You may think that you’re doing good by buying energy saving light bulbs instead of traditional bulbs, but the reality is that you are likely risking the health of your loved ones and yourself. Many of these “environmentally friendly” bulbs contain high levels of mercury and pose a wide variety of threats to human health as they buzz overhead.
Dangerous Levels of Mercury
In fact, the United States EPA issued an entire protocol in the event that an energy-saving bulb were broken. No such preparation was called for with traditional light bulbs, nor most other home appliances. A study from the scientific institute Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz showed that these bulbs can emit 20 times the amount of the “safe” level of mercury when broken.
Mercury can damage the brain, nervous system, liver, reproductive system, and kidneys, and poses a substantial threat to pregnant women especially. Exposure to mercury has also been linked to cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Energy Saving Light Bulbs Linked to Diseases
Recent findings have also linked these energy efficient light bulbs to health concerns such as headaches, dizziness, nervousness, seizures, inexplicable fatigue, and an inability to concentrate. Some researchers believe that these light bulbs are also linked to different types of cancer.
German researcher Peter Brown highlighted the risks of these bulbs by identifying three known carcinogens that make up the bulbs: phenol, naphthalene, and styrene. These bulbs also emit abnormally high levels of UV light, which can increase your risk of skin cancer. Furthermore, this UV light can cause premature aging of the skin and organs. Exposure to excess UV may also impact the immune system and cause damage to your eyesight.
Clearly these energy saving bulbs are not worth the risk that they pose to you and your family. If you do still have some of these bulbs lying around, be sure to get rid of them wherever you can dispose of toxic waste. If one of these bulbs happens to break, you must use extreme caution when cleaning up the mess! Open up the windows and turn off the AC to circulate only fresh air and get the mercury out of the house.
Once the air is clear, use a face mask while you clean up the broken gas (don’t use a vacuum cleaner right away as it will circulate the mercury in the air). Dispose of the broken glass as you would other hazardous material.