Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CFL Bulbs: The Downside of a Green Idea

CONSUMER HEALTH NEWS

If it's not one thing, it's your light bulbs.

The following is from the August 3, 2012 edition of
HealthDay from MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

If you've gone green, it's highly likely you have CFL bulbs in your home. These compact fluorescent light bulbs are the ones that look like curly cues, and are sold as "energy efficient" alternatives to traditional incandescent lighting.

Now, researchers at Stony Brook University have found that CFL bulbs may leak UV rays that can harm your skin. The Stony Brook team purchased a variety of CFL bulbs from different manufacturers at several locations. When tested in their lab, all of them had cracks or bald spots in their phosphor coating, which appeared to allow both UVA and UVC rays to be emitted. Two types of healthy human skin tissue were then exposed to the same bulbs.

The results, according to the lead researcher: the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation. Traditional incandescent light bulbs tested the same way had no effect on skin.

The takeaway: researchers stress that consumers should avoid using compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs at close distances.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE (PUN INTENDED)

Q: How many librarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: We don't know--but we know where you can look it up.

~Elaine Cox

2 comments:

Joseph Sparks said...

CFL light bulbs do help in energy -savings but they are a known health hazard due to their content of toxic mercury.

regina said...

Let me also add that compact CFL bulbs contain mercury. So whenever you got a cracked or a broken compact CFL bulb at home, make sure to open all windows and keep your kids and pets away from the room. Turn off all ventilation and clean the pieces with wet cloth, not with brooms and the likes. This should be done to avoid mercury contamination. It contains a percentage of mercury that can contaminate at least 6 gallons of water!

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