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I just got rid of all those "energy saving" CFL lightbulbs in my house ... here's why

I've been hearing from different people about the radiofrequency emissions of compact fluorescent or CFL bulbs, 'dirty electricity' is a term to search for that. They are the new recommended light bulbs and governments all over the world are getting ready to forbid the old ones.


Image credit: Next-up Org

But then - with the need to conserve electricity and all that, I was kind of half-heartedly starting to substitute the new "good" bulbs for those dirty old wasteful glow lamps that waste some of the energy as heat, also known as the infrared band. So I had about six of those CFL glass spirals in use, and a few new ones waiting for more of the old bulbs to konk out and be substituted.

Then, this morning, I read an email from my friend Rob and changed my mind. I unscrewed those bulbs that had snuck their way into my electric system and, together with the new ones, brought them to the garbage bin down by the street. Why ... I hear some of you asking. Well, here's the message of Rob, and a link or two to follow.

Check it out and make your own decision...


- - -

In a special "emergency" board meeting for a new non-profit (identification hidden to "protect" the guilty) this week, I was asked to present what I had discovered about health issues associated with Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs).


I walked into a buzz-saw.

I was told that if I mentioned or talked about my findings to anyone, while wearing my board hat, that either about 4 others or I would be removed from the board. I am the treasurer and represent (....) on that board. I have been getting the 501(3)c paperwork processed and I have been paying for it out of my own pocket for the organization. (I had volunteered the Alternative Energy User Group earlier so we could fast-track, but I was rebuffed.)

What brought the CLF hazards issue up, was that one of the sponsors was going to withdraw their funds if I "badmouthed" CFLs. That corporation has sold over 100 million of these CFLs so far. I said it is not good for us to be held hostage by a sponsor, when we find out that a product being sold (or given away) turns out to be a health and fire hazard. I was told I was a radical. (I wear that badge with honor and accepted that gladly!)

I barely got into my presentation, when I was essentially shouted down by 4 other board members (3 are from a local PUD and the other is from a natural gas company). I was told there is no scientific evidence (even after looking at the book I brought in from Bonneville Power Administration published in 2006 on electro smog and they also trashed Dr. Magda Havas' evidence), just anecdotal stories. One said she would never, ever hire someone like me or allow me to represent the non-profit in any capacity in public. And then I was quoted about t he Federal mandates the PUD has to comply with in saving energy, using CFLs, like it was law and they had no choice in the matter. They were rather passionate and actually, now that I think about it, nearly hysterical about it.

I never witnessed so much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth over my own experiences relating to the negative health effects of living with CFLs in my own home for 3 months with chronic migraines, nausea, skin rashes and arthritic-like conditions. (I do not have epilepsy or lupus, but folks who do, cannot live with CFLs or fluorescent lighting of any kind.) By removing 30 lamps from our home (we all under our roof experienced these health defects, not just me), the nagging health problems disappeared within 2 days.

I had "someone in authority" re-read what the mission statement of the organization we had previously voted on a few weeks ago and I said; "Precisely". That shut t he other board members up, but I was unable to complete my presentation. My time was up. I had not anticipated such a strong, negative reaction from those I considered to be associates and friends. I was rather bummed out and dispirited about the episode. (I doubt it was taped or recorded. I'm sure it was overheard in other rooms.)

I have had quite a few other people contact me with the exact same experiences my family had, both from the US and Canada. By removing the CFLs from their homes, the problems went away. Some have written that when they bought more CFL bulbs and added them, the health issues came back immediately and they had to remove them again. It did not matter which manufacturer they bought them from. The "me too" list is growing exponentially. Anecdotes beat scientific studies hands down any day, in my book. When there are hundreds and thousands of "witnesses" (and indeed, there are), we are on to something big!


What really upset the board members was my facetious list of reasons for promoting CFLs that I afterwards posted in the Downsides discussion section located on the Downsides PESWiki page. Apparently, it is not so facetious anymore. Sadly, it turns out to be very, very true.


I modified the "We believe" list a bit, removing the reference to slave labor in China (it nonetheless is still true, however) and reduced the list from 20 belief points, down to 15. Perhaps I should call them "CFL Articles of Faith"? Yeah, that will do. I just changed the title of the entry on the Discussion page.

I predict that we will see an international backlash against CFLs, not because they are mandated by the governments of the world, not because they are manufactured only in Red China, or because they do not last as long as advertised or because they cost so much more than incandescents, but because they emit UV, EMI and RFI electro smog, detrimental to human health and well-being. And yes, in spite of at least 4 product recalls, there are class-action suits against at least one manufacturer. I expect more to quickly follow.

Just because an electronic device has a UL or other test label listing, does not mean it has been tested for electro-smog.

Why are so many people vested in such a poor product that is being touted as "green", but is so obviously not? Is "reducing energy use and CO2 emissions" more important than our health?

Anyway a lot of sweat, blood and tears have gone into revamping and researching the "Downsides" page for PESWiki. Yes, even Sterling (my boss) first figured I was off my rocker (he probably still does). I have 3 months of medical expenses ("we can't find anything wrong"), pain and physical suffering to prove this real and I have discovered that this is not an isolated incident.

This issue is not going to go away until CFLs are replaced or improved with better technology. (BTW, I have quite a few 4-foot fluorescents also in our house and they never, ever made our bodies react the way the CFLs have.)

When we look at alternative energy solutions, we need to take into account what our bodies are telling us when we are in proximity of those technologies. Remember what happened to those first few who discovered nuclear radioactivity and how long it took for mankind to discover how to protect itself from it?

There are ways to protect our selves from too much electro-smog. In doing this research, I discovered

SwissShield EMI Protection and Conductivity Solution - Electro smog textile protection using Swicofil -


In the case of CFLs, it is much easier and less costly to not buy or use them.

I believe the power of the pen is mightier than the sword. In my case, it is about the only "power" I have. That power only exists if those who can read, choose to do so. However, this is more than a "free speech" issue.

I refuse to be silent. Our quality of life is at stake here.

- - -

This was originally published on my facebook page as a note. There is some more discussion there, which you can check out and I believe it is accessible even if you are not a member of facebook.

Link: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=64365186553

- - -

See also:

Video: Compact fluorescent light bulbs health effects? (Part 1)

Video: Compact fluorescent light bulbs health effects? (Part 2)

New Zealand scraps ban on traditional lightbulbs

The Dark Side Of CFLs

Greener Lights?

'Green' lightbulbs poison workers
Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs. A surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years, has also led to the reopening of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.

Doctors, regulators, lawyers and courts in China - which supplies two thirds of the compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Britain - are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury.

Low-energy bulbs: a not-so-bright idea (PDF)
Prof Rémy Prud'homme of Paris University
A simple calculation shows that changing bulbs will cause the annual total of CO² emissions to double, passing from 3 million tonnes with filament bulbs to more than 6 million tonnes with low-energy bulbs. Reducing purchasing power by 7 billion euro today in order to emit twice as much CO²?!

LED there be light - new technology for the future

Study warns of green light bulb electrosmog
Swiss health officials are recommending that people stay at least 30 centimetres away from energy-saving light bulbs, over electrosmog concerns.

Low- and medium-frequency magnetic and electric fields can induce electric currents in the body which, above a certain frequency, can stimulate the nerves and muscles.

A New Method of Poisoning Us With Radiation: 'High Efficiency' Light Bulbs

The Dark Side Of CFLs
CFLs should be thought of as toxic technology, when mercury contamination, ultraviolet radiation, and radio frequency radiation are factored in. From cradle to grave, CFLs pose a danger to people's health and well being, as well as adding even more toxicity to the environment. In fact, CFLs do not reduce a person's carbon footprint and may even increase it in some situations. To make matters even worse, CFLs emit harmful levels of electromagnetic radiation.

Video: The foolishness of the environmental movement and congress!
A US Congressman on prohibiting incandescent light bulbs...

An energy saving bulb has gone - evacuate the room now!

Energy-saving light bulbs are so dangerous that everyone must leave the room for at least 15 minutes if one falls to the floor and breaks, a Government department warned...

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Thank you for posting this. The "CFL Downsides" page is continuing to grow with references to other links and information.

This is not going to go away until manufacturers correct the problems found with these so-called "green" devices.

PESWiki is a public website and those who want to participate, may do so by registering at http://www.peswiki.com > upper right corner - follow the prompts.

It seems that our culture is an ongonig BATTLEGROUND between the forces of OBECTIVITY / TRUTH and the forces of MONEY / CONTROL --- just to find FOOD that is SAFE and NUTRITIOUS to eat can require hours of RESEARCH and TRAVEL / EFFORT --- which -- in a sense --- has turned me back into a HUNTER / GATHERER again ---HOW IRONIC ---- " WHAT GOES AROUND -- COMES AROUND " ----- KEN

I've never had any problems with CFLs. Nobody I've known has had any issues with CFLs, other than they don't like the quality of the light they produce.

As an amateur radio operator (KC5TJA), I own a rig with a bettern-than 120dB signal gain, and I can attest personally that not *ONE* CFL in my household emits any kind of electromagnetic interference, anywhere detectable from 300 Hz to 450MHz. Seeing as how CFLs use non-sinusoidal waveforms to energize the interior plasma, the 60Hz base frequency should at least have some kind of harmonics in the 600Hz range, easily detected by my rig.

In short, this is utter trash. I concur with the folks who claim that there is zero *credible* scientific evidence against the use of CFLs.

What *YOU* just did, however, was pollute the environment in a substantial manner by discarding CFLs in your local landfill. THOSE LAMPS CONTAINED MERCURY AND PHOSPHORUS, plus all the hazardous components that go into any piece of home electronics (solder, copper, fiberglass, etc). You, sir, are to be publicly ridiculed in the full view of millions for not taking proper recycling procedures.

Shame on you.


Just how close to those CFLs in your home did you get with your antennas? It sounds like you are assuming that a biological system a few feet away could not possibly be affected. That may very well not be a valid assumption.

You really don't know what the "gain" is for a human being. And of course as a licensed HAM you know that the signal strength falls off with the square of the distance. So just because your antenna doesn't pick it up, doesn't mean the humans aren't affected by certain frequencies in a particular band. Some of us seem to be very sensitive antennas.

Many people seem to be able to use cell phones and microwaves okay. But as much as I wish it were not so, I can't hold my cell phone to my head for more than a few seconds without getting naseous. Same thing if I'm very close to an operating microwave or some wireless routers.

And I'm certainly not the only one, even if I might be out the edges of the distribution curve. Obviously distance makes a big difference, and I'm okay if I get a few feet away.

BlueTooth headset is fine, but then it's only going 30 feet and not to the nearest cell tower.

Instruments are just tools, not TRUTH. They simply allow humans to extend their senses. Thinking is still required.

One cannot just ignore the actual physical symptoms of large numbers of people. Especially when nearly all of that particular group of people are actually self-selected to be more motivated to WANT to use less electricity. They have no reason at all to pyschosomatically create such ideas.

Looking at the actual physical symptoms of large numbers of people is extremely valid SCIENCE. It's done all the time. At a bare minimum, it deserves more research, and not just to be swept under the rug because of some well-meaning law or because some company has invested in manufacturing for something.

I can think of other things which might be going on as well, all which are valid concepts based on current physics. But they would just be ideas, not facts. (even based on very basic science, the particular frequency spectrum of the light could make people sick; see the research of John Ott - Wikipedia has a good overview)

People getting sick for months, and then getting all well when the CFLs are removed are _facts_. Experimental evidence which can't just be ignored if it doesn't fit your own idea of what the results of the experiment _should_ be. Throwing out some of the evidence is not science.

Science would mean doing more experiments to determine what is going on.


I actually did some
reading around on this
and it looks like you
are onto something.

Thanks. I won't be buying
any of these bulbs.

(This is for power factor
and baseband electrical
issues, as much as for
RF emanations, poor
light quality, lousy
manufacturing processes,
and high cost.)

I will, also, follow
the well-meaning (but
idiotic) recommendations
to carefully throw them
out in the "recycling",
where they will be
carefully loaded onto
containers by meticulously
trained HAZMAT technicians clad in positive pressure neoprene suits, and placed
on one-way rockets Mercury (the planet, not the
neurotoxin), where they
will then be crashed,
spreading their deadly
all over and then can
safely pollute the
environment in a
substantial manner. ;-)

Thanks again for a
helpful post.

We are using Light Emitting Diode (LED) 12 VDC and 120 VAC in our micro homes. They are clean and safe and 3 watts. I think they will change the whole lighting industry very soon now. They are getting brighter all the time.

Thanks Walt,

you may be right with your prediction this time. LEDs are our future lighting.

If our own industry won't develop and sell the LEDs, some of the developing countries will, like India or China...

Walt, Sepp, you are so right, and the future's already here:

"GERMANY: Audi claims all-LED headlight first.
2 January 2009 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team.
"Audi has claimed its new V10 R8 is the first car in the world with all-LED (light emitting diode) headlamps.
"For the first time the high intensity diodes have been used for both low and high beams, as well as for daytime running lights and indicators".

Others are already following Audi's lead. Google 'LED headlights'.

I trashed all my incandescent bulbs twenty years ago and can't wait to trash my fluorescents in the very near future. As the poet said: "Westward look, the land is bright".

Dirty electricity scanner (Paul HOSTH), (thanks 'NEXUS', 'New DAWN' magazines),'DE' has been on my agenda since i live on alt energies out of town.
I too get skin rashes, although
from preservatives and soy products, but never assosiated it with DE.
So here is my 'Star Trek' style scanner for you to use at home or work. I soon moved my bed and felt much more healthy.
Use an AM radio(portable) up full volume but off a channel making it as quiet as you can, and simply walk around your area and listen for the buzz. flouro's can have around a foot of EMF around them and clock radios or power points can be 2 feet and my lap-top has at least 3 feet of interference radiating from it!!!!!
I used to sleep within the field of my clock radio and its power point and was lethargic and my memory was a little weak. Now i feel younger and sharper as i sleep outside the fields.
With brain tumors and breast cancer prevalent these days, it is good you are on to it.
P.S. i am always working on your alkaline battery conversion, for my solar system.
live long and prosper(Nimoy), Sepp, for you are truely COOL.

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