EMF and Light Bulbs… Which Light Bulbs are the Best?
What are the typical types of light bulbs? Most are familiar with:
- compact florescent (CFL) and
- light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs.
If you were like me, you have made the switch to those CFLs, aka, compact florescent lights. They were said to be more energy efficient. Sounds good. So, I swapped out my incandescent lights about 3 years ago. I also liked the color of the daylight bulbs, so got those. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t look into the research. I heard they were “better” and went with it…
Well, turns out, those are NOT the best choice.
Wait, what? Why?
Actually, now that I think about it, who ever thought those horrid florescent lights in stores or office buildings were appealing? But yet, millions of consumers have brought them into our homes. And continue to do so, unaware of the potential health hazards.
Here is an excellent post by emfstore.net on the dangers of CFLs. Please take a look, as I could not say it better and there is a nice graphic that depicts dirty electricity levels.
- They contain enough Mercury to poison your home and 20 000 gallons of water!
- They emit EMF’s at a high level in a 4 -6ft area where they operate. They also create high voltage transients, Dirty Electricity, which contaminates your electrical system and your neighbours!
- Give Off Very High UV Radiation Levels.
Ugh. I had no idea. I have been exposing my family to this, all in the name of “energy efficiency”.
Alright, so now what? LED? They have come down in price, and they are more energy efficient than CFLs, BUT…
The Douglass Report says, LED light is far too heavy on the blue and violet end of the spectrum — and new research out of Spain confirms that too much blue and violet from LED lights can do serious damage to the retina.
According to Harvard Health, “blue light has a dark side”.
While light of any kind can suppress the secretion of melatonin, blue light does so more powerfully. Harvard researchers and their colleagues conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).
If blue light does have adverse health effects, then environmental concerns, and the quest for energy-efficient lighting, could be at odds with personal health. Those curlicue compact fluorescent lightbulbs and LED lights are much more energy-efficient than the old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs we grew up with. But they also tend to produce more blue light.
Alright, so our options are:
- less efficient incandescent lights, but safer, no known harm to human health
- energy efficient, but “triple threat” CFLs, that have shown to cause harm to humans
- more energy efficient LEDs but may cause serious adverse eye damage, including the potential to increase risk of macular degeneration
Oh, also, many countries are now BANNING incandescent lights. Some claim that the ban on incandescent lights in the US were overblown, but I found this article from Nationalcenter.org on policy to be very interesting.
Amy Ridenour reports,
When General Electric blamed “a variety of energy regulations that establish lighting efficiency standards” for the closing of incandescent light bulb factories in Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, its PR team left out a critical detail: General Electric and fellow light bulb manufacturers Phillips and Osram Sylvania had lobbied for those regulations.
She goes on to shatter the other myths surrounding light bulbs, check it out, great content.
Have you installed light DIMMERS? Thought you were been more efficient? Well, you may want to reconsider them.
Dimmer switches put out a wide range of radio frequency and creates dirty electricity.
If you really like dimmers and prefer to keep them, the ones that you tap- high, medium, low emit the least amount of EMF, whereas the sliding dimmers are the worse offenders.
Here is a great video, that visually shows, with a meter, the different levels of EMF coming from different types of light bulbs.
What options are we left with?
- You can still buy certain types of incandescent light bulbs, so stock up if/while you can. Try to put them in areas where children are and also where you read, or do work.
- Ideally, we ALL would lobby for national policy that protects PEOPLE, not PROFITS. Governments banning the safest light bulb is something we should all take seriously, and take a stand against this; or at least do NOT support such a ban.
- Ditch ALL of your CFLs. But, PLEASE be sure to dispose of them safely, don’t just put them in your trash bins. Home Depot will actually take your unbroken CFLs and recycle them for you. Please consider doing this as you get rid of them.
- You could put LED bulbs in areas where you don’t spend a prolong amount of time under, such as hallways and stairwells. Definitely would avoid reading under them, considering the potential damage to eye health and melatonin. And also avoid blue light at night, as it can disrupt your circadian rhythm.
- Researchers at Harvard recommend the following:
- Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light has the least power to shift circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
- Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two to three hours before bed.
- If you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses.
- Expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day, which will boost your ability to sleep at night, as well as your mood and alertness during daylight.
- Ben Greenfield did a podcast on this topic. He also turned me onto this software called, f.lux. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. I use it on my MAC, it is great.
- I also found these radiation blocking glasses, that you may want to consider if perhaps you spend a lot of time under florescent lights, or prolonged periods in front of computer.
A good lesson learned: when it comes to picking the safest products, we cannot just listen to the hype, “the buzz”. We have to do some research… luckily, that is why I write this, to offer you some resources and links to learn more. And there are many others who have some great content.
He also mentioned that “there is a dark side to green”.
I found this article to be of interest, which discusses the irony of going green
Also worth checking out: this article is an in-dept look at light and eye health, from Neurosurgeon, Dr. Jack Kruse. Interesting info and sheds some light for those who suffer from myopia (can’t see far away) or have had cataract surgery or spend a lot of time under fluorescent lights.
Update: I found these low blue light LED bulbs.