The Dangerous Health Risks Linked to Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Let’s be realistic – we are all trying to save money and energy in every way we can, including by replacing the old light bulbs with the environmentally-friendly energy saving light bulbs. And, although most people consider them safe, these light bulbs are actually so toxic that the EPA created special guidelines which you should follow in case the bulb breaks. These bulbs contain 20 times the safe amount of mercury according to a study conducted by the Fraunhofer Wilhelm Klauditz Institute for German’s Federal Environment Agency.
The study has showed that the energy saving bulbs may cause the following symptoms:
- Cluster headaches;
- Loss of focus;
3 dangers of using energy saving bulbs
- They contain too much mercury
The energy saving bulbs contain 20 times the allowed concentration of mercury in the air. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can seriously harm your brain, nervous system, kidneys and liver and has been known to affect the immune, reproductive and cardiovascular system as well. The heavy metal may cause anxiety, tremors, memory loss, headaches and insomnia.
- They are linked to cancer
Several studies have found a connection between the energy saving light bulbs and different types of cancer due to the presence of 3 known carcinogens: naphthalene (used in mothballs and chemical manufacture), phenol (derived from coal tar) and styrene (a petroleum byproduct).
- They emit UV rays
The energy saving bulbs emit UVB and UVC radiation, which are harmful to the skin and immune system. Both types can also interfere with the proper formation of vitamin D3 in the body.
Despite the energy savings, these bulbs are seriously dangerous and should be replaced. However, you should be extra careful when replacing them, or the mercury spill might cause serious health problems, which is why the EPA has created the following guidelines for broken energy saving bulbs:
The Official E.P.A. Broken Bulb Clean-Up Procedure
Before you start cleaning up the room, have all people and pets leave it first. Open all the windows to air the room for 5-10 minutes, and shut off the air conditioning system. Here are the materials required for the procedure:
- Sticky tape;
- Stiff paper or cardboard;
- A glass jar with a metal lid;
- Damp paper towels.
Don’t use a vacuum when cleaning up, as it could spread the mercury around. Collect all the glass and visible powder carefully, then scoop out the remains with the cardboard. If there’s still powder or broken glass left, collect it with sticky tape, and put everything in the glass jar and close it. Now, check with your local government about disposal requirements in your area and get rid of the debris. If possible, air the room for several hours more.