Perhaps those of us who looked askance at the Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb may have been right to worry in more ways than one…. Not only are there the HazMat cleanup methods if you should ever break one, but researchers have discovered that CFLs can expose users to enough UV to cause skin damage:
“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York. “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.” (Like we used to do with old fashioned fluorescent tubes)
Of course, the only way that such complex lightbulbs could be made cheap enough to sell to the already suspicious public, was to manufacture them in China. Add the well-known quality control problems of Chinese manufacturers to the more difficult shape of the Curly-Fry bulb compared to basic tubes, and you have the potential for uneven or cracked phosphor coating on the inside. That coating is all that stands between you and a bad case of UV radiation, and it’s not working out so well:
The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.
H/T The Daily Caller
Want more excitement? Not only will poor quality control release enough UV that you might have to pay tax as a tanning salon, but cheap and nasty electronics in the base might just catch fire! This description from “A Cop’s Watch”, where he had received this report from a friend:
“At left is a picture of a CFL light bulb from my bathroom. I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four-inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch!!! took the bulb to the Fire Department to report the incident. The fireman wasn’t at all surprised, and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out, there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs.
“Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by “Globe” in China seem to have the lion’s share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was installed in a normal light socket.”
As usual, when the government picks winners and losers, you don’t need a crystal ball to figure out who will be the losers!