Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fluorescent bulbs and Your Health

Canadain Initiative to Stop
Wireless, Electrci, and
Electromagnetic Pollution

See video demonstration of incandescent and CFL light bulb EMF emissions

The following is excerpted from Living with EHS. A Survival Guide

with incandescent bulbs. Although the government is encouraging everyone to use fluorescent bulbs, they only have power savings in mind. They are toxic in more ways than one: they emit strong EMFs and contain mercury. Research is being conducted on a certain type of LED lighting which may be safer to use.
The following is excerpted from Environment Canada's website: "Because mercury is toxic and has significant impacts on human and environmental health, even small mercury spills should be considered hazardous and should be cleaned up with caution. Liquid mercury, commonly found in household thermometers, thermostats and barometers, volatilizes easily to form a poisonous, colourless and odourless vapor when spilled. If inhaled, this vapor is rapidly absorbed through the lungs of an exposed individual. Children are especially at risk of exposure because mercury vapors, which are heavier than air, often linger near the floor where children crawl and play."
read the protocol for cleaning up a 'small' mercury spill

Professor Magda Havas of Trent University, Ontario, one of the world's leading researchers on the biological effects of EMF, states:

"CFLs produce radio wave frequencies that radiate directly from the bulbs and also go on the electrical wiring in the home or school. The closer you sit to the bulb, the greater your exposure. Because the high frequencies travel along the wire, you can be exposed in other rooms of your home as well as in the room that contains the CFL.

Many complain that they cannot be in a room with fluorescent lights because they feel 'unwell.' These people have difficulty shopping in large department stores because of the lighting and often go with list in hand and spend as little time in the store as possible. Their cognitive functions diminish and some have difficulty recalling where they parked their car."

The adverse effects of dirty electricity come in many forms. On insulin production and blood glucose levels. Dr. Havas reports:

"We can take a person who is diabetic and put them in an electrically dirty environment, and their blood sugar levels rise. We then put them into a clean environment, and within half an hour their blood sugar levels are lower. It becomes a barometer."

After studying the frequencies created by various CFL bulbs, Dr. Havas advises:

"Some packages even have a warning about the radio frequenc,y saying this light may interfere with radio reception. Indeed this is something that most people can test with a portable radio on AM. As you bring the radio close to an energy efficient bulb that produces radio frequencies the radio will begin to buzz. This is known as electromagnetic interference (EMI) and is a concern for anyone using wireless technology such as mobile phones or wireless computers.

But the real problem is that these frequencies are making people sick. Three independent groups in the UK, including the British Association of Dermatologists, the Migraine Action Association, and Epilepsy Action, have reported illness among their members who have tried energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFL). The most common symptoms are headaches-including migraines, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, ringing in the ears, eyestrain, nausea and skin irritations.

Not all energy efficient bulbs are the same. Some do not contribute to dirty electricity and do not produce radio frequencies and this includes a few compact fluorescent lights, some LEDs (light emitting dioxides) and some halogen bulbs. Unfortunately most of the bulbs on the market will make people sick. Reducing green house gases is important but doing it with flawed technology that will make the user ill is not the right course of action. If governments are going to ban the energy-inefficient but electromagnetically clean incandescent bulb, then they should also ban bulbs that produce radio frequency pollution.

I would encourage anyone who has recently purchased energy efficient bulbs and has since developed any of the symptoms mentioned above to test the bulb for radiation with a portable radio and if the radio buzzes to return the bulb to the retail store for a full refund. Even if our government hasn't done its homework, individual consumers can still make a difference."

Although LEDs look like the solution to this dilemma m
ost use DC power and require a ballast or controller to drop voltage to 2-4vts DC for operations. The electronics involved create the dirty electricity. So it would be best to get LEDs that don't have this technology attached.