Behind the Bulbs

A European study found that CFLs are not a danger to light-sensitive individuals.

Energy-saving light bulbs can be found in almost every supermarket and big box store. But some people—particularly those with light-sensitivity concerns—are worried about the potential health hazards of switching from incandescents to compact-fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. The European Commission looked specifically at light sensitivity and CFLs via its Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), and found such worries unfounded.

Consumers who already suffer from light-sensitivity diseases were concerned that CFLs could aggravate their symptoms due to flickering, ultraviolet radiation, electromagnetic fields and the blue light that these lamps produce. The scientific committee found that, in fact, CFLs pose next to no threat to the general public and little threat to individuals with light-sensitivity issues. They found no evidence showing flickering or electromagnetic fields to have any effect on individuals with or without light sensitivity issues. The only possibility of added risk from CFLs came from ultraviolet and blue-light radiation for which the CFLs are designed with a glass envelope to filter out radiation. In some cases, ultraviolet radiation can pass through. But most new CFLs are made with a double envelope that greatly reduces the chance of any UV radiation passing through, leaving little to worry about for even the most sensitive consumers.

Source: Energy Saving Lamps Report