Does a florescent black light carry any health risks greater than that of a regular florescent bulb? Answered


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Does it generate a higher level of UV radiation than a regular florescent lampĀ  or just "filter out" visible light with colored glass like the incandescent black lights? Should I worry about extended exposure to the skin or eyes? Thanks.



Best Answer 9 years ago

Yes, a "black light" bulb puts out more UV than a regular fluorescent (which uses the phosphor to turn UV into visible light). Unless you're doing something you shouldn't, the bulb is designed to put out _longwave_ UV, which is pretty much harmless. However, working under UV for long periods does seem to cause some eyestrain. There are cheap filter goggles (basically lab safety glasses with an appropriate plastic) which will filter out most of the longwave too, and they're recommended if you're going to be spending long periods of time in a space lit mostly by UV and fluorescence.


Answer 9 years ago

If you've gotten your paws on a shortwave UV bulb somehow, STOP NOW until you learn to handle it properly. That's the bands which cause suntan and sunburn... and you really don't want to think about sunburned retinas. Safety goggles are _required_, and other precautions may be desirable depending on how long and how bright your exposure is.

If you don't know which you've got, STOP NOW until you find out.

(If it was a commercial UV fixture sold as a "black light" for entertainment purposes, it's longwave. If you don't know where the tube came from, take the time to be sure.)

By the way: The old AR1 edison-base gas discharge bulbs are safe; they do put out only longwave UV. Or so says my research. (I have one, and followed my own advice of taking time to check.)