Incandescent? Compact Flourescent? Light-Emitting Diodes?
Stock Up on Edison Light Bulbs While You Can
New LED bulbs are so potentially dangerous and expensive that Americans should protest mandatory use
by Ralph Forbes
June 27, 2011
American Free Press
Cut down on energy usage, save the planet -- and slash your electric bill. What could be better? It seemed better than Girl Scout cookies -- until the facts were checked. As usual, when the government promises to save you money and make your life better, hold on to your wallets, and hide your wife and children.
The feds mandate that Edison's tried-and-true light bulbs will be forbidden after January, 2012. The new 100-watt light emitting diodes (LEDs) will be scarce -- and will cost about $50 each.
This summer you should be able to get 75-watt LED-equivalent from big-box hardware stores for about $45. Right now you can buy a Philips 60-watt-equivalent bulb for around $40 -- but it's slightly dimmer than a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Sylvania sells a similar LED bulb at hardware stores, also for $40.
But LEDs "last forever," so in the long run it's worth it, right? Well, the little red LED that lets you know an appliance is on or is in your clock radio, probablhy will last indefinitely, but it doesn't provide much light.
The problem with LEDs is that although they don't produce as much heat as incandescent bulbs, the heat they do generate reduces their efficiency, and shortens the lifespan of the LEDs.
One solution by Philips uses "remote phosphors" to achieve greater efficiency, but it is not know what the spectrum is, visible or invisible, or what the effect is on comfort or health. Another idea is tiny fans to dissipate the heat. However, this uses more energy, causing light to flicker. There are a number of companies working on technical solutions, but none has solved all the problems with LEDs.
In a new University of California, Irvine study, it has been revealed that LED lightbulbs advertised as "green" or "eco-friendly" are actually laden with arsenic, lead and other hazardous chemicals.
Other technologies have even bigger problems. Organic light-emitting diodes are glowing sheets instead of pinprick light sources like more traditional LEDs. So far, they are an expensive novelty used in some smartphones.
Compact flourescent lights contain the neurotoxin mercury vapor, which is released if they break or are improperly thrown away. According to the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks, these pose an added health risk due to the ultraviolet and blue light emitted by such devices. The European commission also stated that more research is needed to establish whether compact flourecscent lamps constitute any higher risk from ultra-violet and blue rays.
If individuals are exposed to the light produced by some single-envelope compact flourescent lamps for long periods of time at distances of less that 10 inches, it could lead to ultraviolet exposures approaching the current workplace limit set to protect workers from skin rashes, cancer and retinal damage.
In the past decade, hundreds of Chinese factory workers who manufactured compact flourescent lights, or CFLs, for export to first world countries were being poisoned and hospitalized because of mercury exposure. Examples include workers at the Nahai Feiyang lighting factory in Foshan, where 68 out of 72 were so badly poisoned that they required hospitalization. At another CFL factory in Jinzhou, 121 out of 123 employees were found to have excessive mercury levels, with one employee's mercury level 150 times the accepted standard, according to published reports.
Scientists in Germany have claimed that energy-saving bulbs should not be left on for long periods of time or placed close to a person's head because they release poisonous materials. They should not be used by adults to read or kept near a child's head all night.
The harmful substances include phenol, a deadly poison, as well as the toxins napthalene and styrene, say the researchers. Tests showed that the materrials used to make the lamps are probably responsible for their potentially harmful side effects.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that when all 270 million compact flourescent lamps sold in 2007 alone are sent to landfill sites, this would represent aroud 0.13 metric tons of mercury.