The new compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL bulbs) may not be as safe as they were first reported to be.
We were let in on the dirty little secret of CFLs containing mercury (which could pose a health hazard if these bulbs should accidentally break) but now new studies are finding that chemical and UV leakage from these bulbs may bring with them a higher risk of cancer as well.
Governments have known for some time that some people are more sensitive to the UV rays emitted by CFL lighting. They had previously acknowledged that the CFL bulbs can pose a health risk to people with certain conditions such as Lupus and other autoimmune disease.
But now a new study by Dr. Miriam Rafailovich of Stony Brook N.Y. found that CFLs leach harmful ultraviolet rays and there is indeed an increase skin cancer risk from the use of compact fluorescent bulb use. The findings from this study are startling. This new indoor skin cancer risk is an issue which should concern each and every one of us.
Because the new bulbs emit UV rays those on medications which could make them more light sensitive can also be affected by CFL lighting in their homes or workplace.
The Stony Brook Compact Fluorescent Bulb Study
It was after Dr. Miriam Rafailovich read an Israeli article about a commune where the membership developed a much higher skin cancer rate after switching to the new CFL bulbs that she decided to investigate these bulbs a little closer.
The research team purchased a variety of compact fluorescent light bulbs from a number of locations in order to have a random sampling for the tests. Miriam Rafailovich a Professor of Materials Science and her research team conducted new studies into Ultraviolet radiation leakage, and possible cancer risks posed, from the use of the new compact fluorescent bulbs.
This research found that the phosphor coatings which cover the CFL bulbs have small cracks in it which then leach UVC and UVA rays. These rays mimic the suns rays and are strong enough to cause damage to healthy skin. See: European Skin Cancer Study
The studies also found that skin cells not only stopped growing when exposed to the compact fluorescent light bulbs but the skin cells also began to alter in appearance. Thus indicating a risk of cancer from exposure to these indoor light rays. The skin cancer risk from compact fluorescent lighting includes the deadly form of melanoma skin cancer.
Especially Disturbing is the Absorption of Indoor UVC Rays
Ultraviolet light comes in UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. Most of the UV rays that we absorb out of doors come in the form of UVA and UVB so these are generally the ultraviolet rays that are of the highest concern to us.
UVC rays are generally not associated with an increased risk of cancer because these rays diffuse into the air around us. But now research shows that this is not the case when UVC rays are released indoors from CFL light bulbs.
The UVC ultraviolet rays released within a foot or two of compact fluorescent light bulbs are easily absorbed through the skin, alter human DNA, and pose a very serious health risk to people or animals who are exposed to them. CFL bulbs in table or desk lamps pose a considerable indoor skin cancer risk.
Perhaps Governments Approved the Use of CFL Bulbs Too Quickly
The question is: Are governments downplaying the true health risks of these bulbs?
Governments are enforcing the use of CFL bulbs by banning the sale of the old incandescent light bulbs. But could these new regulations bring with them too great a health risk for the general public and especially for those most vulnerable to the affects of Ultraviolet rays?
New studies are indicating that these light bulbs may not be worth the health hazard they bring with them. Skin cancer, breast cancer, as well as other cell damage can occur from exposure to compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Individuals who suffer from immune based inflammatory illness can be more sensitive to UV rays making exposure to tube lighting and the new CFL light bulbs difficult for them to tolerate. Children who are usually the most vulnerable to toxic stimuli are often the very individuals who are the closest to lamps set at desk or table level.
What to do if you Break a CFL Bulb in Your Home
How to Reduce Your Indoor Skin Cancer Risk
*Do not sit under reading lamps that contain CFL bulbs.
*Enclose your bulbs in an additional glass enclosure to help minimize UV ray leakage.
*Try to minimize the amount of time you are exposed to compact fluorescent bulbs.
*Young children are more vulnerable to environmental stimuli so take extra care with their health.
*Write your government with your concerns on the regulation of compact fluorescent lighting. In Canada the Conservative government banned the use of incandescent light bulbs beginning January 1st, 2014.
It is recommended that you limit the time exposed to CFL lighting and also that you keep these bulbs at a safe distance from your skin. See: The Health Canada Report which provides information for consumers including targets for CFL bulb exposure.
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