Are oil lamps toxic to small birds?

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by merry hens, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. merry hens

    merry hens Out Of The Brooder

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    My brother got me an oil lamp as a gift. It burns "Medallion" Lamp Oil (not citronella or kerosene). Does anyone know if this is safe to use around small birds? Obviously my budgie wont be drinking it or playing in the flame, but I have heard that some candles, etc emit fumes that are toxic to birds.
     
  2. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    In my opinion, this is one of those questions that comes back to you: What is your acceptable level of risk?

    Here are a few facts, to consider: Birds have sensitive respiratory systems. Birds that rely on flight (such as parrots, finches, etc) have an even more sensitive respiratory system than mostly ground-dwelling birds, and many times more sensitive than mammals like us or our cats / dogs.

    Anything we burn, from candles to incense to burning our dinner puts burnt micro-particulate into the air. The harmfulness of this is variable, and is mostly dependent on what is burning and what we are putting into the air, and in what volume. Birds are individuals and like us can have a much stronger or weaker reaction to things in the air depending on individual physiology.

    In general, it is understood that petroleum products are the most harmful when burnt (other than teflon and other nonstick products). Things such as paraffin candles, and any candle with a leaded or zinc wick are considered dangerous, especially over long term. I looked up Medallion Lamp Oil and it seems that it is a petroleum based oil: http://www.lamplight.com/bps/lamplight/llfwholesale/knowledge/msds_original_lamp_oil.pdf ... do you know what the wick is that your lamp uses?

    While there is nothing 'safe' to burn around birds in many people's eyes, it is generally agreed upon that the safest thing to burn is a natural 100% beeswax candle with a 100% cotton wick, trimmed so that it won't smoke. This is safe enough that many places sell them specifically to bird-keeping households.

    The acceptable level of risk is totally up to you! Personally, I have one of these lamps as well in case of emergency, but I will only burn it on the upper level of my house where my birds do not go and the airspace is not shared... for the bird areas I have beeswax candles if I need them.

    Best wishes in whatever you decide. [​IMG]
     
  3. merry hens

    merry hens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I feel mildly uncomfortable burning it in the same room as my bird, even by the open window. I think I'll use it upstairs or on the deck. Last thing I want is a sick bird!
     
  4. merry hens

    merry hens Out Of The Brooder

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    And I'm not sure what the wick is made of...
     
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Upon reading the question I couldn't help but think of all of the coal oil and kerosene fired incubators and brooders from days gone by. They didn't have too much of a problem with those, but then again they were probably well ventilated either in a drafty farm house or barn. Today's homes are much more air tight, which isn't necessarily healthy.

    How about opening a window or two when you are burning it?
     
  6. merry hens

    merry hens Out Of The Brooder

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    It is next to a window, which I opened when I lit it the first time for a test run. It probably clears the air a little.
     

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