As you may or may not know, the ban on 75 and 60 Watt incandescent lightbulbs went into effect at the beginning of this year. The florescent "bulbs" that we are supposed to replace them with have a lot of reported problems. First, they are expensive. Second, their reliability is questionable. My experience has been that over 50% will fail within the first month. Although this was from several years ago, and they supposedly have improved, I'm still hearing stories of short lifespans. (Did I say they are expensive?). Third, it is well known that they pose an environmental hazard because they contain mercury. You can't simply throw them into your garbage, but have to take them to a hazardous waste disposal location. (Did I say they are expensive?). Fourth, there have been health problems associated with them for some people, such as people with lupus, migraines or epilepsy. And now, a new one--they can cause skin cancer because they can emit high quantities of ultraviolet (UV) light. From the story:
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[m], 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 compact fluorescents, customers will no longer have a choice over 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.
Stony Brook researches advised that customers exercise caution and stay two feet away from the bulbs at all times, while storing them in an overhead fixture or lamp.