Saturday, August 9, 2008
Fluorescent Light Bulbs Linked with Eczema, Seizures, Migraines, Skin Rashes
Health advocates have warned that the United Kingdom's plan to phase out conventional light bulbs in favor of fluorescents may lead to serious health problems for people with light-sensitive medical conditions.
"Incandescent light bulbs are the only source of electric light for many thousands of people with light-sensitive conditions," said Andrew Langford, chief executive officer of the Skin Care Campaign. "Add to this the thousands of people whose conditions or treatments may secondarily cause them to be light sensitive, and you have a large number of people potentially being isolated in the dark.
The British government plans to ban the sale of the less energy-efficient incandescent light bulbs after 2011, as part of an effort to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. But according to health advocates including the Skin Care Campaign, Spectrum and even the British Association of Dermatologists, fluorescent light bulbs are known to worsen skin rashes in people with a variety of diseases and conditions including dermatitis, eczema, lupus, photosensitivity, porphyria and Xeroderma Pigmentosum.
Fluorescent bulbs have also been known to cause migraines and even seizures in epileptics.
Approximately 100,000 people in the United Kingdom have medical conditions that make their skin sensitive to fluorescent light.
The groups warned that a complete ban on incandescent lighting for people with such conditions would violate the Disability Discrimination Act, and that employers should also be allowed to purchase incandescent lights if their employees have a need for them.
"It is important that patients with photosensitive skin eruptions are allowed to use lights that don't exacerbate their condition," said Dr Colin Holden, president of the British Association of Dermatologists. "It is essential that such patients are able to protect themselves from specific wavelengths of light emitted by fluorescent bulbs, especially as they are often trapped indoors because they can't venture out in natural sunlight."