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UK Medical Experts: CFLs Cause Eye, Skin Damage

From the UK’s Daily Mail:

The medical experts who refuse to use low-energy lightbulbs in their homes

By John Naish | 12 May 2014

How would you view a man who’s stockpiled a lifetime supply of old-fashioned lightbulbs because he believes low-energy bulbs could lead to blindness? You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology. So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs at home.

"I bulk bought incandescent lightbulbs before the Government made it illegal to import them," he says. "I can’t give you an exact number, but I have enough to see me out."

Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern lightbulbs. Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature aging and even skin cancer… Instead of a glowing filament, low-energy bulbs have argon and mercury vapour within a spiral-shaped tube. When the gas gets heated, it produces ultraviolet light…

The concern is about some of the light rays emitted in high levels by these bulbs, says Professor Marshall. Recent scientific evidence shows these specific rays are particularly damaging to human eyes and skin…

As he explains: "Light is a form of radiation. The shorter the wavelength, the more  energy it contains. The most damaging part of the spectrum is the short wavelength light at the indigo/violet end of blue. Incandescent bulbs did not cause problems, but these low-energy lamps emit high peaks of blue and ultraviolet light at this wavelength." …

In the same way ultraviolet rays in sunlight can cause premature aging in our skin if we get sunburnt, there is a similar situation in the eye, says Professor Marshall. "You shed skin every five days, but your retina is with you for life." …

Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims…

But it’s not just your eyes that may be at risk from these lightbulbs. Professor John Hawk, the retired head of the photobiology unit at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College, London, warns: "There is good evidence that the CFLs that have been foisted upon us emit radiation sufficient to cause damage to the skin if used close by for long enough." …

"As with any ultraviolet damage, these effects can add up over the years. The cumulative effect of this ultra-violet light causing burning, skin cell damage and aging skin, is that it must to some small, but significant, extent, increase the risk of skin cancer."

Low-energy bulbs are also known to cause trouble to people who have lupus, an auto-immune disorder that typically affects the skin, joints and internal organs. Irritation caused by ultraviolet light worsens the rashes, joint pain and fatigue associated with the disease.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, up to two-thirds of people with the condition are sensitive to CFLs…

Yeah, but they save so much energy.

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This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

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