Can Light Bulbs Kill Your Chickens?

November 19th, 2012 by Craig Mullins

Yes light bulbs can kill your chickens if they are made with a Teflon coating; also called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

Some of these bulbs may be labeled Teflon-coated, Tefcoat, Rough Surface, Protective Coated, Safety Coated, etc. The coating helps make them shatter resistant. The problem is when Teflon is heated it creates a toxic gas. PTFE is also associated with the brand names Teflon®, Rulon®, Chemfluor®

Lynn Rudmin Chong had this happen to her. It killed her 22 chickens and one pheasant overnight. She was using the GE’s Rough Service Worklight 100. She had her birds examined by Dr. Inga Sidor of the University of New Hampshire Extension Service and said they were healthy birds. Lynn did further testing by electron microscopy to confirm that Teflon out-gassing was the cause.

General Electric does not label the bulbs about this issue.

Another bulb that out-gasses is the Sylvania Rough Service Frosted, but they label their bulbs “WARNING: This product contains PTFE. When heated, it creates fumes potentially fatal to confined birds.”

GE Rough Service Worklight 100

M. Boucher, T. J. Ehmler and A. J. Bermudez wrote in a paper Avian Diseases Vol. 44, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 2000), pp. 449-453 Polytetrafluoroethylene Gas Intoxication in Broiler Chickens where A poultry research facility in Missouri had 2,400 birds. 52% died within 72 hours of installing the bulbs. They died from the toxic PTFE fumes – severe pulmonary edema and congestion.
Have you heard of any other bulbs that may be causing issues in the chicken coop?

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