Light bulbs: How to buy energy saving light bulbs Your energy saving light bulb concerns
Do CFL light bulbs cause cancer?
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) issued a warning in October 2008 about some energy-saving light bulbs emitting higher levels of UV radiation than guidelines suggest is safe.
It suggests, as a precaution, that spiral and tube-type energy-saving CFL light bulbs shouldn’t be used for more than one hour a day when people are less than 30cm away from the bulb – for example, on a desk lamp. Instead, consumers should switch to globe-style bulbs, or move the lamp further away.
The HPA is keen to point out that CFL light bulbs will not cause skin cancer. Sitting very close to a light bulb that emits more than the recommended amount of UV light has similar effects to going outside on a sunny day – so some caution is recommended. But there’s no need to panic and replace CFL light bulbs.
Do CFL light bulbs cause migraines?
Some migraine support groups, such as the Migraine Action Association, have raised this as a concern.
The Department of Health has said in response: 'The Department is aware of concern from migraine support groups that the use of some energy-saving light bulbs could potentially affect migraine sufferers. We are continuing to work with clinicians and support groups regarding the nature and extent of any reported health effects, and bring influence to bear where appropriate.'
It also said that avoiding bulbs that have more than one outer surface, such as stick-shaped bulbs, can lessen the risks for migraine sufferers.
Can CFL light bulbs trigger epilepsy?
The charity Epilepsy Action has some anecdotal reports from members who believe ill-effects such as headaches and dizziness have been caused by energy-saving light bulbs.
It has said: 'Epilepsy Action is not aware of any evidence that low-energy light bulbs can directly trigger epileptic seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. However, we have been contacted by a number of people with epilepsy who believe that energy-saving light bulbs have impacted on their condition.
'We are not able to quantify how many people with epilepsy are affected by these bulbs or say definitively how energy-saving light bulbs may affect people with epilepsy. We are asking the government to confirm that ordinary light bulbs will still be available for people with epilepsy, should they have concerns about the use of energy-efficient light bulbs and their epilepsy. We will continue to monitor the situation.'