Friday, July 20, 2012

Store Bought CFLs Emit Significant Amounts Of Skin Damaging Ultraviolet Radiation

Researchers at Stony Brook found that store bought compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) emit skin damaging amounts of ultraviolet radiation. Isn't it great when Congress and the environmentalists decide what is best for us and take away our right to choose and buy old fashioned incandescent bulbs. Energy saving can never be a bad thing to them even if it harms us in other ways. May be the public is not so irrational after all. The public understands that newer technologies present new risks as it reduces an older problem. In addition to the studied radiation, CFLs also contain toxic mercury which is released if the bulbs are broken.

The public should be free to make its own choices and the public should not be treated as children that are told what to do by a paternalistic environmental lobby and Congress. If something is really better, economically and health-wise, the public will choose it without legislative or regulatory mandates.

From "New Light Bulbs May Be Harmful To Skin" on ScienceBlog:
Stony Brook researchers [led by Miriam Rafailovich, PhD, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the Director of the Garcia Center for Polymers at Engineered Interfaces at Stony Brook] collected CFL bulbs purchased from different locations across Suffolk and Nassau counties, and then measured the amount of UV emissions and the integrity of each bulb’s phosphor coatings. Results revealed significant levels of UVC and UVA, which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings, present in all CFL bulbs studied.

At Stony Brook’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC), the team took the same bulbs and studied the effects of exposure on healthy human skin tissue cells, including: fibroblasts, a type of cell found in connective tissue that produces collagen; and keratinocytes, an epidermal cell that produces keratin, the key structural material in the outer layer of human skin. Tests were repeated with incandescent light bulbs of the same intensity....

"Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation," said Professor Rafailovich....Rafailovich added that incandescent light of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells....

"Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs," said Professor 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." [Emphasis added.]

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