Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs – Can They Be Making Us Sick?

bulbGo green. Love the Earth. Save energy. The Canadian government’s banning the old bulbs in 2012. We’re told to replace the incandescent bulbs with the new curly bulbs. We think we’re helping but are they responsible for new health problems? The evidence is now coming back from yet another untested experiment on people’s health and the answer is, “Yes. They are causing health problems”.

For those with Lupus and other conditions where sunlight causes problems, these bulbs are a terrible choice because like the sun, they emit some UV rays. As you can plainly see in the video at the end of this post, people with Lupus and photo sensitivity need to pay attention and make the connection. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs emit UV, albeit at low levels. But is a little bit of a bad thing ok with you if there are no-UV options? Health Canada and the lighting industry will say their levels are safe. But the question is the same one I’ve been asking all along concerning other products like air fresheners. How can you say they safe for everyone when clearly, they’re not.

Ask the lady in the video below if they’re safe, or the MD who suffers migraines from CFL bulbs, or the scientist who studies dirty electricity. Again, there are canaries in our coal mine trying to warn us of harm they’ve experienced. The unofficial warning is to not use them close to our heads for longer than an hour and to wait and see what the testing shows.

Some Facts:

-Most CFL’s contain mercury. Break one and the FDA advises you to do this.

-Sunshine and the UV rays that come from it can have both health benefits and dangers. UV Rays boost vit D, for example, a good thing in theory for this Canadian. But what if I get badly burned when in the sun? Is it still good for me or is my body telling me something? Another question is, “How much UV can individuals handle and how much are these bulbs contributing to skin cancer?” While we wait for proper testing to be done, it’s buyer beware, as usual. Thankfully, in the video below, we are given a look at bulbs which don’t emit UV rays and still allow us to go green. Why hasn’t our government jumped on this common sense solution’s bandwagon?

I’ve searched our mecca of light bulbs, Canadian Tire, and can’t see any no-UV options. Can anyone tell me where to find these safer bulbs and could you link to a picture?

Fact: These bulbs give off a lot of dirty energy. If you walk around my house, you’ll see Graham-Setzer filters in some of the outlets. They filter out dirty electricity, another source of household pollution. I was skeptical but decided to give them a try and the effect was noticeable. A calmer brain, no tingling in my chest and no prickly sensations. These same sensations are felt at my computer. Most canaries know that electrical appliances give off pollution, so hearing that people experience aches, pains, brain fog, migraines, rashes, mood disturbances and other symptoms from CFL bulbs is no big step.

A book that helped me wake up to the effects of EMF’s on our health is called The Sick House Survival Guide: Simple Steps to Healthier Homes by Angela Hobbs. She was made sensitive by a flooring finish that didn’t cure properly. She became very sensitive to EMF’s and started changing her home. The results on her AND her kids were amazing. A real eye-opener where electrical problems are concerned and simple ways to avoid them. Have you thought about what is behind the wall where your child lays his or her head every night?

For Joe Public, though, this is another invisible source and bound to be disturbing. The good news is, we canaries who are experiencing health problems are letting you know about them and we aren’t charging you. The more toxic household products cause problems, the more you’ll see the growth of new professionals who will come around to your house, test and tell you to remove all these toxic, harmful products and more importantly, advise about safer solutions. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? Safe products?

My husband loves the curly bulbs and has put them all over the house. I don’t suffer noticeable effects from them, but after seeing a report on them a few months back, I heeded the warning that is bound to come out officially and I’ve removed them from certain places like the floor lamp that I keep right by my birds cages. And I’ll start looking for options that in Europe are being recommended as safer.

What Does GE Say about UV’s and Their CFL Bulbs on their web site?

Do light bulbs (such as compact fluorescent bulbs) give off hazardous amounts of ultraviolet (UV) light?

Regular fluorescent light bulbs used in your home and office do not produce a hazardous amount of ultraviolet light (UV). Most light sources, including fluorescent bulbs, emit a small amount of UV, but the UV produced by fluorescent light bulbs is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight. (Ultraviolet light rays are the light wavelengths that can cause sunburn and skin damage.)

Your safety is important to us; that’s why, for all of our light bulbs designed for general public use, we strive to minimize the amount of UV light emitted.

My Comment: It’s this kind of blanket statement about them causing harm that makes me angry. Tell the lady with Lupus that they’re not harmful. I am thankful I have a brain and I can make up my own mind.

From the GE site: If you’re looking for a low-UV bulb for an especially sensitive area (like a photography dark room), try our Saf-T-Gard® bulbs. They block most ultraviolet light emissions, and they’re also shatter-resistant.

My Comment: Ok, I was excited but checked these bulbs out. They’re coated in Teflon to prevent breakage. Well, heated teflon can kill my birds and likely will harm this canary, being that we both have sensitive respiratory systems. No thanks to this option, GE. Come up with a real safe alternative and I’ll think about it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic and the video below.

Must See Video Exposes on CFL’s and Health. Please watch this report which outlines health problems and gives safer alternatives. (In 2 parts)
Go to videos:

Shedding Some Light pt. 1×9/video.html?releasepid=u9dmpwup_7efqwm75ovy0bzlanoosb_k (Part 2 can be found on the same web page. Check it out, too.)

Copyright 2009 by Lynn Argent

About Lynn

Blogger, talkcaster and teacher.
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4 Responses to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs – Can They Be Making Us Sick?

  1. autoimmunelife says:

    I’m completely convinced that the lights could be making us sick, because I went into my first “true” lupus flare (where everything flared and it was enough for me to be diagnosed) after the lighting at work changed to unfiltered brand new florescent lights. I’ll watch the video later and add my thoughts on it.

  2. Lynn says:

    As someone who is debilited by chemicals found in almost every home/public building, I can empathize with people who face limited access because of these bulbs. In the video, I think it’s the doctor who sees that in his future if others use them.

    Public buildings won’t be public for all if they use products which make some people sick.

    It’s a growing policy issue as well as a health issue.

  3. autoimmunelife says:

    I can’t even go out in the sun. I’m seriously photosensitive.
    I’m listening to them now… it’s incredibly sad they had to go to the UK to get information.
    Exactly… they need an alternative to these lights… I understand the energy saving… but we really need to find something safer. Too many of us are suffering due to these lights, and too many people don’t even make the connection! This is absolutely disgusting!
    I find the comments about the dirty energy to be especially interesting. That section with that lady…. fascinating.
    Just because none of this is “proven” doesn’t mean it isn’t true. If people are suddenly getting sick after the only change being they put in the CFLs, you can make a pretty good guess that that’s the issue! GRR!! Excuse me…. I’m pretty F*CKING frustrated here!
    If you go back through my blog, you can see my post about the lights at work, or where I was working, and how sick they made me.

  4. My whole business model is setup brick and mortar home retail stores dedicated to circadian friendly home lighting solutions. (HIGH EXTRACTION FULL COLOR HOME LED LIGHTING, LLC.)
    My Masters thesis was regarding light toxicity: see
    The short answer to your question is that the likely greatest harm your CFL does to you is that it gives you too much blue and cyan light for the evening hour times, and thus suppresses melatonin onset, which delayed onset then contributes to cancers, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Even the mercury in the lamp is less dangerous to you than the fact that you are using this lamp at night hours before sleep and thus delaying the melatonin onset, chronically. You need to buy either glasses that block the blue cyan portion of the spectrum to be worn a few hours before bedtime, or buy lighting that is more similar to a sunset for the evening hours. The same is true for the newer LED lighting. I sell bulbs that can be warmed (blue reduced) with the application of a filter, and furthermore, the LEDs I sell do not have a “blue peak” in the spectral output as most do, because most white LEDs are merely blue LEDs coated with phosphors to generate the other colors of the rainbow, and thus the light from a blue LED source becomes white.

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