Low EMF Lighting – My Recommendations

The lights in your home are perfectly harmless right? Wrong.

Or, thats to say they are not necessarily safe.

To the uninitiated a light bulbs a light bulb. But like pretty much everything electrical there are certain technologies that are much safer than others. And light bulbs are no exception.

Fluorescent Light Bulbs Emit High Levels Of UV Radiation

The above was the headline in an article published on losangeles.cbslocal.com this week. The article reports:

– that our much vaunted eco and budget friendly fluorescent light bulbs actually emit high levels of harmful ultraviolet radiation, according to a new study

– researchers at Stony Brook University randomly tested the bulbs and found the rays were so strong that they could burn your skin on the cellular level.

– according to Marcia Simon, professor of dermatology at Stony Brook “The results were that you could actually initiate cell death

What Does UV Exposure From CFLs Mean?

To put it bluntly, premature aging and cancer. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK already highlighted the dangers of UVs from CFLs back in 2008.

“It can also cause skin cancer in the deadliest form, and that’s melanoma,” says dermatologist Rebecca Tung.

The HPA also highlighted that many CFLs generate flicker at about 100Hz. Whilst most people are unable to perceive this flicker, there are believed to be health consequences.

This is not to mention the potential of these bulbs for introducing high frequency noise, dirty electricity, into your house wiring, or the 5 or so milligrams of mercury found in each CFL.

So whats the solution?

What is Low EMF Safe Lighting?

Here are my recommendations for safe lighting:

1. From a purely health perspective prefer old style incandescent bulbs. They are the safest. At the time of writing you can still buy them from Amazon – click here.

2. Prefer LED bulbs to CFLs. Some versions of LEDs are safer than others. Opt for high-quality, high-efficiency LED bulbs that don't use a transformer.

3. If you do use CFLs in your home prefer the encapsulated double envelope versions rather than the open curly wurly versions. CFLs can be suitable be used safely in places were you are not in close proximity, outdoors and in hallways.

For a full run down of the dangers of CFLs and my recommendations for low EMF lighting click here.

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  • watne said,

    I recently find fluorescent UV bulbs to be rather more at “curative” at a safe distance also these are used in horticulture so plants like them too…

    The specific data on these bulbs would be interesting like wavelengths and output spectrum if you can look at it?

  • wayne said,

    The ‘black lights’ I am speaking of…

  • Lloyd said,

    You need an ultrasound detector to measure wavelength and so on. According to David Pye (Physics World) u-shaped tube bulbs emit at 27 kHz and coiled types at 37 kHz.

  • Sharon Ingram said,

    Hi Lloyd! Thank you for your article about lightbulbs. Just read in the latest issue of the magazine for electro.sensitive people here in Sweden that, in spite of the massive drive to replace old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, there is one factor which will probably prevent the total expulsion of old-fashioned bulbs from the market, and that is saunas. Apparently the new type of bulb does not work in a sauna.

    Very few people have their own sauna, but those who do are helping to keep some form of light available to electro-sensitive people .

  • Kathairein Magdalena said,

    I have determined to use kerosene lamps, olive oil lamps and beeswax candles if I am forced by the fascist US government to use those mercury lightbulbs. If necessary I will live by the sun and moon. Period. I cannot tolerate fluorescence and wear hats and sunglasses INSIDE the stores and do my shopping as fast as possible. Whenever I stop to chat with people, I go over my time limit and kinda “loose my mind” at the cash register. I do not tolerate large stores well at all. My life shrinkens weekly, so I am planning to move as far out into the wilderness as I can get. Maybe New Mexico. Maybe trying to live in the shadow of radio telescopes The Australian Outback would be better. I have lost all attraction to civilization because I want to live well. Period.
    Thanks for your work.

  • wayne said,

    yes I feel same stuff we DO have to live with the present however and your familiar reaction is why I live in S. Arizona and to tell the truth maybe Mexico would be well to try!

    News hypes the drug wars yes but THAT issue has been a long standing one there.

    Detroit City here and many other war zones are worse.

  • kmt said,

    Hi Lloyd

    A building biologist I know who recently returned from a conference on health and lighting in Germany said that they are concerned about the blue/white light and flicker that LEDs produce (naked to the eye) he said solar powered lights with LEDS are ok (not on the mains). This could impact melatonin production, but what effects it many have on the body and eyes they do not know. Yellow and orange light is suggested to be much healthier for us especially in the evenings. I found a US company producing amber coloured glasses and screens for TVs and monitors. Look here: https://www.lowbluelights.com/about.asp

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Karla
    Light late at night can significantly reduce your melatonin synthesis. The IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) has classified light at night as a class 2A carcinogen (the same level of severity as tobacco smoke on lung cancer). In the two to three hours before you sleep try to minimize exposure to all forms EMFs, including artificial light. Yellow and orange lights reproduce the effect of a sunset and are therefore healthier than bright white lights at night.

  • Frank said,

    Hi Lloyd,
    Thanks for the interesting article. I use energy saving, non flickering bulbs. They don’t say if they are fluorescent or not. Do you know the safety rating of those?

  • Lloyd said,

    Hi Frank
    If you don’t have the packaging then you can usually tell by the shape if its energy saving or not – see the pictures in this and my other article. Traditional incandescent bulbs get so hot you can’t touch them – CFLs and LEDs don’t get hot.

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