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CFL's putting out too much UV radiation? Answered

Our local (I think) news service has done a story about CFL's emitting too much UV radiation, You can view it here.

Would you rather sit under an incandescent light or a CFL for a extended period of time?
Do you think they should have warning labels on them?
Do you have any other opinions on CFL's and energy saving globes?
Or do you think this is all just a way to get more people to but the old incandescent bulbs?


That's nothing, have you heard about the (AMR) Automated Meter Reading meters that are making people sick, bees die, bats drop dead, and more ? Check out the You Tube testimonies by professionals and homeowners. across the USA, Australia and New Zeeland ! Then go see what kind of meter is on your home! Digital AMR Meters are bad. Analog (dial hands type ) are good! FYI

More about CFL and LED problems..

CFL Safety

Home Safety -- Radiation -- Health

The CFL Mercury Issue

Breakage -- Recycling -- Dumping -- Mining -- Manufacturing --
Transport -- Power Plants


The Lead and Arsenic Issue
Lead, arsenic and other toxic content, home breakage and disposal concerns

The Overall Small Energy Savings from light bulb regulations:

USA Dept of Energy data, less than 1% of society energy usage saved


9 years ago

CFLs are fundamentally the same technology as the long fluorescent tubes that have been in use (especially institutionally: workplaces and schools and such) for a very long time.

I sorta like the news I heard recently suggesting that vitamin D intake recommendations be dramatically increased, because in between sunscreens and lack of outdoor activities, people were NOT GETTING ENOUGH uv exposure. Health is a complicated thing.

My house is almost entirely CFL/Fluorescent and has been for some years now, BTW. MY big worry is eyestrain related; CFLs just aren't bright enough - there is no really adequate replacement for the 200W reading light I built in 4H, nor the 300W halogen lights that I used to use for area lighting (we HAVE the CFL/Fluorescent replacements, and one remaining halogen. Every time I turn on the Halogen I cringe a bit at how dim the CFLs are...)

It would be nice if the electronics didn't blow out as often as they do. As an EE, it's just embarrassing.

There was one rather amusing bit in the article:
  • "You would have to ... sit under a light bulb for an hour to develop any kind of adverse affect"
Well, duh. That's what people DO, isn't it? Multiple hours per day, every day...

there are dequate replacememnts in brightness sodium and metal halide lamnps (both with efficiency higher than cfls) problems are they flicker at 100 / 120 hz. now THAT may be a serious health issue if you switched them off you have to wait to cool down (few minutes for halide and less than minute for sodium) they need a big ballast we used a 70 W sodium (installed in an old fixture of halogen floodlight) to light a badboard behind the arts workshop at school. that was a really strong light. way stronger than the light from fluorescents coming thru the workshop windows or the 4 old incandescents outside

In addition to flicker issues (which you get with tube-style fluorescents as well, most of the time), the assorted gas discharge lamps tend to have awful output spectra and inconvenient temperatures/etc. OK for street lighting, but probably not useful for interior lighting at all... The other problem is that once you get out of the range of "subsidized" CFL bulbs, things get pretty expensive pretty quickly. Your 100W-equiv (almost) internal ballast lights are pretty cheap, but the 200W external-ballast odd-shaped lamps (and the ballasts that drive them) rapidly get expensive. OTOH, I suspect that you can improve the reliability of CFL electronics just by physically separating the things that get hot from the things that are especially sensitive to heat, and that shouldn't be THAT tough... IKEA has some of the nicest designed-for-cfl lamps that I've seen, BTW.

Oh.... But I doubt there are many people that get out of the range of subsidized lamps, We have 60 and 40 watt equiv. and we are alright with the brightness....

It says that you would need a skin condition AND sit under the lights for an hour to get any adverse effects....

"You would have to suffer from a skin condition such as Lupus and sit under a light bulb for an hour to develop any kind of adverse affect,"

That's ok then, since people with such skin conditions sit in the dark, eh?

Since your an EE, why don't you try to make their circuits blow out less (and put in something to heat the filaments just to extend the life of the tube :-) )? They are a bit dim, But some are just warming up..

i tried to run a 20 W cfl on magnetic ballast. it seems to dislike the low frequency of 50 Hz - not stable in briightness and the starter keeps waking up and kicking out the lamp

The CFL tubes just might not be designed to run on lower frequencys....

Well, the fundamental problem is fixtures. There's just TOO much history of building fixtures for the traditional light-bulb shape. I'm pretty sure the main problem is heat; I mean it's STUPID to try to cram the electronics and the tube into the space of an ordinary lightbulb. It's moderately silly to include the electronics with every bulb, too (although at least it makes the electronics easy to replace; I have some circular fluorescent ceiling lamps that seem to blow their (electronic) ballasts almost as often as the tube, and the ballasts aren't easily replaceable (usually it's as easy to install a whole new fixture.) As for brightness, the largest common CFL I've seen is a "150W equivalent" (42W actual) with about 2800 Lumens. Compare that to the 3850 Lumens of a 200W incandescent or 5950 for a 300W Halogen.

i use pl (not cfl) hanging on wires and using magnetic ballast in the parents room i hanged a japanese lamp (4 A4 pages) and cfl inside. its open at the top so it remains cool i just dont like small pretty fixtures for a bright source there are allways the 2 X 36 and 2 X 58 W linear fluorescents that beat any incandescent

I'm just waiting for cheap led lighting

diy = cheap

or if you want huge amount of very yellow light use sodium lamp - its about the same efficiency as leds

Really? Why don't we just add filters/ supplemental light to those then? I'd use my Hg vapor light if I had the right ballast.

there are 2 kinds of sodium lamp - low pressure and high pressure. i am familiar with the high pressure only its light is plain yellow - allmost like yellow led. most folks dont want their homes to be lit with nearly pure yellow light. i dont really mind it needs time to warm up / cool down. it takes about a minute to get to acceptable brightness (a 70 W lamp gives maybe 5 W worth of light when lit up). if you switch it off and on you have to wait about 1/2 min untill it lights up again. most folks feel screwed when their cfl takes more than a second to light up. i like to see the process though so not a problem for me :) it flickers at 100 or 120 hz if working on magnetic ballast - health issue. does not flicker with electronic ballasts the smallest size widely produced is 50 W. the smallest widely available to buy is 70 W. its too much for most lighting needs it has damn long life - about 20 K hours. and you can get few hundreds hours more out of 2 dying lamps wired on the same ballast i used 70 / 150 W sodium lamps (equiv to 120 / 270 W fluorescent or 600 / 1400 W incandescent) succesfully for indoor and outdoor and even stage lighting you can use incandescent lamp as ballast for mercury lamp IIRC on 240 V the watts of the incandescent should be about 3/4 - 1 the watts of the mercury. on 110 it may be something else. in any case try with smaller incandescent maybe 1/2 the 1st time to be sure mercury lamps are less efficient than fluorescents

That, even after 10 years on the net, was the dumbest thing I have ever seen, I both lol'ed and groaned when the woman said that they made her toenails hurt.

The unfortunate side effect of the internet is it has given millions of crazy people an outlet, and local media, hardly the paragons of journalistic integrity they pretend to be, are always willing to exploit them.

Yeah, I know, I just posted it to see what other Instructablers think.... Wow that rainbow lady is really strange, Who doesn't know that water just reflects different spectrum's to form a rainbow.....

dont you know that there was mass pollution of water with dust from ground up cd-roms in 2007 ??

Nope, But then if she thinks that the pollutants do it, Why do rainbows form in rain, It's a lot purer than most tap water you find.

cause the riaa tried to incinerate those cds as well so it polluted the air too now thats for real. they actually incinerated loads of cdroms with copied music. i cant find it online anymore though (censored ?)

A prism does the same thing, and it is clear glass. If there are too many opaque pollutants in the water, it will not refract properly, and you won't get colors, if any light comes through at all.

So that lady is wrong (duh), The rainbows would stop showing if there is too much pollutants.

if it changed the density of the liquid too much, that would effect it too...

but you cant get rainbow without sunflora flu and polyester dust boiled in ancient egyptian ink and stirred 5 times left and 4 right and this exists only in cdroms and dvd roms sunflora flu can leave lightning like scars on your forehead. let alone the polyester and the ink

Hmm? Get me a strong light source, preferably the sun, and and source of a fine mist of water (a fine mister will do) , even distilled water, and I can produce a rainbow on command.

You mean refracts the light into different colors, right? :-)

Well, unless you are looking directly at the source of the light, in order to see light, yes it must be reflected also, but the refraction causes the rainbow.

Its amazing some one didn't complain that it made their hair hurt (and then fall out).

I don't know under these types of bulbs, I do know that a number of people report bad headaches under a single or double bulb Florescent light (tube style). This is due to the flash frequency. A lot of offices have fixtures that have 3 tubes in them, one at one frequency and the other 2, on another line, filling in for the time the one bulb is off. I suffer from a lot less headaches now that we have switched to this system and insist both switches be on in the computer room when I am at work .

I have seen systems that have used an electronic ballast so make the flash frequency a lot higher, Too high for the phosphors to stop emitting light OR your eyes don't pick up the MHz frequencys...

I wonder what keeps such a system from being widely used. So many offices I have been in, have the 3 bulb set up.

Most likely because the electronic "ballasts" fail a lot more quickly, because there is a lot more parts to fail.

some1 have a big stock of incans and cant get rid off (just read the article)


9 years ago

Do you have any other opinions on CFL's and energy saving globes?

You can encase a CFL in UV-blocking glass, you can't encase an incandescent in "use 80% less energy" glass. :)

HOWEVER, speaking of CFLs I did have a slightly radical thought concerning the entire low-energy paradigm which makes me uncomfortable.

The theory goes thus- if you are heating your house, there is no such thing as wasted electricity. If you imagine you could heat your room with a 10 watt LED or a 100W incandescent, the difference between the two is that the incandescent is a 90W heater and a 10W light (roughly). What this does is to take 90W of load off your heating system. Any "wasted" power from electrical appliances becomes heat and warms up your house, so takes load off your heating (or raises the temperature, in which case you should turn the heating down a tiny bit).

Admittedly, you might not be heating your entire house with electricity so you have to compare the different fuels and so on, but it's an interesting thought. Would I rather use 10W of eco-friendly wind power for my lights and burn 90W more not-at-all-eco-friendly natural gas for my heating, or 100W of wind power for both?


when electrical heat is needed or when you run on 100 % green energy anyway - i think incandescents ARE greener than cfls why ? there is pollution from making them. a cfl takes way more pollution than incandescent to produce and i think it pollutes more than the 8 incandescents it replaces

But if the incandescent lamp is powered by a coal burning power station, It puts out more mercury than the CFL's contain.