Understanding The Dangers of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
o People and pets should immediately leave the room.
Also check out these frequently asked questions about CFLs below
- Although CFLs are considered extremely energy efficient, each bulb contains about 5mg “elemental mercury,” says U.S. Army-Ft. Wood. General Electric, a manufacturer of CFL bulbs, notes the amount equivalent to the tip of a ballpoint pen. GE further claims the mercury is an “essential, irreplaceable element” that allows the bulb to perform as an efficient light source, posing no danger during regular use. Elemental mercury is a bioaccumulative neurotoxin that effects multiple neurological responses. High exposures may affect the kidneys, lead to respiratory failure and death. In addition, mercury accumulates in the environment, vaporizing into the air and leaching into water supplies.
- CFL bulbs are subject to scrutiny by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as electronic products that emit ultraviolet radiation. However, as of May 2011, the FDA did not have “specific standards or annual reporting requirements” for manufacturers because the bulbs are considered of little concern, having insignificant levels of radiation. CFLs emit a small amount of UVA, UVB and infrared radiation, according to the FDA. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency tested CFLs from various manufacturers. With the exception of people with photosensitive medical conditions, such as lupus, ARPANSA noted that CFLs are suitable for use at distances beyond 10 inches. However, when using desktop and other close lamps, it’s advisable to utilize double-envelope or encapsulated bulbs.
- Electrical sensitivity, also known as electrical hypersensitivity and electromagnet hypersensitivity, is a recognized disability with chronic and systematic reactions to electromagnet fields given off by wiring, electrical equipment, transformers and florescent lighting — including CFLs. Approximately 8 million Americans experience electrical sensitivities, according to the Research & Training Center on Independent Living. It causes nervous system symptoms such as headache, fatigue, stress and sleep disturbances; skin symptoms including prickling, burning sensations and rashes, and pain and ache to muscles, as well as many other health problems. CFLs contribute to electrical sensitivity by emitting electromagnetic radiation.
- Electromagnet radiation, also known as electromagnetic frequencies — EMF — is a naturally occurring energy. Technological advances such as CFL bulbs have increased the EMF in modern environments. The electromagnet radiation bundle includes dirty electricity — sometimes called dirty power — electrical pollution and radio waves. Most of the EMF fields experienced every day and emitted from CFL bulbs are non-ionizing radiation and considered safe. However, for people with electrical sensitivity, CFL bulbs have significant accumulative dangers, according to ElectroSensitivity UK News.