Skip to comments.Energy-efficient CFL bulbs cause skin damage, say researchers
Posted on 07/23/2012 9:28:46 AM PDT by Sub-Driver
Energy-efficient CFL bulbs cause skin damage, say researchers 8:52 AM 07/23/2012 ADVERTISEMENT
New research funded by the National Science Foundation has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin.
The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.
Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.
Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation, said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.
According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.
The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs purchased in different locations across two counties they examined.
With high levels of ultraviolet radiation present, the researchers delved into how the exposure affected the skin. According to the findings, skin damage from exposure to CFLs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs, said Rafailovich. Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover.
The research was inspired by a similar 2008 European study conducted by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks which found a potential for skin damage and suggested the use of double-enveloped bulbs as a mitigation tool.
CFLs have been the source of political rumblings since 2007 when Congress approved new energy standards that would have started to phase out the traditional incandescent light bulb in favor of the energy-efficient CFL bulb this year. In December, Congress offered a provision to prevent the Department of Energy from enforcing the standards for nine months. The regulation is still on the books.
The restriction on consumer choice has represented a political battle cry for Tea Partiers and conservatives alike who view the regulation as an infringement on individual liberty. Environmentalists and CFL proponents argue the bulbs are environmentally friendly and economically efficient
I ope that these are the only bulbs being used in the halls and offices of our esteemed congress who voted this crap in.
Well, duh! Of course. UV radiation at some particular wavelength will have the same effect regardless of its source.
Unanswered questions: What intensity of UV radiation is emitted by CFL? How does that intensity compare to conventional tube fluorescent lights? How does that intensity compare to a day at the beach?
Enquiring minds (at least, the ones who paid attention in science class) want to know.
Maybe that explains why Boehner always looks orange!
And just wait for HHS and EPA findings on this. They’ll likely mandate that everyone purchase and use skin cream with SPF15 (minimum) daily or face a fine.
IINM, all fluorescent lighting is of this nature. Time to ban ‘em all?
So, since CFLs are completely identical to tube fluorescents except for the shape and size, does this mean the lamps we’ve been using for decades in every kind of application have been secretly damaging us, and yet no one noticed?
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Read the article and your questions will be answered. They very succinctly state that UV is not an issue from incandescent bulbs.
Please indicate where in the article my questions are answered.
Please indicate where in my questions I mentioned incandescent bulbs.
Read ArrogantBustard’s comment and you will see that he/she didn’t ask about incandescent bulbs, but the comparison of CFL and FL.
The workers in the workers’ paradise that produce these bulbs are getting a nice dose of mercury poisoning, apparently.
“How does that intensity compare to conventional tube fluorescent lights?”
The report’s omission of a comparison with conventional fluorescnts is evidence to me that it’s objective is sensational or political rather than informative.
“Environmentalists and CFL proponents argue the bulbs are environmentally friendly and economically efficient”
They just fry your skin.
We should be able to sue the idiots in congress for this debaucle.
I mean really. This article is very, very misleading. It completely ignores the major (in fact the only) benefit of the CFL bulb legislation: IT LETS THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHO VOTED FOR THIS PIECE OF CRAP FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.
With any legislation their are tradeoffs. Here we have added potentially millions to the already large group of Americans who have skin cancer, added hugely to budgets for home lighting and subjected the population of the United States to mercury poisoning from broken CFL light bulbs.
A small price to pay for making our Congress (and George Bush, I might add) feel warm and fuzzy inside.
I agree. Sadly, lots of folks will fall for it.
The incandescent ban sucks; every congressthing that voted for it should be subjected to merciless derision. Likewise the president who signed it. They're fools and idiots, one and all.
The case against the ban is not helped by bad science.
Agreed. He is no better than his successor.
You give his successor far more credit for worthiness than I do.
Okay, I stand corrected and apologize to Bustard for misreading his post.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
I like the LED bulbs, they don’t get as hot so my AC doesn;t have to work so hard against them...
No offense taken ...
These bad science articles really annoy me.
Then think of all the things he DID do that were detrimental to our country, especially in the Middle East.
And the TSA, Homeland Security, Patriot Act, and on and on and......
If you think that disposing of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were bad, that's your business. I disagree.
As for the rest ...
Bush was often foolish.
Bam-Bam is evil.
I like the LED bulbs, they dont get as hot so my AC doesn;t have to work so hard against them...
* * *
I am starting to like LED bulbs too. I have a couple of LED flashlights which my kids have NOT managed to break, unlike all the incandescent bulb flashlights before them.
(But CFLs still suck! ;o)
Yes. They all emit UV, so unless they have diffusers (e.g. an additional glass cover, as described in the article), they are doing a modest amount of damage. However, it is pretty negligible:
The link from that section (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1343229) suggests that long-term exposure raises a person’s lifetime skin cancer risk by 3.9%.
I have an LED in the lamp beside my chair, very bright, and no heat, so when I fumble around to turn off the light, I don’t burn myself.
We have changed our family room flood lights to LED, put in a dimmer for them. Our hallway light is a natural light LED, extremely bright and white.
Here’s my concern:
Most lamps have shades. Would glass really be necessary to shade from the UV radiation, or are shades enough?
I agree with you on that point as well, helus. There’s no QC in China nor when the products reach our shores. The design companies can blame the manufacturing process despite their poor QC.
[ I have an LED in the lamp beside my chair, very bright, and no heat, so when I fumble around to turn off the light, I dont burn myself.
We have changed our family room flood lights to LED, put in a dimmer for them. Our hallway light is a natural light LED, extremely bright and white. ]
Where I live it gets cold, so I like the LED lights as a replacement for flood lights because the LEDs handle extreme cold temps far far better than CFLs or even regular light bulbs.
Disposed of the Taliban? Really? Then who is killing so many young soldiers? And who will control the country when we leave? Just what in hell have we gained?
Disposed of Saddam Hussein...yup, we did. But just what US interests required that? What did we gain by 'nation building' at the cost of so much blood and treasure?
In hindsight, would you want to repeat either adventure?
My only experience with lamp shades came during spring break in college, and I can assure you that I had quite the sunburn despite wearing that lampshade for a majority of the day.
The hotel was not amused and that was reflected in the bill for incidentals when we checked out.
I also find this article singularly uninformative. How much UV radiation? How does it compare with sunlight? Is it a different frequency?
I’m not saying that there may not be some risk, but how much? We’ve been using CFLs for years, because they cut our electric bill significantly. I think it is wrong to MANDATE them, but we have chosen to use them, since they are very cost effective.
I’d be interested in LED lights, but the cost and the color problem need to be solved first.
They can "argue" that, but it's not true. Mercury vapors are hardly "environmentally friendly," the light is weak and annoying, the lights cause skin damage, and the bulbs last for about five minutes.
IOW, they're another mandated boondoggle to enrich whoever is some big lefty's buddy that manufactures them, and the public be damned to skin cancer and macular degeneration.
The TEA kettle is getting on the boil.
If they give off UV-B, this could solve the Obesity problem.
Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.
According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin. <\Blockquote>
I’m with you - let’s force the stupid liberals to use the bulbs for the next 10 years. And while they’re at it, let’s make sure their lowflow toilets are the kind picked up at Home Depot... None of that thousand bucks for a toilet thing...