Dr. Magda Havas, PhD Environmental Studies Research Papers

Energy efficient light & health

Posted on October 10, 2009

Havas, M. 2008. Health Concerns associated with Energy Efficient Lighting and their Electromagnetic Emissions. Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) Request for an opinion on “Light Sensitivity”, June 5, 2008. 11 pp.

I write this mini report in response to your request for information about Light Sensitivity as it relates to energy efficient light bulbs. It is based on research we are currently conducting that has not yet been peer-reviewed. For this reason I am able to share only a small portion of our results with you at this time.

Governments around the world are banning energy inefficient light bulbs in an attempt to reduce consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases. However, the energy efficient light bulbs that are currently available may be harming both the environment (mercury content of bulbs is high) and human health (electromagnetic pollution).

The main function of light bulbs is to generate light, which is part of the electromagnetic spectrum (see Figure 1). The original incandescent light bulbs also generate heat (infrared radiation, also part of the EM2 spectrum), which makes them energy inefficient. The newer compact fluorescent light bulbs generate radio frequency radiation as well as ultraviolet radiation (see Figure 1) and many still generate heat although less of it. These frequencies (RF3 and UV4) have been associated with adverse health in numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies and a growing number of people are complaining that these bulbs make them ill.

Instead of promoting compact fluorescent light bulbs, governments should be insisting that manufacturers produce light bulbs that do not produce radio frequency or UV radiation and that are safe for the environment and for human health. Alternative light bulbs are available that are much more energy efficient than CFL, do not contain mercury, do not produce radio frequencies or UV radiation, and do not make people sick. Unfortunately these bulbs are still too expensive for residential use (CLED lights produced by www.realuvcorp.com).

Emissions of radio frequency from an incandescent and CFL bulb

Emissions of radio frequency from an incandescent and CFL bulb

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