The push to switch over to Compact Florescent Light (CFL) bulbs is facing a mighty backlash from consumers, health experts and environmentalists. As part of the governments “Green Revolution” campaign, Congress has passed legislation that requires the ‘energy-saving’ CFL’s to replace incandescent light bulbs completely by 2014.
For many this is a sentence to debilitation as the bulbs have been found to create numerous health problems. Over the last few years as CFL’s use has increased so has the number of reports linking them to a variety of physical trauma, such as migraines, dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, skin irritations and eye strain. These physical disruptions are the result of being surrounded by dirty electricity from the radio frequency radiation the bulbs generate. CFL’s put out a wildly fluctuating electricity field that can travel around homes and offices via wiring, “polluting” other electrical signals and fields in place, spreading and accumulating.
There is another health issue too, the following brings forward research showing exposure to the bulbs when sleeping can diminish a persons ability to defend against cancer due to the simple difference of the CFL’s bluer light in contrast to the incandescent filament glow which casts a yellower light. Exposure to the bluer light of the CFL’s, which closely mimics daylight, at night causes a disruption in the secretion levels of the hormone melatonin which is thought to protect against breast and prostate cancers.
Energy saving light bulbs ‘could trigger breast cancer’
Haifa University in Israel, said that the bluer light that compact flourescent lamps (CFLs) emitted closely mimiced daylight, disrupting the body’s production of the hormone melatonin more than older-style filament bulbs, which cast a yellower light.
Melatonin, thought to protect against some breast and prostate cancers, is produced and secreted by the brain’s pineal gland around the clock. Highest secretion levels are at night but light depresses production, even if one’s eyes are shut.
A possible link between night time light exposure and breast cancer risk has been known for over a decade, since a study was published showing female shift workers were more likely to develop the disease.
Prof Haim explained that a recent study by himself and fellow colleagues had found a much stronger association than previous research between night-time bedroom light levels and breast cancer rates. Their study, published in the journal Chronobiology International, found breast cancer rates were up to 22 per cent higher in women who slept with a light on, compared to those who slept in total darkness. They thought one of the reasons for this stronger link could be that people had switched to using energy saving lightbulbs.
They wrote: “In the past decade, light bulbs emitting bluer light waves (~460 nm) have been widely introduced to save energy consumption and reduce CO2 emission.”
They quoted another study which showed that exposure to bluer, shorter wavelength light for two hours in the late evening suppressed melatonin production more than the same exposure to yellower light (~550nm), which is more typical of filament bulbs. The bluer light also made people more alert and increased their body temperature and heart rate.
Prof Haim thought this was because the bluer light from eco-lightbulbs mimiced the stronger light of midday closer than filament bulbs did.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, he said he had subsequently removed eco-friendly lightbulbs from his house, as he thought they caused “light pollution”.
He said: “Around the world the advice is to change the lights to ‘green’ bulbs – but they are not really green. They pollute much more light.” Because people thought they were so cheap to run, they were turning on more lights at home, he explained. He emphasised that the study did not prove that using eco-friendly light bulbs late at night or overnight resulted in higher breast cancer rates than using filament bulbs, and that it remained an unproven theory.
British cancer charities echoed that point.
Jessica Harris, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “As this study didn’t investigate low energy ‘eco’ light bulbs and there isn’t any other evidence that they have an effect on breast cancer risk we can’t draw any conclusions about the risk of breast cancer from low energy light bulbs. “Although it’s far from settled, the evidence that light at night – from any source – could affect breast cancer risk is strengthening and the World Health Organisation classify shift working as a ‘probable’ cause of cancer.”
Dr Sarah Rawlings, head of policy at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said the link was “purely speculative”. “We know there are a number of lifestyle, genetic and environmental risk factors associated with breast cancer, which require more research,” she said.
As if the danger to our health by using the CFL’s isn’t enough, the bulbs also contain mercury.
When they break or of disposed of improperly, exposure to this toxin is guaranteed.
“all CFL bulbs contain – at least – four to five milligrams of mercury, about 200 times the amount of mercury in a flu vaccine shot. There is enough mercury in each CFL bulb to contaminate 6,000 gallons of clean water. To break one of these CFL bulbs is to risk ruining the health of one’s entire family, or office staff, with enough released atmospheric mercury to best require the expensive, professional services of a Haz/Mat Removal Team.” http://www.healthfreedoms.org/2010/03/17/stock-up-on-incandescent-light-bulbs-in-fact-buy-a-lifetime-supply-of-them
The EPA provides a four step program on how to safely dispose of a broken CFL. The first step is to open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes; next, clean up the glass with duct tape; third step is to seal broken glass into a glass jar; then you have to take the container to a special dump that can handle the toxic waste. But this is hardly enough to keep you and your family from being exposed. The truth is though waiting 15 minutes and coming back armed with duct-tape does not offer you protection from the mercury.
Really, only the first step in the EPA’s plan is safe- walk away. Amalgams that contain mercury are kept in boxes lined with lead and are collected by special hazardous-materials cleaning teams to carry out removal, the doctor wears a mask during the removal process and special precautions are taken so the patient does not inhale the fumes during placing or removal. Mercury is mercury- exposure is dangerous.
So what should really happen when a bulb is broken?
Here is the safety protocol outlined by a hazardous materials removal company:
To protect your family and employees against dangerous mercury exposure, Mercury Instruments USA provides clean up, decontamination and screening in the case of a broken mercury containing light bulb. All of our cleaning services are backed by screening the area with the Mercury Tracker 3000 mercury detector.
CFL’s contain dangerous levels mercury
- If you break a compact fluorescent light – CFL
- Immediately turn off heating or air conditioning units
- Call us at 303-972-3740 or after normal business hours at 720-203-5224
- Open windows for ventilation
- Leave the contaminated area immediately, unless there is a chance that some of the broken light bulb got on your clothing, then stay put until we get there or you may risk contaminating other areas!
- Things Not to Do!
- Do Not Use Vacuum Cleaner
- Do not walk through broken glass
It’s hard to imagine that all of the CFL bulbs that have broken have been disposed of properly. I am also sure that there are a number of people that aren’t even aware of the dangers and took no precautions when cleaning or handling broken bulbs.
And our environment? This is where mercury laden CFL bulbs do their most serious damage to everyone of us. This is the same environment that our hordes of”Greenies” are so concerned about dying from global warming. But unknown to our greenie friends, already there are hundreds of millions of disposed CFL bulbs that have contaminated personal garbage cans, fleets of garbage trucks (spreading their toxicity near and far), and garbage disposal sites, that are doing irreparable damage to our ground water, except when such garbage is burnt; then, mercury is released into the very air we all breathe. You see there are precious few toxic dump sites in the world equipped to handle mercury, the most dangerous element in the world, after radio-active materials. http://www.healthfreedoms.org/2010/03/17/stock-up-on-incandescent-light-bulbs-in-fact-buy-a-lifetime-supply-of-them/