As you probably know, the new energy saving light bulb has replaced incandescent 40 and 60-watt light bulbs at the beginning of 2014 as required by Federal law.
This lighting is known by many names such as compact fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lights, and compact fluorescent tubes (CFL).
But all are designed to replace the old, 20th century lighting icon, the incandescent light bulb. The reason? Each bulb wastes 90 percent of its energy use as heat, not light.
So enters the EPA in creating a new version of lighting that meets strict energy consumption standards and which is mandated by the U.S. Federal government for the rest of us to use.
Companies can still sell these bulbs until their pre-law stock runs out, but manufacturers will cease making traditional 40 and 60-watt light bulbs which up until now have been the most popular in the country. Now we notice the change!
Hidden Energy Saving Light Bulb Dangers
Unfortunately, the quest for saving energy trumps the health and safety concerns when it comes to some green technology.
The best definition for ‘green living’ is all about living non-toxic, natural and chemical free, as well as protecting our environment with a reasonable stewardship that is intended to benefit mankind.
But sometimes there is an unhealthy trade-off that is not helpful. Such could be the case of the new energy saving CFL. True, it saves energy.
In fact, CFLs consume from 1/5 to 1/3 less power than incandescent bulbs and have an 8 to 15 times longer service life.
But the dangers may end up being greater than the benefits, especially to those who are affected.
Dr.Rashad A. Buttar, DO from the Center for Advanced Medicine and Research explains that each CFL has an electronic ballast in the base.
It is not only a fire hazard, but can potentially expose you to mercury poisoning if not handled properly. In fact, a CFL can even explode if broken while still hot.
The mercury poses a serious health threat as the vapors envelope a room or if comes in contact with the skin.
He sites this case story about such an event:
You are dispatched to The Smith residence for a laceration to the foot. Routine run huh? Nope. What you were not told is that Mr. Smith uses CFL lamps in his home.
One of those lamps burned-out, and Mr. Smith did not wait for the lamp to cool down before he stood on a chair and removed it. Because the lamp was hot to the touch, Mr. Smith dropped it,
As the lamp hits the floor, it exploded. As Mr. Smith descended from the chair he stepped, barefooted, into the broken glass and exposed mercury.
Mr. Smith’s foot was terribly damaged by contact with the mercury and at one point, was thought to need amputation. Even the EPA stipuulates safety recommendations for the use of these new energy saving bulbs, so that should say something.
Not only is there the potential for mercury poisoning, but according to the Washington Times,
According to a recently released German study, the supposed “environmentally friendly” compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), are reported to have “cancer causing chemicals” that are sent out when the light is switched on…the bulbs could result in higher breast cancer rates if used late at night.
The bluer light that CFLs emitted closely mimicked daylight, disrupting the body’s production of the hormone melatonin more than older-style filament bulbs, which cast a yellower light.
The Migraine Action Association has also warned that they could trigger migraines, and skin care specialists have claimed that their intense light could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems.
Really unbelievable if you consider it. Maybe Thomas Edison had the safest technology after all! If you do decide to use CFLs in your home or office, here are Dr. Buttar’s safety tips:
Safety Recommendations in the Event of a Broken CFL
- EVACUATE the room, taking care not to step on the broken glass littering the floor
- VENTILATE the room for a MINIMUM of 15 minutes (EPA recommendation)
- DO NOT clean the debris of the broken lamp with a vacuum cleaner as this will spread toxic mercury droplets throughout the house either immediately or upon the future use of the vacuum
- WEAR protective gloves; use a broom or brush to sweep the debris into a dustpan; empty the contents of the dustpan into a plastic bag; seal the plastic bag
- DO NOT dispose of the plastic bag into an ordinary refuse receptacle
- The debris is lawfully a Hazardous Material and must be disposed of accordingly
Best Alternative Energy Saving Light Bulbs
On the other hand, there are some options, of course, to using these new energy saving bulbs…and that is to stock up on all the incandescent bulbs you can before they run out! 🙂
Of course, this isn’t the most practical option. Better yet, why not switch to new LED light bulbs?
Even though they are the most expensive for initial purchase at about $7.50 a 40-watt bulb, they also can last more than 20 years.
Just calculate your electric bill savings with that and the fact that there are no safe handling instructions.
Plus, there are no bad press reviews for LED energy saving light bulbs!