Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Pass The Sunscreen

So the humble light bulb is being phased out. Most people are in favour of switching to low energy bulbs, and indeed already have.

Most of us that is apart from those for whom low energy bulbs pose a significant problem. I was pleased to see the BBC's latest on this issue made passing reference to migraine sufferers, who can be triggered after a mere 30 minutes in the presence of one of these bulbs, due to their imperceptible flicker. But there are many more people with ME/CFS, Lupus, Eczema, Dermatitis, Electrosensitivity and XP whose suffering can only increase as low energy bulbs become the norm. Being bathed in UV light is not always a good thing if you are a person with any of these conditions. Headaches, rashes, dizziness, visual disturbance, and fatigue have all been reported. Sunscreen can help, and in some cases is available on prescription, but for many it's an expensive last resort.

I sit on the fence over this issue. Obviously the environmental benefits of using low energy bulbs are huge. So I compromise and use them in hallways, where I'm just passing through, and in the bathroom because I always bathe in total darkness. I used to be a Goth.

Sally campaigned for incandescent bulbs to continue to be made available and urged people to sign a petition organised by Spectrum. In the end more than 600 people did, and the response from Number 10 is here. Whilst it doesn't promise that those of us who need incandescent bulbs will still be able to get them forever and ever, it does at least reassure that some of these bulbs will continue to be available for a long time yet.

I had a moment...I suppose you'd call it yet another light bulb moment...though not quite on a par with Sally's light bulb moment which explains exactly why people with light sensitivity suffer so greatly.

Anyway, I wondered whether all the organisations who represent people with Lupus, ME, migraine, eczema, dermatitis, electrosensitivity and XP could fundraise to start stockpiling incandescent bulbs before they get phased out.

Because let's face it, in a few years' time do we seriously want to be living plastered in suncream all the time or permanently behind dark glasses?

9 comments:

Reading the Signs said...

I loathe energy saving bulbs - they give out a nasty thin light that depresses me - even without all the other potential hazards. Incandescence rules.

(Happy new year).

seahorse said...

Signs: Yay for Incandescence! T-shirt anyone? We could launch the new Evernescence, Effervescence? Ever whatever they were called...

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Donimo said...

There are broad spectrum, no flicker compact fluorescent bulbs. I am going to buy some soon. They are more expensive than the reg compacts, but they are supposed to give off a balanced, non-headache inducing light. We'll see. Many European studies in the '90's showed a lot of harmful effects when people (especially children) are exposed to fluorescent lights. Side-effects included more dental carries, inattention, lowered immune response, vision and headache problems. Is anybody speaking out about this? I hope that broad spectrum CFL lights might be the answer. I'll let you know what I think of them.

I do want to do the right thing for the planet, and I think that incandescents need to go. We just need a good alternative.

(I had a link that had info on what one should look for in a broad spectrum light, but I can't find it right now. Will keep you posted.)

seahorse said...

Agh, I replied to your comment Donimo and it hasn't published. Basically, will see if they have those broad spectrum ones over here - could be worth a look...)

Donimo said...

I still can't find those bloody specs for the broad spectrum bulbs; however, I did find info about encapsulated (double envelope) compact fluorescent light bulbs: they do not emit UV rays because the second layer of glass absorbs them. Check out the link here:

http://planet-watch.org/forum/showthread.php?t=9473

ashy00 said...

this is very interesting, i read the article about this on the bbc but that was the first time i had heard of people having trouble with them. I have ME and do get very light sensitive as well as bad headaches and sit most of the day next to (about 2 feet away)one of these bulbs (with a shade on). I expect the shade is preventing too much impact but it has got me thinking i may buy one of the double envelope kind next time... thanks for "highlighting" this!

seahorse said...

Thanks Donimo, and welcome ashy00. Glad to have been of use.

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