in dog crates we use for cages..I'll be stopping THAT practice immediately) Although powder coated cages are now quite popular, the powder coating method was developed for lawn furniture and some of these formulas contain zinc. Most cages are safe and contain 0-50 ppm zinc, but some cages can have zinc levels over 5,000 ppm, although this is rare.
      Padlocks and some toy hangers have high levels of zinc. It is safest to replace cage hardware with stainless steel components. Galvanized dishes should never be used. Many additives and some treat sticks contain large amounts of zinc. Some paints and varnishes contain zinc and many common adhesives do, as well. Duct tape, kitchen hardware, twist ties, remote controls, flooring and flooring adhesives all may contain zinc. There may be significant amounts of zinc in the adhesive found on paper towel and toilet paper rolls. Birds should never be given these toys to chew up, as they may ingest zinc. Pennies contain zinc, and birds should never be allowed to play with money. (This is one reason why coins should NEVER be thrown into cages with any animals at a zoo!)
      Diagnosis of zinc toxicosis is based on the history, physical exam and lab tests. It is important to note that a bird need not have visible metal (from a radiograph) in the gizzard (ventriculus) to be suffering from zinc toxicosis. Time and time again, I have heard someone say that they ruled out heavy metal poisoning by radiographs (x-rays), because no metal was visible. The only way to diagnose or rule-out heavy metal toxicosis is by having the blood examined for the presence of lead or zinc.
      There are several effective treatments available. DMSA appears to be an effective oral therapy for zinc and lead. Calcium Versonate is an injectable medication that works well. The GI tract should be flushed to remove any toxins from the system. Rarely, surgery may be required to remove a piece of metal from the GI tract. If the bird is very ill, support care may be required, including fluids, warmth, supplemental feedings and other medications, as indicated.
      Zinc toxicosis may resemble many other diseases because the signs are usually so vague and non-specific. It should always be considered in cases of feather picking. It may mimic Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD). Recently, there have been advertisements for a holistic treatment for zinc toxicosis (which the pet owner said was misdiagnosed as PDD by her vet). As far as I know, only specific chelation therapy, which chemically removes the metal from the bloodstream of a sick bird, can be used to safely treat heavy metal intoxication.
      Zinc is quite common in our environment and it is important that we, as stewards of our birds, take all necessary precautions to prevent them from ingesting toxic metals. Provide your birds with a safe, toxin-free environment and evaluate all cages, equipment, toys and dishes to ensure that they are safe for them.
      http://www.exoticpetvet.net/gfx/goldbar4.gif
      Last edited by Koko's Mom; 05-01-2008, 06:13 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Dayna View Post
        I still use them for toys. My birds don't eat them.

        I would be interested in finding actual cases of zinc poisioning from papertowel rolls as being the known cause. Anyone know of any? Lara?
        Not that I know of Dayna, but I haven't asked the metal tox patients if they give their birds paper towel rolls. I'll start asking.

        Comment


        • #5
          Harrison's Bird Foods Has Same Warning in Brochure.

          Sorry if this is double posted, but Harrison's Foods pamphlet for birds shows this chart on Page 32 which also mentions paper towel rolls:

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mamalovesrico View Post
            Not that I know of Dayna, but I haven't asked the metal tox patients if they give their birds paper towel rolls. I'll start asking.
            Thanks Lara. If I can find real birds that have had issues with this, then I'll stop.

            Remember not that long ago we were supposed to feed the eggs WITH the shell. All the vets told us to. Now we know better.

            I try not to panic, and read lots of different things before I make any drastic changes to my companions.

            Comment


            • #7
              Dr. Fern Van Sant has done extensive research on zinc toxicity, and has presented it at several symposiums over the years. You can see the complete list here:


              http://www.forthebirdsdvm.com/about1.htm



              I don't even give my hamster toilet paper rolls to destroy.

              Comment


              • #8
                i had recently read somewhere that it was the glue on these rolls that can be harmful to the birds. i used to let bailey play with the rolls once in awhile, but with the controversy i haven't been giving them to him. just don't want to take the chance. but it would be interesting to know of actual cases where this has happened?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sweetpeaches View Post
                  i had recently read somewhere that it was the glue on these rolls that can be harmful to the birds. i used to let bailey play with the rolls once in awhile, but with the controversy i haven't been giving them to him. just don't want to take the chance. but it would be interesting to know of actual cases where this has happened?
                  Susan, you may have read that in the booklet that we hand out. I read years ago that paper towel rolls were not good for birds since the glue contained something - I cannot recall - but something toxic to birds. I assume that a bird would have to ingest a lot to become ill, but I figured I woudl err on the side of caution and stopped using them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ok, I'm A.D.D. and fully admit it. I have a hard time reading large articles unless I'm totally captivated in the first paragraph. Can someone pull the sentences from the articles that specifically state where the zinc is related?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mamalovesrico View Post
                      Ok, I'm A.D.D. and fully admit it. I have a hard time reading large articles unless I'm totally captivated in the first paragraph. Can someone pull the sentences from the articles that specifically state where the zinc is related?
                      I didn't see a specific statement relating to the paper towel rolls. I assume it is, perhaps, in the glue? I'm not sure though.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Calvins Mom View Post
                        I didn't see a specific statement relating to the paper towel rolls. I assume it is, perhaps, in the glue? I'm not sure though.

                        Thats part of the problem I am having Kathie. Everyone says "whoa stay away from that" but no one so far has given me case evidence of a bird dying or becoming really ill solely from playing with a papertowel roll. That's all I'm looking for.

                        I have a case point. I personally know an african grey that has played, daily, with papertowel rolls for the last 20 years. Daily. He gets blood work done every two years (his dad is a doctor so he is stringent about that) and this bird has not an unhealthy bone in his body. He is on a good diet, does not pluck, gets daily interaction with his owners, etc.

                        So, I would like to hear from a bird owner who knows for a fact that a papertowel roll has made their bird ill or killed it. Someone who tested all other sources of zinc in the household and that we know for sure that the pt roll is the source of the poisoning.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Kimberly-Clark (manufacturer of paper products) Quote:

                          Originally posted by Calvins Mom View Post
                          I didn't see a specific statement relating to the paper towel rolls. I assume it is, perhaps, in the glue? I'm not sure though.
                          Quote:
                          "However,We were shocked to learn that the adhesive used to attach the first sheet of paper towel to the cardboard core has resulted in some parrots being diagnosed with zinc toxicosis. This same adhesive can be present in toilet paper rolls also.
                          Kimberly-Clark's statement regarding this adhesive says:
                          "Although the core glue is safe for its intended use, it is not intended to be ingested. It is not food grade and does not meet indirect food contact regulations.

                          Therefore, we cannot recommend that it be used with pets"."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dayna View Post
                            Thats part of the problem I am having Kathie. Everyone says "whoa stay away from that" but no one so far has given me case evidence of a bird dying or becoming really ill solely from playing with a papertowel roll. That's all I'm looking for.
                            http://www.parrotparrot.com/birdhealth/alerts.htm
                            Read all the way to the bottom of the page or search "paper towel" when you get there.
                            Many, if not all, such warnings are unproven insofar as they have not been submitted to controlled laboratory studies - for obvious reasons. Why take the chance? If nothing has happened to a particular bird "so far" and warnings exist from vets and people who have suffered through an experience, not to mention the manufacturers who admit to toxic substances and print disclaimers telling you not to use their product in this fashion, then I think it's better to heed the warnings and err on the side of safety.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hocaspocus View Post
                              Quote:
                              "However,We were shocked to learn that the adhesive used to attach the first sheet of paper towel to the cardboard core has resulted in some parrots being diagnosed with zinc toxicosis. This same adhesive can be present in toilet paper rolls also.
                              Kimberly-Clark's statement regarding this adhesive says:
                              "Although the core glue is safe for its intended use, it is not intended to be ingested. It is not food grade and does not meet indirect food contact regulations.

                              Therefore, we cannot recommend that it be used with pets"."
                              Oops - sorry - totally missed that.

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