Thursday, January 3, 2008


Energy-Saving Bulbs Causing Migraine Headaches
Posted Jan 2nd 2008 10:08AM by Tim StevensFiled under: Green Tech

Compact fluorescent bulbs, the twisted looking replacement lights that use as little as one fourth the power of their common incandescent counterparts (and last much longer), are being adopted worldwide in an effort to reduce energy consumption. They are even becoming mandatory in some countries -- a little troubling according to the Daily Mail, which reports that health experts in the U.K. say the green bulbs can cause migraine headaches or other disconcerting symptoms in many people.

The bulbs work in the same way as the long, traditional fluorescent tube lights seen in many commercial establishments. This means that they can produce light that subtly flickers, unnoticeable by many, but a big problem for others, especially epileptics, who can suffer from seizures under fluorescent bulbs. According the U.K.'s Migraine Action Association and other health organizations, the lights also cause headaches, as well as nausea, dizziness, and even physical pain for those suffering with lupus, according to the study.In both the United States and the United Kingdom, traditional incandescent bulbs are set to be completely phased out by 2012.

Surely those with medical conditions can be given exemptions easily enough, but if they can't simply walk into a store and buy a traditional bulb, just how many companies will continue manufacturing them and how much will they cost? Will traditional bulb clubs be the marijuana-buying clubs of the 21st century?Such recent health concerns around energy-saving fluorescent bulbs might be another reason to push research into production of LED-based lighting options, which are even more efficient than CFL lighting, and even more durable, with a single bulb potentially never burning out. Such LED-based bulbs are available now, but at per-bulb costs that dwarf those of the relatively expensive CFL bulbs.


Thomas said...

i got a migraine immediately after screwing in a compact fluorescent bulb, when it flashed on right in front of my eyes--and I very rarely get migraines. Is the answer in the ballast? Do they use a smaller or cheaper ballast than the familiar tubes? More here than meets the eye!

Electrical Continuing Education said...

I've been reading a lot of issues about CFLs and the danger it may bring. I don't know if I already need to change my bulbs at home. All of my bulbs are CFLs. My contractor who took his Electrician Online Course said that LED is much better to use.