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Light bulbs emit carcinogenic gases

26th April 2011

German scientists have sparked fears over the use of energy-saving light bulbs, warning that they emit carcinogenic chemicals when switched on.

lightbulbs

In a recent report following tests at Berlin's Alab laboratories, researchers advised people not to leave the bulbs switched on for extended periods of time, particularly near someone's head.

According to study author Peter Braun, it is important that such substances be kept as far away as possible from humans.

Environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have been widely touted as the next generation of lighting following EU directives to phase out the older, tungsten light-bulbs by the end of 2011.

But when they were tested in Germany, scientists found that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when they were switched on.

An electrical smog which includes phenol, naphthalene and styrene developed around the bulbs when they were switched on, according to Andreas Kirchner of the Federation of German Engineers.

Kirchner said he used the bulbs himself very sparingly, not in an unventilated area, and nowhere near his head.

However, experts have urged consumers not to panic, calling instead for further research to elaborate the German team's findings.

The German research should be backed up by further, independent studies, according to Michelle Bloor, senior lecturer in Environmental Science at Portsmouth University.

The UK government has insisted the bulbs are safe, although it says there is a small amount of mercury which would only leak out if a bulb gets broken.

The Department for the Environment official website states that energy efficient light bulbs are not a danger to the public.

It said each bulb contained 5 mg of mercury which could not escape from an intact lamp.

It said the very small amount of mercury was unlikely to cause harm in the event of leakage, however.

Earlier research by Israeli researcher Abraham Haim of Haifa University claimed that the bulbs could boost the incidence of breast cancer if they were used late at night.

According to Haim, the CFLs emit a bluer light than the older style of bulbs, closely mimicking daylight.

This could disrupt the production of melatonin the body, a hormone which governs the internalised rhythms of day and night.

CFLs have also been linked to an increased level of migraines and skin problems linked to light sensitivity.






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Comments

peter dublin

Tuesday 3rd May 2011 @ 18:53

That's just the start of it!

More also on the health risks with CFLs, with case references and documentation... not forgetting LEDs, also on the website, with research references: Lead, arsenic and other toxic LED content, home breakage and disposal concerns

There's an irony there somewhere,banning simple safe known technology in favour of unknown and seemingly unsafe technology
- normally of course products are banned for being unsafe to use (like lead paint)..... and it is a "ban", temporarily allowed (2016 EU, 2020 USA) and unpopular Halogen etc incandescents are themselves more complex and costly and with a different (whiter) light for marginal savings, compared to the simple,cheap, popular and banned regular incandescent types.


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