When environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) came into the market, everyone flocked to their local hardware store to buy a bunch.
It seemed like a no-brainer at the time.
CFLs are marketed to not only save the environment, but to save you money in the long run.
These energy efficient bulbs have become so popular around the world that some countries are phasing out traditional incandescent light bulbs completely.
While many people are all for it, others don't think we're quite ready for this complete change.
CFLs claimed to be linked to cancer
Some scientists claim that when CFLs are switched on, they emit carcinogenic chemicals that wreak havoc on our health.
As someone who has completely made the switch to energy saving light bulbs, this news is quite worrisome.
And it doesn't help to know that many of these CFL bulbs are made in countries where environmental laws aren't very strict, which means the production process is possibly negatively affecting our environment too.
A team of researchers in Germany claim that CFLs emit toxins, like phenol, naphthalene and styrene.
“For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment," Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said.
They add that these light bulbs should not be used in unventilated areas and turned on close to a person's head.
Another academic study claims that these light bulbs could also result in higher breast cancer rates if they're used at night.
Abraham Haim, a professor of biology at Haifa University in Israel, says there may be a link between night time light exposure and breast cancer risk, but there's a higher risk when using energy saving light bulbs.
The study published in the journal Chronobiology International found that this bluer light CFLs emit disrupt the body's melatonin levels, which is a hormone responsible for helping us fall asleep.
That being said, Haim mentioned that his study is just a theory. Of course, more research needs to be done for more concrete results.
Others argue there's no need to panic
Many experts say that although CFLs contain mercury, it's a very small amount, so it shouldn't be cause for concern.
Also, they argue that CFLs emit very low levels of ultraviolet radiation that are unlikely to damage cells.
A study by Stony Brook University in New York found that skin cells in petri dishes changed after being exposed to these light bulbs.
What they concluded was that working a year under these light bulbs would be as if you were exposed to 20 minutes of direct sunlight in a month like September.
In other words, these UV rays are not as dangerous as they're played out to be.
As consumers, it's important we stay up to date with health standards to ensure the safety of our families.
While some people argue that there's no need to panic, others continue to cite other health problems connected with the use of CFLs, like migraines and skin conditions.
Have you made the complete switch from traditional light bulbs to energy efficient ones? What's your take on this debate?
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