NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Some Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs May Put Health at Risk

January 14, 2013

Despite being touted as money-saving and eco-friendly, a new study finds that energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs can be dangerous to a person's health, says CBS News.

  • According to research at Stony Brook University, the bulbs emit rays so strong they can burn skin and skin cells.
  • Researchers found that in every "eco-friendly" compact fluorescent light bulb tested the coating of phosphor around the bulb was cracked, allowing ultraviolet rays to escape.
  • This could lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Some doctors say that it can even form the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.

This is especially concerning considering the government is trying to phase out the old, incandescent bulbs to make the country more energy efficient. At the very least, some consumers believe they should have the option of being able to pick between compact fluorescents and incandescent bulbs.

Stony Brook researchers have advised that customers stay two feet away from the bulbs at all times when they are in a light fixture. The compact fluorescent industry released a statement arguing that the bulbs may emit ultraviolet radiation, but at low doses that are not harmful to humans.

Source: "Some Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs May Put Health at Risk," CBS News, January 2, 2012. "The Effects of UV Emissions from CLF Exposure on Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes in Vitro," Stony Brook University, July 2012.


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