Phasing Out 100W Lightbulbs... (To Be Replaced By Poisonous Compact Fluorescent Lamps!)

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 7:27pm.



The Government is putting its green credentials ahead of the health of Britons as old-fashioned and 100W lightbulbs are phased out under EU rules which come into force this week, campaigners said.

Energy-saving lightbulbs which will replace the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs can trigger migraines, exacerbate skin conditions and lead to other serious health problems, they said.

But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was working closely with organisations representing the 36,000 people in the UK who have a ''special health interest'' and only ''a small percentage'' of these would need specialist bulbs.

David Price, of Spectrum, an alliance of charities working with people with light-sensitive health conditions, said the Government was ''disregarding'' public concerns as it took the lead in European efforts to cut down on energy-inefficient products.

''Health is important and it should come over anything else, but they're not looking after ours,'' he said. ''They're not listening to the public and aren't talking to the actual sufferers.''

Countries across the EU start the mandatory phase-out of 100W and frosted incandescent lightbulbs in favour of energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) on Tuesday following a voluntary phase which started in 2007.

The new bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity than standard bulbs, could cut a home's annual energy bill by up to £37 and save 135kg of CO2 each year, the Energy Saving Trust said.

But Brenda Ryan, 56, of Godshill, Ventnor, on the Isle of Wight, suffers from an extreme form of lupus and described how the growing presence of energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs in the UK has forced her to stay indoors.

''I really am housebound,'' she said.

She said exposure to the new lightbulbs led to a reddish-purple rash on her skin and ''continuous vomiting'', which could last for several weeks, making her ''completely dependent'' on her husband John, 54.

The British Association of Dermatologists (Bad) said it would be a ''real worry'' if no exceptions were being made for people such as Mrs Ryan.

A Bad spokeswoman said: ''What we need, very simply, is for access to remain available to incandescent lamps for people who are sensitive to non-incandescent bulbs, provided they have a medical certificate stating that fact.

''This would be a simple solution and as yet we have not been notified as to why this is not the case.''

Lee Tomkins, director of Migraine Action, urged sufferers to stockpile the old-fashioned bulbs before retailers run out.

''Be sensible and use the old incandescent bulbs where you can,'' she said. ''The new low-energy bulbs, particularly the ones in coils or rings, trigger people's migraines.''

She added that the charity was in talks with light bulb manufacturers who had been ''fantastic'' and trials were planned later this year to try to see ''if any of the new light bulbs could be adapted to be suitable''.

But Defra said EU health experts ''concluded that there is not enough evidence to suggest that modern lamps can aggravate epilepsy or migraines''.

Asked whether any exceptions were being made for people with health issues, the Department of Health said the EU experts advised that the use of ''double-envelope'' CFLs, ''which look like a traditional light bulb'', ''can largely or entirely mitigate the risk of aggravating the symptoms of light-sensitive individuals''.

''As a precautionary measure efficient halogen lamps will also remain available as anecdotal evidence suggests that these can be an adequate alternative,'' it said.

It added it would also ''keep in touch with medical experts, support groups and charities and the lighting industry to encourage a range of low energy lighting, shields and light fittings to be available''.

Many blind and partially-sighted people also have concerns about the quality of the light given off by the energy-saving bulbs, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said.

The RNIB does not recommend replacing hallway and stair lights with new energy efficient versions, but suggested using tungsten halogen bulbs instead, a spokeswoman said.

But it added that, ''for the vast majority of people it is possible to achieve an equivalent lighting effect with new energy efficient bulbs available on the high street - the real issue is knowing what to get''.

Concerns also surround whether the new light bulbs will fit all non-standard fittings, but Defra insisted ''no-one will be forced to change their light bulbs, or their fittings, and retailers will be able to sell on existing stocks''.

Dan Norris, Environment Minister, said: ''We can no longer rely on light bulbs which waste 95% of their energy as heat. We are glad the EU has put this measure in place to stop the waste of energy and money from old fashioned high energy bulbs.''

He said the move would result in about one million tonnes of saved CO2 per year by 2020.


August 31, 2009 - source TelegraphUK


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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 7:27pm.