Health warning: CFL and LED bulbs

cfl-featuredGovernments around the world are phasing out incandescent light bulbs in favor of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LED lamps. The extra cost associated with LED lamps, makes them less affordable at present, so the push is: use CFLs. Even though they can produce an equal amount of light and use a lot less power, we may find that what we save on these costs will be applied to our health care. There are indications that these alternatives may not be a healthy choice.

One of the things to consider is that the CFL bulbs contain mercury. Mercury in a known toxin. Disposing of these bulbs in landfill sites will contribute to the poisoning of our planet, but we are also at risk from having them in our houses. Broken bulbs give off toxic fumes.

The video clip below is a funny skit that pokes fun at the problem. Note: CFL's contain 5 milligrams of mercury per bulb and not the 5 grams they say in this video.

While mercury is certainly a danger to ourselves and the environment there are other risks. The light these bulbs emit suppress our bodies ability  to produce Melatonin. This process occurs when we sleep, so you certainly wouldn't want to be handy a CFL night light. An article on the Green Pasture website goes on to say:

Melatonin is responsible for neutralizing free radicals that build up in the cells of the body, which can damage cellular components up to and including the cell’s DNA. The hormone is also essential for the correct functioning of a variety of immune cell functions. And as expected, depressed melatonin levels have long been associated with increased risks for the development of multiple forms of cancers.

And this isn't all....

You may have heard from environmentally conscious individuals who have become early adoptees of these new bulbs, complain that after replacing all of the bulbs in their house, they started feeling un-well. Their family doctors were not able to pin-point the problem. It has to do with the frequency radiation generated from the ballast.

Kevin Byrne is the publisher of, a web site dedicated to bringing you the latest information and solutions concerning Dirty Electricity, EMF pollution, radio frequency (RF) radiation and its associated health effects. In an article on his site, it says:

 CFL's operate at high frequency using an electronic switching ballast to "chop up" our 120 volt AC electricity - that's how they are able to use less energy when compared to an old-style incandescent bulb. This chopping results in voltage fluctuations (microsurges) that produce a ringing in the electromagnetic spectrum and is often measured in the radio frequency (RF) range frequencies above 3 kHz. A typical operating frequency for an electronic ballast in a CFL would be in the region of 50kHz to 100kHz, a frequency range known to produce adverse effects on one's health. Muscle and joint pain, headaches, nausea, sleep disorders, respiratory problems, rashes along with anxiety and depression are just a few of the symptoms noted by some individuals.

The most common complaints I've heard are muscle and joint pain, headaches and nausea. But I've only heard from a few people, and they were women over fifty. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to learn that people over fifty are more susceptible to this type of illness.

LED lamps, on the other-hand, don't contain mercury, last longer and save you more money than CFLs, but they are also more expensive. But in a study published by Environmental Science and Technology, they found that LEDs contain lead, arsenic and a dozen other potentially dangerous substances. You can read more about this here.

About the only recommendation I can make, is to start creating your own personal stockpile of incandescent light bulbs. That and candles. But NOT paraffin wax candles. They are made from petroleum by-products, and give off toxic fumes when burned. You want to buy ones made from Beeswax.




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One comment on “Health warning: CFL and LED bulbs

  1. There was an article on the CBC website saying how Canada is unprepared to dispose ofCFL bulbs properly and that “One fluorescent lamp can contaminate a small lake — that’s 22 milligrams of mercury in it — that’s how dangerous and poisonous mercury is.”

    You can read the article here.

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