Cockatoo dander is produced continuously and is a normal and healthy part of its growth and development. Dander, or flakes of dead skin, falls off as new skin grows in to replace the old. This process allows newer, more resilient skin to take the place of older skin that is less likely to be able to protect the bird from germs and the onset of disease.
In the wild dander goes airborne into the air and dissipates, or the bird flies miles away. In captivity neither of these things can happen. But when they are in an enclosed area—your home-dander has no place to go, and the bird cannot move away from it. So unless you actively remove dander from the air, the bird and its humans are forced to breathe air with high concentrations of dander.
For the bird, this is detrimental. Their air passages are so small that it doesn’t take much to clog them. Once clogged, they often become ill with disease and infections that are hard to cure. With people, there is generally an increased sensitivity which often produces symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or congestion.
And for people who already have respiratory issues such as allergies and asthma, the protein in the dander can trigger flare ups that make it all but impossible to keep the bird.
In addition to dander, Cockatoos, who are powder down birds, also produce a white powder to help keep their wings soft. This powder is an additional pollutant that goes airborne with normal activity of all who move through the room.
And this powder and the dander are in addition to all the normal pollutants generally found in a home-dust, dust mites, dander from other pets, mold and mildew spores, as well as seasonal pollutants such as pollen.
Giving your bird clean air has to be a top priority if any of its other care is to matter. And the only way to insure that these particulates do not ruin your health or your bird’s is to continuously removing the particles with HEPA filtration.
High efficiency particle arresting (shortened to HEPA) by definition removes particulates as small as.3 microns which is exactly the type of filter that is needed to remove bird-related and household pollutants.
And to be designated as such it has to have demonstrated that it can remove 99,997 out of 10,000 airborne particulates that are.3 microns or greater, with a micron being defined as one millionth of a meter.
Using this type of filtration is a proactive yet non-invasive intervention that can greatly reduce the hazards that Cockatoo dander and dust are able to have on you and your bird.