Light it Up

January 29, 2009 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Compact Fluorescent Light BulbOur house is riddled with CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) as they use approximately 75% less energy, are better for the environment and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Last week, I heard on the radio that the energy-saving CFL’s  were known to cause rashes and burns, equivalent to a sunburn, on some people. Of course, I needed to look into it to find out what that actually meant to me and my family since we have changed over all our bulbs to CFLs.  Upon searching, I found that they actually have a little bit of mercury in them and emit ultraviolet radiation.   Each bulb manufacturer varies, but  according to EarthEasy, each of them “generally contains an average of 5 mg of mercury, about one-fifth of that found in the average watch battery, and less than 1/100th of the mercury found in an amalgam dental filling.” According to the news program 16:9, Health Canada states,  “CFLs are not provided with a prismatic diffuser that filters ultraviolet radiation out. Therefore, there may be skin sensitivity issues, especially in people with certain skin diseases”.   I also heard that the rashes and burns occur when you are about 30cm or closer to the CFLs.   As well, by 2012, Canada will be banning the sale of incandescent lights.

Some things to note about CFLs:

  • CFLs come in various different shapes and sizes, and lumens (amount of light be generated). Some even come domed for a little extra protection.
  • There are limitations to CFLs in such things as dimmers and some timers.
  • Dispose of used CFLs carefully, some retailers such as Home Depot and IKEA, provide recycling programs for burnt out bulbs.
  • Don’t get too close to the bulb itself, especially for extended periods of time.
  • If you break a CFL use caution to clean up safely. Here are some good instructions for cleaning up!

Happy Lighting!

§CC

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Entry filed under: Greener options, Health. Tags: , , , , , .

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