Frying tonight?

Posted July 20, 2012 // Tagged as Blog // 5 Comments ↓


As previously blogged I am assisting the Spectrum Alliance with their campaign to retain incandescent lamps for people with specific photosensitive disorders. In the course of this I have learned a lot about skin problems caused by CFLs. It seems that such problems are not just confined to specifically photosensitive people. The Daily Mail ran an article on 20 July this year following up on recently published research in the USA. It seems that the light from CFLs has a significantly greater damaging effect on skin than incandescent lamps, to quote the abstract:

Cells exposed to CFLs exhibited a decrease in the proliferation rate, a significant increase in the production of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species), and a decrease in their ability to contract collagen. Measurements of UV emissions from these bulbs found significant levels of UVC and UVA (mercury [Hg] emission lines) which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings, present in all bulbs studied. The response of the cells to the CFLs was consistent with damage from UV radiation, which was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), normally used for UV absorption, were added prior to exposure. No effect on cells, with or without TiO2 NPs, was observed when they were exposed to incandescent light of the same intensity.

As previously experienced CFLs do emit UV despite the claims of manufacturers. Double envelope CFLs do reduce UV emissions considerably and should be used in any situation where lamps are at all close to people like task lighting, table lamps and bedside lights, particularly for the very young and very old whose skin tends to be more sensitive.

Kevan Shaw July 20 , 2012

5 Responses

  1. peter

    July 20th, 2012 at 19:31

    Double envelope CFLs also means reducing their light output still more 😉
    There is more irony about CFLs, eg leave them on, waste energy, switch them on-off, shorten their life,..
    Basically bulbs are the wrong technology for fluorescent lighting, best in long tube form, just like LEDs have natural lighting advantages in sheet form.
    Their natural advantages are compromised in offering politically pushed incandescent-copying lighting.

  2. […] of CFLs on people with light sensitivity disorders, as he points out in the introduction to his post on this research, extracts:   Frying tonight? […]

  3. […] of CFLs on people with light sensitivity disorders, as he points out in the introduction to his post on this research, extracts: Frying […]

  4. Ian Anderson

    August 15th, 2012 at 19:46

    I have been interested in this topic (ban on incandescent bulbs) and have followed various aspects of it in general for years now. I have stood on a soapbox arguing against the ban to those who would hear me in Atlantic Canada as well. I am looking for a contact email at this site, but can’t find one other than this comment box. Am I missing something?

    I think the emission spectrum of a flourescing light source is unnatural and unhealthy. Our brains were not designed to cope with it properly. I can expand upon request… furthermore, much benefit can be had from a localized heat source in the form of an incandescent bulb. Probably far more than your article on heat replacement cost indicates.

  5. […] month, Save The Bulb covered a Daily Mail article on the latest research on UV from CFLs. Here is abstract from the […]

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