Could Halogen Light Bulbs be Making Us Sick?
Is there really such a thing as halogen light bulb allergies? No, but there are health related issues that come from Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs. With global warming and environmental concerns being such hot topics, we have been told to use CFLs because they use 75% less energy, but can they be making us sick?
School Children Found to Have Higher Incidence of Allergies Under Halogen Lights
Many people confuse halogen light bulbs with CFL or compact fluorescent light bulbs. This is why many believe that halogen lights are causing school children to have problems with allergies. School children can suffer complications from allergies due to light sources, but it is the CFL lights not halogen lights causing allergies.
Long before the year 2008, it was known that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain poisonous mercury. This is same type of mercury that was in older thermometers that were removed from the market because of the danger. The mercury is only a concearn if the bulb is broken and the mercury gets out. EPA studies show that the mercury vapor spilled from a broken CFL bulbs is 300 times the standard accepted safety level. Mercury vapor inhalation can cause neural damage in children and the elderly and also anyone with health problems.
If the CFL breaks on carpeting, the recommendations from the EPA are to remove the carpet. No amount of vacuuming can retrieve all of the mercury, and you should not be breathing in the vapors. Even hardwood floors when cleaned with the help of the pre-study cleanup guide
left mercury vapors emanating from the floor for weeks after the cleanup of a broken CFL bulb.
This year, the US government, along with other countries, stopped the production of regular incandescent light bulbs, because they are not energy efficient. That leaves us with to deal with the safety of the CFLs or finding out more about halogen light bulb allergies and what other light bulbs are available.
Reports of Allergies From Compact Fluorescent Lights
Compact fluorescent light bulbs emit high levels of radiation. This causes some people to have migraine headaches, fatigue, sleep abnormalities, nausea, dizziness and pain for people with lupus. Even the traditional long tube fluorescent lights do this because of the subtle flickering. Most people will not notice, but for those who suffer from certain allergies, seizures and headaches this can be a real problem, especially for school children who are under the lights all day.
The good news is that the effects are lessened when you are farther away from the light. Most CFL bulbs emit a level of UV radiation that is negligible when used in light fixtures that are more tha a foot away. The FDA reccomends spending no more than 1 hour a day within 12" of a CFL bulb. The newer CFLs that have encapsulated bulbs and a globe of glass around the CFL are much safer than the older ones. Care still needs to be taken if the bulb breaks and the mercury leaks out. If that happens the best thing to do is remove everyone from the space.
To clean an area where a breakage has occurred the EPA has several steps. The first is to get out of the room and do not let anyone walk over the area. Open a window, shut of any forced air and leave the room for 15 minutes. After that anything used to clean up the mercury and the mercury itself needs to placed in a glass jar with a metal lid. Any carpets or clothing should be thrown away. Do not wash anything that came in contact with the mercury, it could contaminate your washer and the environment in the sewage or waste water. See the EPA guidelines for full information.
While people may think that ther is such a thing as halogen light bulbs allergies, it is compact fluorescent lights that really cause problems.