Have you replaced your old bulbs with energy saving light bulbs? If you have, here is some information you probably should have.
German scientists now say that several carcinogenic chemicals are released when compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are switched on. These chemicals include naphthalene, phenol and styrene. When the light is switched on an ‘electrical smog develops around these lamps’.
The report from Berlin’s Alab Laboratory said; “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.” But these energy saving light bulbs, touted as being the bulbs we should all be using, are already widely used in many households by people thinking they are doing a good thing.
In the UK, traditional incandescent lighting will be phased out by the end of this year. That is a lot of light bulbs, but are they going to hurt us?
Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, advice is: “…use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”
This is not the only consideration. Although they contain mercury, limited at 5mg per lamp, it cannot escape from a lamp that is intact. But what about when the CFL bulbs are broken; then a small amount of mercury will obviously leak out. This presents a risk to the person holding the broken light bulb, and also in landfills.
A UK Department for the Environment spokesperson said: “In any case, the very small amount contained in an energy efficient bulb is unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp should be broken.”
Adapted from The Telegraph, Energy saving light bulbs 'contain cancer causing chemicals' By Victoria Ward, 7:16AM BST, 20 Apr 2011
Well, I wouldn’t panic yet. Obviously more research is needed to counteract this flaw so we can all get on with the business of going green and saving energy.
Yes, I have recommended on this website to use CFLs for their energy saving function. Just understand one thing before you get upset with me. ALL fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and unfortunately that is just how they work at the moment.
I guarantee you I will switch over to mercury-free energy saving light bulbs the instant they become available and are a viable option, which is of course on the drawing board.
New Mercury Free LED Bulbs
There are many teams involved in research and development of mercury free energy saving light bulbs; to produce a COST EFFECTIVE alternative LED bulb (which, by the way, radically reduces energy consumption even further than CFLs) and contains zero mercury. LED bulbs are clearly the bulb of the future. Unfortunately, this technology is still far too expensive. At the moment, each bulb would cost between $50 and $100. The other challenge is to produce an LED bulb that has a similar beneficial wavelength as full spectrum bulbs.
However, I’m confident that this will all change in the near future as demand increases. In the meantime, I am convinced that the full-spectrum CFL bulbs I currently offer are the healthiest and most cost effective form of artificial lighting available anywhere today.
Dispose of Your CFL Bulbs Responsibly
Home Depot, the nation’s second-largest retailer, has announced that it will take back old compact fluorescents in all of its U.S. stores, creating the nation’s most widespread recycling program for the bulbs.
I think Home Depot is doing a great job by taking charge of a vital component of the switch over to energy saving light bulbs, by giving you a way to comply without much hassle or expense. They’re the second largest retailer in the U.S., with store locations that are convenient to most people.
In AUSTRALIA -- FluoroCycle is a voluntary, national scheme that aims to increase recycling of mercury-containing lamps.
For safe disposal of energy saving light bulbs: Please check with your local authority to determine what conditions apply where you live.