Are Low Energy Bulbs Bad For Your Health?

low energy bulb


Health Concerns of Low Energy Bulbs

Can low energy bulbs be harmful to your health? Yes, according to medical experts in the UK.

While the bulbs are touted as requiring low energy and therefore lower costs to run, the issue of the high intensity of the ultra violet light from these bulbs, has not been addressed here in the US.

People with skin conditions such as lupus, eczema, and psoriasis are affected by these types of bulbs, whereas, the low emissions from the traditional incandescent bulbs have not previously been thought to be a health concern.

According to a photodermatologist in London, the phasing out of traditional light bulbs can cause misery for the thousands of people who have light-sensitive skin disorders. Further, patients in the UK are now being treated for skin rashes caused by exposure to these low energy bulbs.

While we are all aware of the issue of mercury in these flourescent bulbs - and while that in itself should be reason enough for ecological concern - the issue of how it can affect our skin has not been addressed at all.

How about some food for thought? If these low energy bulbs can have an effect on people who already have skin disorders, can we be sure they will NOT affect the skin of babies? Can we be sure that they will NOT, in the future, cause skin disorders and sensitivity problems to people who do not presently have sensitive skin issues?

Further, while it is noble to want to reduce greenhouse emissions - why can it NOT be done in a way that will NOT create other serious problems, i.e. health issues, and the use of mercury in the bulbs?

A quicker approach would be to work with what we have by installing motion detectors so bulbs will not burn all the time - as in hallways. This is commonly done in other countries - you enter the premises, the light goes on; you leave and the light goes out. Also, there is no reason for office buildings to have lights on 24/7. Often in my travels overseas, the skylines would darken at night unlike here in NYC where lights are too often ablaze for no good reason.

New technology must be ecologically responsible in every way. And if it's not, we should not just accept it because it is new and someone has a product to sell.

See healthy home suggestions below: (update: 1/1/11 - there is a move towards new and improved LED bulbs and away from these low energy bulbs containing mercury - see additional link)

More by this Author

Comments 43 comments

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Gee Whiz! It's always something!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You summed it up nicely!

Mrs. BigReese 7 years ago

Wow. I was not aware that these new bulbs can be hazardous. I replaced a few incandescents with these "better" bulbs, but now I guess I'll go back to my old GE 60 watts!!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You know Mrs. BigReese - we can't just be consumers anymore - we have to be 'totally educated consumers' - we are always sold some garbage, some hype. We can't buy that anymore. We have to do endless research. Bottom line - the objective here in the US unfortunately is not to make a better product but to make a profit - at any cost.

I know so many people with skin problems - do they need another problem?

Thanks for writing.

Jody Heckenlively profile image

Jody Heckenlively 7 years ago

I hadn't heard of this - thanks for the alert! This is worth considering, and not just for people with skin challenges. Hmmmmmmmm!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Looks like we have to vigilant about absolutely every single thing we buy. No telling what effect the high UV rays will have on babies, or young children. Good we are now aware of it!

Thanks for writing.

free4india profile image

free4india 6 years ago

I thought only India was rotten now I realize the whole world is rotten! Call it Capitalism, Communism or socialism they all make a hoax to eat the money of ordinary people! Advanced technology always has a hidden secret rot which is never out until some 10 years later when they have found out some thing else to sell and they tell you that you are an idiot to use what you are using because it has so and so problems while it was the same guys who convinced you for 10 years to use it save life! Thanks for bringing out the side effect of this energy bulb... my whole house bulbs had been completely replaced with these for the past three years and now I need to rethink !

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Unfortunately, it is all as you say free4india - we are constantly sold more and more and more - without any regard at all to long-term effects. These bulbs have mercury in them. Why not reduce the use of what we are already using instead of adding a known toxin to the environment? And yes, years later you will hear it is a danger - and you are stuck and the whole environment suffers. No matter what 'ism' you call it - the majority is not benefiting.

Thanks so much for writing - I will not use these bulbs!

Lord Bryan 6 years ago

I am so opposed to these bulbs, I could spit.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Lord Bryan - I appreciate your comment. What will be sold to us next with no thought to health or environment!

theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

My house is full of these lightbulbs! This is horrible. I didn't buy them. When I moved in I needed lightbulbs and asked my mom to pick me some up and she stopped either at Sams club or Costco and got me stock in these. Every bulb in my house is these. Blah! Now I need to go buy new lightbulbs and get rid of these. I had no idea! Thanks for sharing this information!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You know the herbivorehippi we were all told to rush right out and get these - then the bad news came out much later - and not here in the US by the way - but in a British newspaper that my cousin bought for me. The US allows merchants to put anything on the shelf. Just don't drop them!

Years ago I bought a so-called lo-energy fixture for my kitchen - these bulbs are so hot you'll get a 10th degree burn if you touch it! There's no need for these mercury filled new bulbs - we just have to cut down on energy consumption. Sigh.

sibby94 6 years ago

We can't get regular lightbulbs here anymore. And I've always hated these new ones. It's as if they're actually trying to kill us with some of the chemicals that are legal...

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Yes, sibby94 these bulbs are filled with mercury. I can find the other bulbs in the 99cents stores - that is often a dumping ground for everything considered left-over. I'm afraid to have these in the house. And I would never want them around children. Once again some corp. is making big money with no responsibility.

Nice to meet you by the way!

dreamreachout 6 years ago

Wonderful and timely hub!! We had shifted to these new lamps in the last five years and will have to rethink!!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

It's amazing how we are never given full information dreamreachout - of the dangers of this product. All the research I did came from England - so far America has said little about these dangers.

Thanks so much for commenting!

solar.power profile image

solar.power 6 years ago from Brisbane

I have CFL's in my home but I have seen first hand what being in constant contact with cfl's can do. A client of mine had a skin cancer removed from his forehead because of the radiation of the cFL after excessive exposure for long periods of time. The light when in use was only about a foot away from his head

dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 6 years ago from India

Just today bought 3 compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in place of regular incandescent bulbs. Now sitting under one of them with my computer. OOOH may be replace it tomorrow. Thanks for the information.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

That's pretty disturbing solar.power. And the resources I used to write this hub some time ago came from England (my cousins bring me tons of magazines and newspapers) and this information has yet to be discussed here. Thanks for your input - it is something for readers to think about before buying these bulbs. We should be informed.

Yes, dinkan53 - we are constantly told that these bulbs will save energy - but at what costs? We need to be totally informed. And what about the mercury? How could that possibly be a good thing? I'll hold on to the cheap old bulbs and just cut off lights and live more during daylight hours - there are so many ways to reduce energy use without these bulbs. Scary.

Thanks for the comments!

pringleantiques 6 years ago

Cannot believe it, it's the 1st time I've heard of this! Something new all the time. Remember when butter was bad, we switched to margarine, then back to butter, now use stuff that is neither butter or margarine. Don't know which is best anymore. Does anyone? I quit using all things NONNATURAL, then learned I had to cut out all sugar, so am back to the Fake Stuff, or Faux stuff, if you will! All this switching is making me dizzy, & it now takes me a long time to BUY anything that goes into my mouth or house 'cause I read all labels thoroughly, but not even sure that is enuf! Go figure! Where is our FDA & Governmental Regulatory Agencies when we need them? Oh, yeah, in bed with the guys who are making the messes, such as in the oil debacle in The Gulf! Don't get me started! Great HUB, keep it coming! PA in MIA in FLA in USA (not too far from the Gulf, so have to watch out which fish we eat for awhile 'til we learn what really is happening to our waters! Oh, boy, is there really a TRUTH out there?)

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

It's seems pringleantiques that the idea of a free market here means do anything you want. I'm sure that is not the point but is has become so. I'm actually on the Consumer Protection Agency's list of recalls - and I think just about everything has been recalled including refrigerators, washing machines, most cribs and this of course doesn't include the millions of pounds of meat recalled annually or the cars - those are different agencies.

So I do what I have done for ages - 'vary my poisons' how awful is that? But I kinda figure if I mix it up a bit, when something is invariably recalled I will not have enough of it in my system to kill me.

I so appreciate your wonderful comments! Thanks so much for writing!

BennyTheWriter profile image

BennyTheWriter 6 years ago from Northeastern U.S.A.

Very good, important hub. More people should know about the dangers of flourescent bulbs, and if they can't totally avoid them, at least should know enough to limit their exposure. I've recently learned about the dangers myself, so it's nice to see my research confirmed by yours. Thanks for the life-saving information!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're very welcome BennyTheWriter - and thanks so much for your input. I'm glad you can vouch for the dangers here. It just freaks me out that these bulbs are making their way into every home without thought of the harm both short-term-and long-term. It is always better to cut down on our energy consumption rather than adding more garbage to the environment.

Thanks again!

lindaadams37 profile image

lindaadams37 6 years ago

While everyone is moving towards CFLs for low energy consumption which is certainly not a bad move anyway but it is always better to have a look at the other side too which is related to your health.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Absolutely lindadams37 - we should know by now that profit may outweigh every other benefit. I cannot understand the value of putting such a toxic product on the market - when we have so many other options. It's just manufacturers jumping on the 'green' bandwagon.

Thanks for commenting!

quicksand profile image

quicksand 5 years ago

Well I guess if the bulb is enclosed within a lamp shade some of the harmful rays get filtered, am I right?

That's how I use them. Saves me a lot on electricity bills.


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'd like to think that some of the harmful rays will get filtered by shades - but just the fact that they are 'harmful rays' means there is an inherent problem. I'm glad to see a move from these bulbs - because the mercury is just not acceptable - back to vastly improved 12 Volt LED lights offering a warm white now instead of the cool white. They use the least amount of energy and don't give off the heat of CFLs and incandescent. There are good articles on hub pages about 12 Volt LEDs. I'm going to look for a hub and add a link.

Thanks for commenting!

sunnymarie profile image

sunnymarie 5 years ago

Great Hub, important facts, thanks for sharing

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're very welcome - great to hear from you!

toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

This is a very valuable hub. Thanks for all this information. I am always skeptical when new things come out. I often feel many things are not adequately tested. This is important information. Rated up and useful.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm just stunned toknowinfo that a product filled with mercury has been put on the market. Now there is a quiet backtracking as we spread the word about the dangers. Good grief. Save energy but at what (absurd) cost. Yikes!

nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Great points, but GE would like a word with you. Remember, what's good for General Electric is good for the country.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Of course! And I think so many people have been outraged about these mercury bulbs - so GE is now supposed to be the first company to get bright LED bulbs on the market that have the highest Energy Star rating. The consumer has spoken. Bravo for us.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

I wish I shared your sentiments, but GE lobbied Congress to outlaw incandescent bulbs. Our public servants started this mess.

When filaments are outlawed, only outlaws will have filaments.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

We have to keep at it. I do not buy anything GE including appliances, stock, insurance etc. or their light bulbs - historically their history has been very ugly. And why have we allowed lobbyists as a way of life?

And true, funny, but true outlaws will have filaments. I still have them.

melodyandes profile image

melodyandes 5 years ago

Awesome! Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

Marc Carillet 5 years ago

I am very happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Marc Carillet! Glad you found the post useful!

Xenonlit profile image

Xenonlit 4 years ago

Darn! Just when I get a decades supply of those bulbs. I won't sit directly around them and keep them in the odd corners of the room.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

How brilliant is this Xenonlit - someone or two had the great idea of saving energy by supplying bulbs with toxic mercury. Good grief! Creating a whole new problem that is even worse that what was to be solved.

oilpaintings 4 years ago


Thanks for your sharing, is so great and i learned something from this article, i like this very much!

i waiting for your regular update!


Ghada Aboul hosn 3 years ago

could you advice me of the harmful effects of LED lamps.

I'm willing to change all the bulbs in my house to LED.

my mail is

Thank you.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 3 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I am not aware of harm yet by LED lamps Ghada Aboul hosn. So far so good. I don't know if I am buying the right kind but mine don't give off much light. I'll keep trying. Thanks for commenting.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article