Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News30 June 2011
The Danger of CFL Bulbs
Director, Equipment Division,
Office of Energy Efficiency,
Department of Natural Resources,
930 Carling Avenue (CEF, Building 1, Observatory Crescent),
2nd Floor, Room 25,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y3
(tel.: 613-996-4359; email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Re: Canada Gazette, Part I, Regulations Amending the Energy Efficiency Regulations
I am delighted that Natural Resources Canada is considering a two-year delay for banning incandescent light bulbs.
In 2008, Tom Hutchinson and I sent a petition to the Auditor General of Canada that is attached. It outlines the key problems with CFL bulbs and includes the following:
1. Mercury content a concern during breakage inside buildings (homes, schools, offices, etc) and disposal in waste dumps contributes to the global load of mercury. It is also contributing to ill health among many Chinese workers. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6211261.ece
2. CFL emit UV radiation and Health Canada has already issued a warning that people should sit further away and use the light bulbs for less than 2 hours at a time to minimize their UV exposure. Some bulbs now have a double envelope, which does reduce the UV considerably, but many bulbs still generate UV radiation.
3. CFL bulbs generate radio frequency radiation that flows along electrical wires and contributes to poor power quality also known as dirty electricity. Dirty electricity has been linked to ill health, increased blood sugar among diabetics who are electrically sensitive, increased tremors and difficulty walking among those with Multiple Sclerosis, and problems with student behaviour in schools. All of this is properly referenced in the attached Environmental Petition sent to the Auditor General of Canada.
4. CFL bulbs generate radio frequency radiation that can interfere with marine wireless communication and some GE bulbs have this warning on the package.
5. A recent study in Germany documented release of carcinogenic substances from CFL bulbs including styrene. While this needs to be replicated, this is yet another possible toxin released into the indoor environment. Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8462626/Energy-saving-light-bulbs-contain-cancer-causing-chemicals.html
6. CFL bulbs are making people ill. This includes those who have migraine headaches, epilepsy, those with electrosensitivity, and those who have skin problems. Details are provided in the attached report.
If the government waits for an additional two years, light emitting diode (LED) technology will have improved in terms of light quality and intensity and the price will have dropped as did the price of CFLs when they first came on the market.
Canadians are attached to their incandescent light bulbs and it makes sense to use light bulbs that will add to the heating of rooms especially during the long Canadian winters. CFL technology is deeply flawed and it was a mistake for the government to tell people what type of light bulbs they should or should not use. There are alternative ways to alter choice without banning a product. I would urge the government to remove the ban all-together but extending it for an additional two years makes sense because it will give Canadians a choice with technology that is likely to be even more energy efficient without the side effects of CFL bulbs.
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