Energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, are a popular choice for homeowners and businesses looking for ways to reduce their electricity bills.
But researchers at Stony Brook University in New York have discovered CFLs have a darker side, too: The lamps emit surprisingly high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can damage skin cells and, at high exposure levels, cause cancer, according to CBS Miami.
To test the safety of the light bulbs, researchers exposed healthy human skin cells to light from the CFLs, and compared that to the effect that older-style incandescent light bulbs had on the same skin cells.
Their analysis showed that skin cells exposed to the CFLs experienced significant damage. “The results were that you could actually initiate cell death,” Marcia Simon, professor of dermatology at Stony Brook University, told CBS Miami. (Skin cells exposed to the incandescent bulbs suffered no significant damage.)
Researchers also believe they know the cause of the UV damage: tiny cracks in the coating inside the CFL bulbs allowed UV radiation to leak out, CBS Miami reports.
CFL manufacturers refute the Stony Brook researchers’ finding, issuing a statement claiming that “the levels of UV radiation emitted are acceptably low,” and the light bulbs are safe for normal use, according to CBS Miami.
CFL light bulbs also contain small amounts of mercury, a toxic element that’s been linked to nerve damage, birth defects and other health risks. So despite their energy-efficiency, CFL lamps’ green credentials are in question, making long-lasting, energy-saving LED lights a brighter option for many consumers.
very time you turn on the lights, you may be putting yourself at risk, according to a disturbing new study.
Energy efficient bulbs are eco-friendly and can save you big bucks, but experts say that some could also have a dark side.
“When there is something in your house, you don’t perceive any danger, you wouldn’t get that close to an x-ray in a doctor’s office,” explained Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science at Stony Brook University in New York.
Money saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs emit high levels of ultra violet radiation, according to a new study. Research at Long Island’s Stony Brook found that the bulbs emit rays so strong that they can actually burn skin and skin cells.
“The results were that you could actually initiate cell death,” said Marcia Simon, a Professor of Dermatology.
Exposure to the bulbs could lead to premature aging and skin cancer, according to doctors.
“It can also cause skin cancer in the deadliest for, and that’s melanoma,” said Dr. Rebecca Tung.
In every bulb that researchers tested they found that the protective coating around the light creating ‘phosphor’ was cracked, allowing dangerous ultraviolet rays to escape.
Homeowners expressed concern over the effect that the bulbs could have on children.
“That’s very unfortunate because the kids are getting exposed to so many different things at a younger age,” said Vicky Cobb.
As the federal government phases out the old incandescent bulbs in favor of more efficient bulbs like compact fluorescents, CFCs are among the choices of which bulb they use.
“Now that you’re telling me there’s a health risk, I really don’t think it’s fair that they would not sell the other kind of light bulbs,” said Cobb.
The compact fluorescent industry claims that the bulbs are safe, but admitted that they emit ultraviolet rays. The industry released a statement that said “the levels of UV radiation emitted are acceptably low,” and that they are safe under normal use.
I had some but decided there was something I didn’t like about the light from them. Now I know what. I replaced mind a while ago with full spectrum bulbs… but I suppose I should test those for UV. Some full spec bulbs do not emit UV according to this:
All UltraLux light therapy products use “NON UV” full spectrum bulbs. You do not need UV for light therapy. Many companies that only manufacture light therapy devices tell you that all full spectrum fluorescent lights produce UV. This is not a true statement. We are lighting experts and we manufacture eight different lines of full spectrum lighting products. We also manufacture full spectrum UV lamps for the reptile industry. These lamps require special UV phosphors to produce any measurable amounts of UV. We do not put these phosphors in any of our light therapy products. – link
Perhaps with a UV513AB Digital UVAB Meter for Ultraviolet Light Measurement.