Scientists concluded that CFL light bulbs can be harmful to healthy skin cells.
“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said lead researcher Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University, in New York, in a statement. “Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure.”
According to Rafailovich, with or without TiO2 (a chemical found in sunblock), incandescent bulbs of the same light intensity had zero effects on healthy skin.
The scientists found that cracks in the CFL bulbs phosphor coatings yielded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs — purchased in different locations across two counties — they examined.
I was an early adopter of CFLs, but have since removed almost all of them from our house. Not because of reports like this one, or because of the potential for expensive cleanups after a broken one, or any of the other many problems the screwy little bulbs create.
No, I took them out because the light sucks. And also because they’re too expensive, don’t last as long as advertised, and therefore aren’t any cheaper to run.
I still keep a few installed, mostly outside. The sconces around our house have frosted covers, which masks just how damn ugly the light is. Besides, we’re trying to make it possible to see the sidewalk at night — not to put on makeup in the bathroom mirror or prepare tasty-looking food in the kitchen. It’s also nice to run the equivalent of ten 100-watt fixtures on just a fraction of the apparent wattage.
We keep two in the garage, also — but that’s out of three ceiling fixtures. I’ll explain in a moment.
CFLs broke a lot of promises.