CFL Bulbs Dangers

Concern have been raised on CFL bulbs dangers - what about the safety and the effects to our health. Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) are the main type of energy saving light bulbs on the market.

In the following article I try to explain the CFL light bulb dangers, as they are mercury, UV radiation, electromagnetic field, other toxic fumes, flickering and hormone production.

Fluorescent light bulb danger No. 1: Mercury

CFL bulbs dangers due to mercury which is extremely harmful to our brain, nervous system, liver, kidneys, it can damage our cardiovascular- immune- and reproductive system, and lead to cancer, Alzheimer.... but actually the list is longer

CFL bulbs dangers are played down - we are always told that the amount of mercury in CFL bulbs is so little that it will not harm our body. Truth is the safe intake of mercury for humans is only a few mcg, the amount of mercury in energy saving lamps is 3,000 to 5,000 mcg!!

Normally that only bothers you if a lamp breaks, which can happen very easily. The level of released mercury will exceed the existing safety limits by far and even after you cleaned up it will stay very high because mercury get absorbed into all sorts of textiles (sofa, carpet, curtains..)

The lifetime of electronic CFLs (eCFLs) is very limited; on average nine months to 12 month, not as long as we thought it would last. If you put CFL bulbs into normal garbage (either broken cfl bulb or an intact one) they mostly end up at a land fill. They will break sooner or later and mercury will evaporate into air and washed into the ground. Imagine only one lamp can contaminate up to 6,000 gallons (23.000 liters) of water! In the future mercury will poison our homes, our streets. Babies, small children and pets will suffer first, because of their size, the live near the ground where the amount of mercury is even higher.

Energy efficient light bulbs danger No. 2: UV radiation

I bet you don´t know that energy saving lamps emit UVB and UVC radiation. UV radiation is harmful for skin and eyes and can cause skin cancer and cataract. There were several studies on the increased risk for melanoma due to fluorescent lights. But even in less severe cases skin reactions like redness and burning sensations on the face are noted.
(Source: "An estimation of squamous cell carcinoma risk from ultraviolet radiation emitted by fluorescent lamps" by CD Lytle, WH Cyr, JZ Beer, SA Miller, RH James, RJ Landry)

Cfl bulbs dangers No. 3: electromagnetic radiation

Incandescent lamps emit very little electromagnetic radiation, while dangers of cfl bulbs are a radiation in the range of 25 to 100 kHz. This generates a powerful electromagnetic field close to the source and up to 1 meter distance. At a distance of 20 cm a radiation level of 180 V was measured. Therefore you should not use CFL´s as desk, reading or bedside lamps. The symptoms of “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” or EM are disrupted sleep, fatigue, headaches, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, memory problems, and skin rashes.

Fluorescent bulbs danger No. 4: toxic fumes

Latest research on dangers of cfl light bulbs shows other carcinogenic chemicals are emitted when CFL´s are switched on. German research shows that several chemicals are released as a form of steam. These harmful substances include phenol (a poison used during World War II) and the human toxins naphthalene and styrene. Tests showed that the materials used for the production of the lamps are probably responsible for their potentially harmful side effects. Therefore you should use these lamps very economically in ventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs danger No. 5: flickering

Low quality CFL´s produce flickering lights which can lead to headaches and migraines, diminished concentration, eye strain and worsens Meniere disease and epilepsy.

Energy saving bulbs danger No. 6: hormone production

Unless normal light bulbs, energy saving bulbs emit a large proportion of blue light, which lead to a variety of disease and conditions. But influences and diminishes the production of our natural sleeping hormone melatonin.

My conclusion on Cfl bulbs dangers:
- Energy saving light bulbs contain mercury and other toxins that make you sick.
- Energy saving bulbs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs and the lifespan is shorter than we thought.
- Energy saving light bulbs generate an inferior quality of light.
- The safe disposal of energy saving light bulbs can not be guaranteed and there is a risk of poisoning our environment and groundwater.

With the variety of Cfl bulbs dangers why are we forced to use them anyway?

Venus Transit 2012 A Rare Event

Venus, the second closest planet to the sun, will be directly between the sun and the earth. In the Venus transit 2012 the planet will be seen as a black dot moving across the face of the sun.

Like a total solar eclipse a transit is an astronomical event in which two astronomical bodies come in one straight line. Everybody who has experienced a solar eclipse in the past, noticed that the apparent size of the moon was much larger than that of the sun. That’s why the sun was completely blocked by the moon. But in case of the Venus transit 2012, the apparent size of the Venus coming between the observer and the sun in the background is much smaller. In this case about 30 times smaller than that of the sun we will see the disk of Venus being projected on the disk of the sun.

As the transit of Venus comes in a pair, separated by 8 years, the last transit of Venus was seen on 8th June 2004. This pair repeats at intervals of 105 and 121 years. So the next Venus transits are more than 100 years away and this will be our last chance to witness them. The last Venus transit occurred more than a century ago, in 1882.

Venus transit 2012 times and schedule.

Depending on your location you may see the transit of Venus either as her last steps as the Evening Star, or first steps as the Morning Star. Most of Northern Americans can see the beginning of the transit in the afternoon and evening on June 5, whereas much of Eurasians see the ending of the transit in the morning on June 6. Unfortunately it will be not visible in most parts of South America and eastern parts of Africa. Please have a look at the Venus transit 2012 map below:

Some Venus transit 2012 times:
June 5:
New York 6:03pm
Houston, Texas 5:05pm
Los Angeles, California 3:06pm
Honolulu, Hawaii 12:09noon
June 6:
London, UK 5:37am
Cairo, Egypt 6:37am
Bombay, India 10:05am

According to Fred Espenak, an eclipse expert at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "People using a filter approved for safe solar viewing can expect to see a small black dot, about 1/30 the size of the solar disk, slowly moving across the Sun." It is not safe when viewing the Venus transit to look directly at the sun and you can NOT use sun glasses either. You need proper eye protection, get solar eclipse glasses.
Venus transit 2012 - astrology implication. In Indian astrology for example, decreasing Venus in Taurus is considered auspicious which gives excellent materialistic results, comfort and ease to life. A Sun-Venus conjunction can also be a powerful metaphor for the marriage of “Love & Light”, the New Age mantra.

Venus transit 2012 - Mayan calendar end of the world.
In many native cultures the 2012 Venus transit is considered a very special occasion and many Native Americans from North and South America call 2012 the Year Zero. In the Dresden Codex, one of the early Mayan books, the beginning of the great cycle in August 3114 BC is referred to as the birth of Venus. December 21 2012 marks the end of this great cycle. The Mayans even regarded the cycles of rising and setting of Venus near the Sun as a key timing trigger in the world. In Mayan Cosmology Venus, our sister planet, is also associated with Quetzalcoatl, the creator of Maya civilization.  Does it mean a renewed world and a new consciousness will be born on the occasion of the Venus transit?

Venus transit 2012 - earthquake dangers?
There is no scientific evidence for a relationship between transits and earthquakes. But after the Venus transit from 12.6.1882 the Indonesian volcano Krakatao exploded nine month later accompanied by earthquakes and tsunami, 10,000 people died. The first pair of the Venus transits took place on June 8, 2004, six months later on December 26th 2004 the Sumatran undersea quake took place followed by a tsunami killing 230,000 people.

You can safely observe the event by viewing it indirectly over the internet:
Live Webcast Of The 2012 Transit

Related post about Venus: Venus spits fire

Image credit: NASA/LMSAL and Fred Espenak NASA/GSFC