"Not all energy efficient bulbs are the same. Some do not contribute to dirty electricity and do not produce radio frequencies and this includes a few compact fluorescent lights, some LEDs (light emitting dioxides) and some halogen bulbs. Unfortunately most of the bulbs on the market will make people sick. Reducing green house gases is important but doing it with flawed technology that will make the user ill is not the right course of action. If governments are going to ban the energy-inefficient but electromagnetically clean incandescent bulb, then they should also ban bulbs that produce radio frequency pollution.
"I would encourage anyone who has recently purchased energy efficient bulbs and has since developed any of the symptoms mentioned above to test the bulb for radiation with a portable radio and if the radio buzzes to return the bulb to the retail store for a full refund. Even if our government hasn't done its homework, individual consumers can still make a difference."
Dr. Havas and her associates have tested shielding material for the bulb and Graham Stetzer filters for the dirty electricity. Both work well but they don't believe this is the way to go, but that some LED bulbs are the light of the future, both for energy efficiency and because they don't create radio frequency radiation.
Dirty Electricity has Biological Effects
"We can take a person who is diabetic and put them in an electrically dirty environment, and their blood sugar levels rise. We then put them into a clean environment, and within half an hour their blood sugar levels are lower. It becomes a barometer."
For instance, the blood glucose level of one test subject rose from 121 to over 350 solely from sitting near a lamp with a CFL in it for a couple of hours. (He had not eaten nor drunk anything that might have influenced his blood sugar.) Conversely, diabetics who install filters to remove the "dirty electricity" experience that they no longer need as much insulin, and some no longer need any insulin.
Read: Professor Havas' latest research: Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Biological Effects of Dirty Electricity with Emphasis on Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis
In September Professor Magda Havas responds to a story on compact fluorescent bulbs published in Vitality Magazine:
From: Magda Havas To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 11:34 AM
Subject: comment on CFL and Full Spectrum Bulbs Sept 2007
Letter to the Editor: Vitality Magazine.
Not all compact fluorescent lights are the same and not all full spectrum lights are safe.
I just read Rob Ferraz's article in Vitality Magazine "Earthwatch-Compact Fluorescents vs. Full Spectrum Bulbs" [http://www.vitalitymagazine.com/earthwatch_5 ] and agree that there are problems with CFL that go beyond the mercury problem. Some of these hearth concerns were alluded to in the article, namely that some people complain of irritability, depression, hyperactivity, fatigue, headaches etc. The articles goes on to state that if full spectrum lights are used this problem goes away. It's not that simple.
Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) produce radio wave frequencies. These frequencies radiate directly from the bulbs and go on the electrical wiring in the home or school causing poor power quality or dirty electricity. The closer you sit to the bulb the greater your exposure. Because the high frequencies travel along the wire you can be exposed in other rooms of your home as well as the room that contains the CFL.
Not all CFL bulbs produce the same amount of dirty electricity. Some are worse than others. Our research on CFL will be released to the public this fall so shoppers can decide which bulbs they want to buy based on energy efficiency, cost, and potential health impacts to their family.
Full spectrum lights mimic the sun and can reduce seasonal affective disorder or SAD especially during our northern winters when natural sunlight is limited. But some full spectrum bulbs also produce high frequencies that some people are sensitive to. This sensitivity is known as electrical sensitivity (ES) or electrohypersensitivity (EHS) and is becoming a growing concern because of our increasing exposure to electromagnetic energy from electronic equipment and wireless devices.
As many as 3% of the population have full blown EHS and are unable to live is a modern electrical environment. Many complain that they cannot be in a room with fluorescent lights because they feel "unwell". These people have difficulty shopping in large department stores because of the lighting and often go with list in hand and spend as little time in the store as possible. Their cognitive functions diminish and some have difficulty recalling where they parked their car.
Putting lights on dimmer switches exacerbates the problem. The dimmer switch converts the electrical signal into high frequency transients that result in dirty electricity. Even clean incandescent lights will produce dirty electricity if a dimmer switch is used. Most CFL are incompatible with dimmers.
Ontario moved too quickly promoting CFL and David Suzuki should have done his homework before he allowed his picture to be used to promote CFL. Yes they will save us green house gases but at what cost to our health?
Dr. Magda Havas is Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University and does research on electromagnetic pollution.
Dr. Magda Havas, B.Sc. Ph.D., Environmental & Resource Studies,
Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, K9J 7B8
phone: 705 748-1011 x 7882 fax: 705 748-1569
Read our test reports on the dirty electricity produced by typical CFL bulbs and compare them to a traditional incandescent bulb.