from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
Just when you thought you influenced the climate and made friends with Al Gore and the warmist cabal:
A wise fellow. Fog of Chaos wrote about the potential problem a long time ago.
“You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology. So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs at home. ‘I bulk bought incandescent lightbulbs before the Government made it illegal to import them,’ he says.
Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern lightbulbs. Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature aging and even skin cancer.
He doesn’t have any low-energy bulbs in his house, explaining: ‘I have lots of old-style bulbs I bought in bulk when they were available.’
Incandescent bulbs had been the standard form of illumination for more than a century. But following an EU directive, the Government banned the import of 100-watt bulbs from 2009. This was followed by a ban on 60w bulbs in 2011 and a full ban on all ‘traditional’ bulbs in 2012.
“The EU directive was aimed at cutting fuel and carbon emissions. The low-energy bulbs – or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), to give them their technical name – are said to use 80 per cent less electricity and to last longer. Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs work by electrically heating a filament inside a glass globe filled with inert gas, so that it emits light.”
“The concern is about some of the light rays emitted in high levels by these bulbs, says Professor Marshall. Recent scientific evidence shows these specific rays are particularly damaging to human eyes and skin.“
“Professor John Hawk, the retired head of the photobiology unit at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College, London, warns: ‘There is good evidence that the CFLs that have been foisted upon us emit radiation sufficient to cause damage to the skin if used close by for long enough.’
He says the risk is particularly high if the bulb is a metre or less from your body, which is common as people use them in reading lamps. ‘There is evidence that demonstrates that the lamps can not only cause damage to skin, but also short-term symptoms such as sun rash and prickly heat, a condition that medically is called polymorphic light eruption.”
“Low-energy bulbs are also known to cause trouble to people who have lupus, an auto-immune disorder that typically affects the skin, joints and internal organs. Irritation caused by ultraviolet light worsens the rashes, joint pain and fatigue associated with the disease.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, up to two-thirds of people with the condition are sensitive to CFLs.”
And it is not all:
“‘Migraines and epilepsy are also problems,’ says Professor Hawk. ‘I have seen 30 skin patients in my clinic who have been experiencing these problems linked to the bulbs.’ This may be because low-energy bulbs can flicker imperceptibly (incandescent bulbs flicker only when they are about to break).
A 2013 study in the journal Neurology found that flickering lights are likely to trigger migraines in some sufferers. Flickering lights are also a trigger for epileptic fits.”
“It’s also previously been reported that low-energy bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, raising concerns that if the glass is broken, this toxic substance could be released into the air or landfill. A study by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency found a broken low-energy bulb emits levels of the vapour up to 20 times higher than the safe guideline limit for an indoor area.”
“Another potential concern is that low-energy bulbs bought off the shelf vary considerably in the amount of dangerous spectrum ultraviolet light they emit, according to research at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, by Professor Harry Moseley, its head of photo-biology. ‘There appear to be significant problems with quality control in their manufacture,’ he says.”
‘Our testing has found that in a batch of ten CFLs from randomly selected makers, one may be significantly worse than the rest, because, for example, it has a fault in its light-shielding.’”
How lucky that Australia imports its lighbulbs from Communist China, famous for its rigorous quality control.
“Dermatologist Professor Hawk acknowledges the efforts to improve the bulbs by providing clouded glass domes. ‘But we are not sure how improved they are,’ he says. He has been trying to lobby the EU to lift its ban on incandescent bulbs.
‘I have talked to the committee on light safety in Brussels about these concerns, but no one there seems to be interested in this,’ he says. ‘The EU was trying to be green by introducing CFLs, but they did not think of the health consequences. They are very reluctant to reverse its policies.‘”
“Professor Moseley, ‘…their feeling is that it is the sufferers’ problem. In Brussels, the carbon emission targets take precedence.’ Eye expert Professor Marshall has a far simpler, if rather blunt, solution.
‘I would like to urge the manufacturers of these lightbulbs to get rid of them.’”