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Originally published January 11 2010

Compact Fluorescent Lights May Harm Health

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Exposure to compact fluorescent light bulbs may be dangerous to many people's health, a number of consumer advocacy groups have warned the British government.

Under a 2007 agreement, European Union nations recently began to phase out the sale of traditional incandescent light bulbs in order to reduce energy consumption. According to David Price of the nonprofit alliance Spectrum, the British government has been "disregarding" the health concerns of people with light-sensitive health conditions in its efforts to comply with this mandate.

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

Light sensitivity can be caused by medication or by underlying health conditions. In some sufferers, compact fluorescent lighting can trigger migraines, rashes or other health problems. Brenda Ryan of Godshill said that the new prevalence of compact fluorescent bulbs so severely aggravates her lupus that she is now forced to remain indoors to avoid a severe red-purple rash and "continuous vomiting."

Lee Tomkins of the nonprofit Migraine Action has urged light sensitive individuals to stockpile incandescent bulbs before they vanish from stores.

The British Association of Dermatologists voiced concerns similar to Spectrum's and criticized the government for not allowing exemptions to the incandescent bulb ban.

''What we need, very simply, is for access to remain available to incandescent lamps for people who are sensitive to non-incandescent bulbs," an association spokesperson said. ''This would be a simple solution and as yet we have not been notified as to why this is not the case."

The Royal Association of Blind People raised another concern with the phase-out of traditional bulbs, noting that compact fluorescents give off a lower quality of light than incandescents, which can cause difficulties for partially-sighted people.

A Department of Health spokesperson said that the use of "double envelope" compact fluorescents, which look like incandescent bulbs from the outside, can significantly reduce their light sensitivity aggravating effects. Energy efficient halogen lamps will also remain on the market.

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