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Energy-Efficient CFL Bulbs Cause Skin Damage Say Researchers

By Caroline May | Daily Caller

New research funded by the National Science Foundation has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects energy-saving CFL light bulbs can have on skin.

The warning comes based on a study conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science — published in the June issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology — which looked at whether and how the invisible UV rays CFL bulbs emit affect the skin.

Based on the research, scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.

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A lot more about that - and why bans don't make sense

A lot more about the Stony Brook study here, including the previous similar EU, UK and Canada studies, spectral diagrams of CFL, LED and incandescents and UV information, and associated skin disorders

RE the below GreyWyvern comment,
UVC is the main CFL UV problem, normally blocked from the sun by the ozone layer,
and both CFLs and LEDs have light quality issues compared to incandescents in their light spectra, as shown.

More about why light bulb regulations don't make sense, even to save energy, extensively referenced on the above linked site.

Don't demonize the CFL

There are a lot of problems with CFLs which have been overlooked because they barely sip energy compared with incandescent bulbs. However it is a mistake to imply that we're all going to get sick if we can't use anything else.

The facts:

- CFLs emit more UVB/UVA than incandescent. But less than the dose you get by walking out in the sunshine. Putting them all through your house isn't going to hurt you. Reading for hours with one a foot above your head might give you a sunburn.

- CFLs (all fluorescent lights) emit far more blue light than incandescent lights which has been linked with sleep disruption when used as interior lighting. Yellow/reddish light (incandescent) triggers hormones which promote a normal sleep rhythm, while bluer light (like daylight) does not.

- CFLs contain mercury. FAR LESS than they used to even five years ago, but still, they require mercury to work. This requires special disposal while incandescent lights do not.

- CFLs won't last. Within a decade (or less), CFLs should be overtaken by far safer, less toxic, and more efficient LED light "bulbs" which can be made in many different colours, including the soft yellows of incandescent bulbs. LEDs are not as cheap as CFLs right now, but they soon will be, and will be rated to last hundreds of times longer than even CFLs.

So, don't worry about CFLs. They won't be around for too long anyway.

see above comment Agree that

see above comment

Agree that the scares are exaggerated

Still, UVC is the main CFL issue, normally blocked by the ozone layer.
CFL and LED "warm colors" should not be confused with the actual light they give out - as with the spectrral comparisons above.
LEDs have a lot of other lifespan, brightness and other issues

All lighting have advantages, energy saving is only one of them,
and the overall switchover savings are marginal, as per previous.

SBU : Study Reveals Harmful Effects of CFL Bulbs To Skin

SBU : Study Reveals Harmful Effects of CFL Bulbs To Skin

Research shows that energy efficient bulbs safest when placed behind additional glass cover

Jul 18, 2012 - 10:30:00 AM

STONY BROOK, NY, July 18, 2012 – Inspired by a European study, a team of Stony Brook University researchers looked into the potential impact of healthy human skin tissue (in vitro) being exposed to ultraviolet rays emitted from compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. The results, “The Effects of UV Emission from CFL Exposure on Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes in Vitro,” were published in the June issue of the journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology.

Read more: http://commcgi.cc.stonybrook.edu/am2/publish/General_Univers...

Yes, the same as standard fluorescent tubes

...which have been in use for years and years. Where's the outcry against them?

UV emission is going to damage your skin. I just don't understand why people are focusing on CFLs; you'll get a larger UV dose just walking out in the sunlight. Personally, I'd like to see all fluorescent tube tech retired, but not because of the UV, but rather because of the mercury.

UVC radiation - normally

UVC radiation - normally blocked by the ozone layer

Garan's picture

Ooh. CFL == Compact Fluorescent Light. #$!%@#!!

Does anyone else have a problem with articles that assume everyone knows what their abbreviations mean?

Especially when there are so many re-purposed and improvised abbreviations floating around.

Here's one: TLA (..the answer is at the bottom).

I skipped the potentially misleading photo of light bulbs; scanning for three consecutive words starting with C.F.L.
Apparently, I've gone glossy eyed scanning too many pages for simular reasons all day.

So, I missed the only expanded CFL abbreviation, stealthily lingering in the middle of the document with it's whispering lower-case characters.

Once again, google came to the rescue.

When are reporters going to actually learn the craft of writing?
Come on!

Weren't we taught in our nationalized high schools... oh. That explains it.

So, we're being corralled into rewarding the monopolistic patent holders of Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs and once again lead toward a shorter life span with cancer and misery, all with the benevolent help of our unaccountable amorphous beast we call government.

At least we can all pay for the health care of the entire united victims of america. Cows.

That reminds me. I need to go crank up my air conditioner. My space heaters are killing me. But, that's not enough heat-governing, is it? Maybe I'll go open a window too? Ahh.

Now, were did I put all those.. CHF? DFL? NFL? CFO? GMO???
Aww skip it. I'll just gnaw on my mercury filling and tape a cell phone to my head.

Three Letter Acronym (See. Isn't that irritating?)


Stock up on incandescent bulbs before they take them away for good.

Thee is ample evidence that CFL bulbs have a negative impact on human health.

In fact, this is old news.

People have been reporting skin problems for years regarding CFL bulbs.

"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
-Ron Paul

Let me tell you this much...UV-B enhanced CFLs for reptile

environments give off enough UV-A/B to actually burn reptiles if not distanced properly. However...reptiles can die under normal CFLs, for not having enough UV light for them to internally control hormone activity to limit conjunctivitis. That being said...I'd love to read their 'research.' Sounds like more BIG INDUSTRY/GOVT phase outs to 'help us' upgrade into a better future. LED's are trash, the truth is the more people buy them in early development, the funding for research to actually develop a better working product for mass consumption increases, once they have a functioning and better product, the next product hits the shelves at an even higher price. Technocratic research funded by taxpayers, private markets lobby govt...sounds like they want to dip into both ends while the taxpayers pants are around their knees. I deem this 'rape.'

Indoors are still not even remotely close to the potential dangers from sunlight exposure outdoors. I typically don't down vote things but this article is media scare tactics, sorry poster. "It is what it is." If you stocked up before the ban, I guess good for you, bad for your eyes or electricity bill. I'm not a CFL enthusiast, I'm a natural light enthusiast. It's free, and healthy to soak up rays provided you aren't overexposed. Wear a bonnet, and long light breathable sleaves if you burn easily (redheads).

Freedom Lovers Unite : to bring in our last chance for what was a great country back again into the hands of the people.


"Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover."

All of my CFLs are behind glass covers and either mounted to or hanging from the ceiling. However, I do wish they had included data on specific distances from an unshielded CFL. Also, their use of the word "safest" begs the question of how much, if any, UV gets through a glass cover.

My takeaway from this is to avoid using CFLs in table lamps. LEDs are still too damn expensive for a decent "bulb".

Great find...this was interesting!!!

I found this statement to particularly interesting...

"The response of the cells to the CFLs was consistent with damage from UV radiation, which was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), normally used for UV absorption, were added prior to exposure."

Ha, ha...this also confirms that titatium dioxide, a common active ingredient in sunblock, does nothing to block and actually contributes to the damage! Rubbing nanoparticles into your skin...yikes...nothing good can come of that.

Please give me back the warm glow of an incandescent bulb!

Please give me back the warm glow of an incandescent bulb!

And take back those mercury filled death spirals!

Oh how I long for those days when we used to be free

Let the consumers...

decide what they want to do with this information... not the central government.

We'll need

a call to action this Fall as the reprieve of the implementation of the ban on fluorescent bulbs expires 9-30-12

I don't wonder

This VFEM emiting bad light mercury and other heavy metals containing crap I would never buy again after experiences - I would prefer LED, which anyway has much higher lifespan/price ratio as I've found after several years of the CFL's sometimes literally exploding one after another and who needs all the time breathe that mercury...
Maybe this scaring study was just timed to help phase the expensive CFL crap out. It is hard to believe they didn't know the CFL's are harmful while pushing this supposedly "green" s**t - when the internet is full of it for many years.

And they contain mercury


Is there a chemist or biologist in the house?

I can't stand fluorescent lights!!! I'd be very happy to add the above findings to my reasons why. But I wanted to see the article for myself, so as to read the abstract. The problem is, I can't find it. That's not to say it isn't there in the specified issue of the magazine (linked); it's a seriously technical journal. The titles might as well be in another language. If I write a letter to an editor or my Congressman, I want to make sure that the article I'd be referencing would be correct. (I don't think my Congressman here in New York would put much stock in my referencing the Daily Caller!)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Dr. Mercola : Fluorescent light vs. Full Spectrum Light

Dr. Mercola: Fluorescent light vs. Full Spectrum Light


Thanks, but no thanks

I do appreciate your reply, emalvini, and the doctor made some good general points about health vis a via seasonal adjustment disorder. But this isn't what I was looking for. Unlike myself, Dr. Mercola is an advocate of fluorescent bulbs - full-spectrum but nonetheless. Also, this clip is from 2009. I was looking for more information on the new study reported in The Daily Caller. But again, I do appreciate your input.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

Light Bulbs

Good article and video!

In the mid-1980's I read a book, "Health and Light" by Dr. John Ott.
It was quite an eye-opener about his experiments on the effects of different forms of light (and EMFs) on plants, animals and humans. I highly recommend the book and there is an updated version of the book is available. After reading that book, I purchased a Ott Light from his company. At that time, the Ott Light was a full spectrum fluorescent bulb with shielding to reduce EMFs and x-rays plus a smaller UV fluorescent bulb to simulate sunlight as much as possible.

Here is a sampling of a video about Dr. Ott's research:


Unfortunately, I am not satisfied with the current version of the Ott Lights. So, when I heard about this stupid law, I purchased a
boatload of "full-spectrum" incandescent bulbs (enough to last me several years until the law is reversed). If you have a chance to stock up to avoid unhealthy lighting, I think it's a great idea.

searched with Start Page


haven't read it yet, but this is the first of 97 hits. Thanks for the push. Those eco friendly lights are so nice I just want to run out and hug one of those tree lovin statists.

I'll take my Liberty, it's not yours to give.

Thanks JAG

This gave the title. Google showed that it's been reported all over the place (and the sciencedaily writeup itself was good and something I'd feel fine with quoting), plus it brought me to Photochemisty & Photobiology and that abstract I was looking for. (Daily Caller had the wrong issue, and the search option at the magazine hadn't found it based on my key words.) I won't be using these lights. If I have to, nights, I'll be reading by candlelight. I'm convinced they aren't healthy and that they aren't even good for the environment, all things considered.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir

reedr3v's picture