Tag Archives: UV

CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today

If the story appeared in a supermarket tabloid you’d probably chuckle, shake your head, and then pay for your groceries. But when stories about compact fluorescent bulbs posing health risks turn up in Scientific American, you have to take notice.

Not to worry, says NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network. But electric cooperatives will want to be aware of what’s going on, because some members are asking questions.

“About a year and a half ago, there were some reports in the European media that CFLs cause cancer and there was a university study. It was picked up by a lot of reputable media outlets in Europe and the United States,” said Brian Sloboda, CRN senior program manager.

“And then one day, a reporter called the university to interview the researcher. And the researcher said he had no clue because he’d never done any work like that. It was a total fabrication,” Sloboda explained.

Fast forward to July of this year, when Scientific American and others picked up on research conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Sloboda said some co-ops received calls from members asking about this story, which suggested the university found some correlation between skin cells in a Petri dish and ultraviolet radiation emitted by some CFLs.

“The details are different,” said Sloboda, who took a closer look. “The simple answer is that there is, for most people, not too much to be concerned with.”

For starters, some of the cells used in the SUNY study are not normally exposed to sunlight. So it’s worth looking at research by others, including the Food and Drug Administration.

That found that while CFLs do produce UV light, it is a small amount “equivalent to just being outside in the sunlight for a minute or two,” Sloboda said. “So it doesn’t cause direct damage.”

The only eyebrow-raising finding by the FDA concerns people with pre-existing conditions, such as lupus, that cause the skin to be hyper-sensitive to UV light. And in those situations it’s only people who are “using the CFL very, very close to your skin for an extended period of time,” Sloboda said. “Most people are not doing that.” FDA recommends keeping the CFL at least a foot from your skin.

Co-ops can advise members to talk to their physician, and if they’re still worried, to buy LEDs which don’t emit UV light.

But Sloboda said the bottom line is: “You’re far more at risk for skin cancer by going outside and never using sunscreen for several years. That’s what puts you at risk—not having a CFL in a table lamp.”

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer via CFL Cancer Scare Debunked » Electric Co-op Today.

Debunking False Claims About Compact Fluorescents CFLs | ThinkProgress

by Matt Kasper

Energy efficient light bulbs continue to be a target of conservatives in Congress. This summer, multiple amendments were approved by House lawmakers trying to prohibit the government from enforcing federal light bulb standards. Republicans falsely claim those standards “ban” incandescent bulbs.Now, conservative media outlets are seizing on another opportunity to rail on energy efficient bulbs, saying that compact fluorescents are capable of “frying your skin with UVA radiation.” National Public Radio also featured a story last week perpetuating the myth.

Where is this claim coming from? A recent study conducted by researchers at Stony Brook University concluded that the response from healthy skin cells to UV emitted from compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation.

However, the report’s findings are not new – and there is no cause for alarm.

Experts already know CFLs emit UV radiation and agree that using CFLs are perfectly safe. The co-author of the study, Dr. Tatiana Mironova, even told Media Matters that “there is no link in scientific literature between CFL exposure and cancer.”

The energy efficient bulbs have been in use since the 1980s in schools, offices, hospitals, and residential houses. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already has regulations in place for CFLs and explicitly states it is not concerned with the radiation levels from the bulbs.

In 2008, the Health Protection Agency of the United Kingdom found CFLs emit UV radiation, and to prevent any damage to skin cells one should use a lampshade, or the bare bulb should be positioned at least 1ft. away from the skin.

The Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency, Justin McCracken said, “This is precautionary advice and people should not be thinking of removing these energy saving light bulbs from their homes.”

A European study published in 2008 titled “Light Sensitivity,” concluded similar results:

Within the context of the promotion of wide-spread use of energy saving lamps, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and the possible phase-out of incandescent lamps, it has been claimed that the symptoms of several diseases may be aggravated in the presence of energy saving lamps.  SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks) did not find suitable direct scientific data on the relationship between energy saving lamps and the symptoms in patients with various conditions.

Energy efficient appliances, including CFLs, are an important tool for addressing climate change. The standards for CFLs were adopted by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and are about 75 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs — while lasting 10 times longer.

The Energy Star program, designed by the EPA and DOE, helps consumers save on energy by choosing efficient products. According to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the products and standards will save consumers and businesses more than $1.1 trillion through 2035.

via Debunking False Claims About Compact Fluorescents CFLs | ThinkProgress.

Study: Exposure to CFL bulbs harms healthy skin cells | The Daily Caller


New research funded by the National Science Foundation has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin.

The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science — published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology — which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.

Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. “Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.”

According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 a chemical found in sunblock, incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.

The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.

With high levels of ultraviolet radiation present, the researchers delved into how the exposure affected the skin. According to the findings, skin damage from exposure to CFLs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolet radiation.

“Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs,” said Rafailovich. “Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover.”

The research was inspired by a similar 2008 European study conducted by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks which found a potential for skin damage and suggested the use of double-enveloped bulbs as a mitigation tool.

CFLs have been the source of political rumblings since 2007 when Congress approved new energy standards that would have started to phase out the traditional incandescent light bulb in favor of the energy-efficient CFL bulb this year. In December, Congress offered a provision to prevent the Department of Energy from enforcing the standards for nine months. The regulation is still on the books.

The restriction on consumer choice has represented a political battle cry for Tea Partiers and conservatives alike who view the regulation as an infringement on individual liberty. Environmentalists and CFL proponents argue the bulbs are environmentally friendly and economically efficient.


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/07/23/energy-efficient-cfl-bulbs-cause-skin-damage-say-researchers/#ixzz21S6f76A9

via Study: Exposure to CFL bulbs harms healthy skin cells | The Daily Caller.

Light Switch: Old-Fashioned Incandescent Bulb To Be Phased Out, But Is It Better For Your Health? – Courant.com

The Hartford Courant

December 24, 2011

After much debate about the environmental effects of the incandescent light bulb — more or less the same kind from Thomas Edison‘s day — the conventional 100-watt bulb has been spared for at least nine months, thanks to political maneuvering.

Ten days ago, Congress delayed enforcement of new Department of Energy regulations governing 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. Under the new requirement, which was to have taken effect Jan. 1 but was postponed until Oct. 1, manufacturers will no longer be able to produce the bulbs in their current form but will have to make them 25 percent more energy-efficient.

Who knew the light bulb was such a lightning rod? Many people who prefer the incandescent bulb say their choice of light source gives a warmer glow. Besides aesthetics, though, some wonder what health effects would come from a world lit by compact fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. Fluorescent bulbs have been shown to emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause skin cancer, and studies have been conducted on the effects of their flickering.

Mark Rea, director of the lighting research center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., doesn’t share most of these concerns. He said fluorescent lights have improved greatly in recent decades to eliminate the annoying flicker that sometimes induced headaches. As for UV rays, Rea said, 10 minutes out in the sun will expose you to more UV light than any kind of light bulb.

Read More  Light Switch: Old-Fashioned Incandescent Bulb To Be Phased Out, But Is It Better For Your Health? – Courant.com.

Light bulb phase-out prompts fears of low CFL recycling rate

60W incandescent bulbs are due to be finally withdrawn from sale in the EU on 1 September, following on the trail of all higher-wattage bulbs which began to be withdrawn two years ago, but there are worries that the mercury-containing CFL bulbs that are replacing them will contaminate the environment.

The old, energy-wasting light bulbs chief replacements are compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs, which are up to 80% more efficient and last up to seven times longer.

Light Emitting Diode LEDs lamps are catching up in terms of popularity, price and market availability, however. They have progressed a long way in the last three years in the quality of light they can offer, and the variety of luminaires and fittings on sale.

LEDs can be up to 95% more efficient, consuming only 1-3W for the same amount of light as the old type, but lasting 80,000 hours.

Halogen lamps, with between 25% and 50% energy savings in relation to incandescent bulbs, are still being permitted, but many LED luminaires can now duplicate their effects and functions without wasting the power they consume as heat.

Householders stand to make significant savings by using the new bulbs. The Energy Saving Trust calculates that a home with 15 light bulbs would save about £90 a year by installing them.

Three million tonnes of carbon emissions a year would also be saved when all homes switch to low-energy bulbs, equivalent to a two per cent reduction of the total carbon dioxide emissions from UK households from 2006 levels.

All lighting must now carry a minimum energy rating of class C, rising to class B on 1 September 2016.

Hazardous wasteCFLs are classed as hazardous waste, primarily because they contain up to 5mg of mercury per bulb.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Defra has said the bulbs are unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp were to be broken, and the Lighting Association and CIWM the Chartered Institute of Waste Management also argue that any health and environmental damage caused by the mercury in landfill is “unlikely to be significant” because of the low amount per bulb.

They say that in comparing the impact of the old incandescent bulbs and CFLs over their respective lifetimes, CFLs produce less mercury, due to the mercury emitted at power stations in the course of producing the extra electricity that incandescents need.CFLs must, however, be disposed of according to the recommendations of the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment WEEE Regulations, which require all distributors of CFLs to join take-back schemes.

A full list of take-back sites is published online by Valpak.Currently there are no regular kerbside collections of WEEE. Therefore there are concerns that most people just wont bother to recycle them.As a result, Recolight, a producer-led compliance scheme specialising in the recycling of CFLs, is running a public awareness campaign from next week to encourage people to recycle the spent bulbs by returning them to the sellers or directly to civic amenity recycling sites.

It also offers free lamp and light bulb collection services. For commercial users who can collect over 1,000 lamps every 12 weeks, it will also provide a free container and free collection of lamps.Nigel Harvey, its chief executive, said: “As a not-for-profit organisation our key objective is to increase the amount of lamps being recycled and keep this hazardous waste stream out of landfill.”Traditional incandescent lamps are not required to be recycled in the same way as CFLs as they are not classed as WEEE.

They can currently be included with normal residual waste – although we will recycle any that are inadvertently included in our collection bins.“Recolight is already running a schools education project, with 700 schools across the UK, to help increase awareness of the need to recycle CFLs,” he added.Concerns that CFLs affect the health of a minority of people who suffer from flicker or exposure to ultraviolet light have been calmed by the Health and Safety Executive which says that shading the bulb either physically to direct the UV light away from the user or with a filter to stop UV emissions, or using a double-encapsulated bulb can render it safe for such people.

via Light bulb phase-out prompts fears of low CFL recycling rate | Energy and Environmental Management EAEM Magazine.