What are the hidden dangers of using CFLs?
When it comes to energy efficient lighting solutions, CFLs are probably amongst Australians’ top choices. However, there is a hidden danger sealed inside each inoffensive bulb that requires special handling and disposal. Find out what to pay attention to when dealing with CFLs in this week’s blog post.
Some of you probably have heard that lighting energy efficiency has been a major concern in Australia lately. This year, for instance, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Department decided to phase out and replace inefficient halogen lamps with better alternatives such as LEDs or CFLs.
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How can CFLs potentially affect your health?
At first glance, Compact Fluorescent Lights may seem a great energy efficient alternative for both domestic and commercial environments. But you should know there are a few important factors to consider when using a CFL bulb.
Generally, CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, which is an essential component of their operation. Whilst it is not something to really worry about, it does though become a real threat if the bulb cracks or breaks.
Ultraviolet (UV) emissions
According to an Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency study, CFLs emit slightly more UV light than incandescent bulbs. Based on the results, the UV levels from the CFLs measured at a distance of 10 centimetres over a period of 8 hours were equivalent to spending approximately 6 minutes in the midday summer sunshine in Brisbane. This means that some people with severe light sensitivity may be affected by the UV emitted from a bare CFL.
The CFL ‘flicker’
In general, CFLs operate at a frequency of over 20,000 on/off cycles per second, while the modern linear fluorescent tubes – 5000 times per second. In other words, they should not be detectable by the human brain.
However, there have been several cases of reactions to linear fluorescent tube flicker recorded. In most cases, it was because older technology that operates at a much lower frequency than modern fluorescent lamps. If there is a noticeable flicker, then it may cause, in rare cases, photosensitive epilepsy, Ménière’s disease or migraines.
Until next time, be well informed when choosing a specific type of lighting!
Your friend and electrical expert,