In our zeal to protect the environment, most of us have now replaced our old conventional light bulbs with the new energy efficient models. Unfortunately, we are now learning the new bulbs come with significant health risks. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has actually issued an emergency protocol to be followed if a bulb breaks, as a broken bulb releases twenty times the maximum safe level of mercury into the air.
Energy efficient bulbs are known to cause:
– Cluster headaches
– Inability to concentrate
Because it is a potent neurotoxin, mercury is particularly dangerous to children and pregnant women. It affects the brain, nervous system, liver and kidneys, and can impair the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems. Mercury has also been linked to tremors, insomnia, memory loss, anxiety, headaches, and Alzheimer’s disease.
There is also concern the energy efficient light bulbs may contribute to cancer. New research by Peter Braun of Berlin’s Alab Laboratory determined that the bulbs contain the following carcinogens:
– Phenol, which is a slightly acidic toxic white crystalline solid, sourced from coal tar and utilized in chemical manufacture.
– Naphthalene, which is a volatile white crystalline product created by the distillation of coal tar. It is used in the manufacture of mothballs and as a raw material in chemical manufacture.
– Styrene, which is an unsaturated liquid hydrocarbon that is a by-product of petroleum.
The energy efficient light bulbs emit UV rays, including UV-B and traces of UV-C radiation. UV radiation can lead to skin cancer and is dangerous to the eyes. Radiation from the bulbs attacks the immune system, and it interferes with the formation of vitamin D-3 by damaging skin tissue.
Householders are told they are not to put these bulbs in with regular trash, but instead, they are to be treated as hazardous waste. If a bulb is broken inside, all windows and doors in the house are to be left open for 15 minutes to prevent exposure to poisonous gas.
In the near future, consumers will lose the option to purchase the standard, incandescent light bulbs, because they will not be on the market. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandates the replacement of all incandescent bulbs with the energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.