Dangers of Fluorescent Radiation

Fluorescent radiation dangers have not been heavily considered in the mad push towards replacing the incandescent bulb with the compact fluorescent under the guise of ‘sustainability’.

While it is true that fluorsecent bulbs usurp less electrical power to produce the equivalent of light output as a standard incandescent, the fact that flourescent lights emit radiations that are more stressful to the body (and the eyes) than an incandescent bulb have been sorely overlooked.

A fluorescent lamp or fluorescent tube is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful light much more efficiently than incandescent lamps. The luminous efficacy of a compact fluorescent light bulb is about 60 lumens per watt, four times the efficacy of a typical incandescent bulb.- Wikipedia

Fluorescent Radiation Health Effects

Unlike an incandescent bulb, fluorescent lighting emits shorter wavelengths of frequency that reach beyond visible light and into the ultra-violet spectrum. These frequencies are shorter and faster and are able to penetrate deeper into our cells.

While not all invisible light is harmful to the body (think ultra-violet from the sun), there are radiations within these frequencies that are weakening to the body (think microwave radiation), especially over long periods of time.

Exposure to various types of these radiations has been linked to cancer, childhood leukemia, autism, ADD and birth defects.

Fluorescent Lighting and Flicker Rate

Fluorescent lamps using a magnetic power line frequency ballast do not give out a steady light; instead, they flicker at twice the supply frequency. This results in fluctuations not only with light output but color temperature as well, which may pose problems for photography and people who are sensitive to the flicker. – Wikipedia

The flicker rate of fluorescent light is also a consideration when discussing long term health affects, not the least being the health of the eyes and the overall nervous system.

The continual flickering perceived by the nervous system, coupled with the chronic exposure of the body to radiations, has led people to experience the following symptoms after being exposed to fluorescent lighting:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • eyestrain
  • floaters
  • skin rashes
  • sinus problems
  •  facial flushing
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • sleep disturbances
  • mood swings
  • irritability

Fluorescent Light vs. Full Spectrum

The wavelength pattern of fluorescent light is vastly different than that of full-spectrum light. The imbalance of frequencies in fluorescent lighting has the same adverse effect on people as an imbalance of nutrients.

Photobiologist John Ott has done studies that clearly demonstrated the adverse effects of fluorescent light on behavior and academic performance in the classroom.

Studies where fluorescent lighting was replaced with full-spectrum lights in the classroom have shown improved general attendance and behavior, as well as enhanced academic concentration performance.

Further studies have shown that male laboratory rats kept under fluorescent lighting will cannibalize their newborn rats. When fluorescent lights are replaced with full-spectrum bulbs, the male rat will nurture his young.

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