Low-energy light bulb health warnings

Warnings have been issued about potential health risks of switching to low-energy light bulbs.

Energy efficient light bulbs have come under fire this week

Energy efficient light bulbs have come under fire this week

The Migraine Action Association has warned that energy efficient bulbs, which will be the only type of bulbs on sale in the UK by the end of 2011, can trigger migraines.

It said it had been inundated by calls from members who claimed flickering from the fluorescent bulbs had brought on painful headaches.

Association chiefs appealed to the Government not to completely phase out traditional light bulbs.

Skin experts claimed this week that low-energy lightbulbs could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems such as lupus, and certain forms of eczema and dermatitis.

The British Association of Dermatologists is among a number of groups that called for exemptions to the ban on traditional bulbs.

Spectrum, an alliance of charities, has been running a campaign against the changes.

It estimates that tens of thousands of sufferers will be unable to use electric lights in their homes or go anywhere with electric lighting after the ban takes effect in 2011.

The BBC reported this week that the Environment Agency wanted more information and health warnings to be made available about the disposal of energy-efficient light bulbs, because they contain a small amount of mercury.

However, an Environment Agency spokesman told edie that the organisation was not concerned about health risks, but wanted more information to be made available about how old bulbs should be recycled under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations.

The agency said it would not discourage people from making the switch to energy-efficient bulbs, which contain tiny amounts of mercury compared to thermometers and barometers.

Government ministers said in September the switch to low-energy lightbulbs will save up to 5m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2012.

Kate Martin



Waste & resource management
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