Energy-Saving Lamps & Health
The widespread introduction of energy-efficient
compact fluorescent lamps
(CFLs) and the suggested
phasing out of incandescent lamps has caused concerns among
patients that CFLs could aggravate certain disease-related
Based on the mode of operation of these lamps, the Scientific
Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks
(SCENIHR) identified flicker,
electromagnetic fields, and
ultraviolet and blue light radiation as the three
characteristics to be examined in order to assess the risks.
Based on this analysis, the Committee concluded that:
- There is no evidence to suggest that flicker from
CFLs poses a risk to
- There is no evidence that
generated by CFLs cause harmful effects.
- There is no evidence that the use of CFLs aggravates
the symptoms of
chronic fatigue syndrome,
HIV-infection and it is
fluorescent lamps can
cause snow blindness or
- The ultraviolet and blue light radiation from CFLs is
a potential risk factor for the aggravation of symptoms in
some light-sensitive patients with such diseases as
chronic actinic dermatitis
and solar urticaria.
Across the EU, an estimated 250 000 patients could be
concerned (preliminary rough estimation of worst case
- Using some single-envelope CFLs for prolonged periods
of time near the body (at distances smaller than 20 cm) can
result in ultraviolet exposures nearing current workplace
limits set to protect workers from skin and retinal damage.
- The use of double-envelope energy-saving lamps or
similar technology would largely or entirely mitigate risks
both of approaching workplace limits on UV emissions in
extreme conditions and the risk of aggravating the symptoms
of light-sensitive people.