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?

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