Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fluorescent Lighting

Is it "greener" to switch to flourescents? NO!!!

I watched a bit of the Live Earth snoozefest and was right away hit with the crap about how everyone should switch from incandescent light bulbs to "energy saving, money saving compact fluorescent lamps." In seeing this, my first thought was "How incredibly stupid? What about the dangers of disposing them?" You see they contain mercury and there are precious few disposal or recycling programs for them.

CF bulbs contain about 4 milligrams of mercury sealed in the glass tubing of the bulb (roughly equivalent to the tip of a ball-point pen). Mercury vapor converts electricity into light. Mercury is most toxic when it leaches from landfills into the water and then into fish. Therefore, compact fluorescent (CF) bulbs or fluorescent tubes must NOT be thrown away with your regular garbage.

Read this lovely article about one woman's horrible experience when a fluorescent bulb broke in her daughter's room. Ready for the Hazmat team to come in?

Aside from that, fluorescent lighting has been reported FOR DECADES to cause and/or aggravate migraine headaches, eye strain and seizures.

Dr. Alan Gaby, medical editor of the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Holistic Medicine reports, "Time-lapse cinematography studies have shown that first-grade children sitting under fluorescent lights become hyperactive, compared to those exposed to standard lighting.

"The radiation emanating from television sets (not to mention the questionable programming) may also have an adverse effect on behavior. In one study, rats were placed in a cage fifteen feet away from a television set. Although the sound was turned off and all visible light from the screen was shielded by a piece of black cardboard, the rats became hyperactive and aggressive. However, if a lead shield was placed over the black cardboard, the rats behaved normally."

From experience: I had a daughter tested for epilepsy a few years ago. One of the tests involves blind-folding the child and holding strobe lighting over their face. Even with their eyes shielded, the brain can sense the flickering/strobing and this shows on the EEG. It has been shown that the strobe effect of fluorescent lights can cause similar reactions in the brain.

I'll add another bit from life experience around me. Two boys I know started out in public school - filled with fluorescent lighting, of course. Both boys were determined to be ADHD by the time they finished first grade. Both boys were taken out of school to be homeschooled - yep, they sat at home in natural and incandescent lighting for the rest of their learning. SURPRISE! Neither of them ever exhibited any more symptoms of ADHD. Both are now in high school, brilliant young men, calm, great to hang around. (FYI they have plenty of friends and social outlets).

Some quickies:

Flicker can be unhealthy. It causes seizures in about 4% of patients with epilepsy
Jeavons, P.M. and Harding, G.F.A. (1972). Photosensitive Epilepsy. A Review of the Literature and a Study of 460 patients. William Heinemann Books, London. 121pp.
The rapid imperceptible flicker from visual display terminals and fluorescent lighting affects eye movements.
Wilkins, A.J. (1986). Intermittent illumination from visual display units and fluorescent lighting affects movements of the eyes across text. Human Factors, 28(1), 75-81.
Fluorescent lighting causes eye-strain and headaches.
Wilkins, A.J., Nimmo-Smith, I.M., Slater, A. and Bedocs, L. (1989). Fluorescent lighting, headaches and eye-strain. Lighting Research and Technology, 21(1), 11-18.
People with agoraphobia can be sensitive to light. Their heart rate is increased when fluorescent lighting flickers imperceptibly.
Watts, F.N. and Wilkins, A.J. (1989). The role of provocative visual stimuli in agoraphobia. Psychological Medicine, 19, 875-885.
Hazell, J. and Wilkins A.J. (1990). A contribution of fluorescent lighting to agoraphobia. Psychological Medicine 20, 591-596.

I think Al Gore is one of the biggest buffoons to ever walk the planet. I think that a lot of this "think green" business is a bunch of malarkey. By all means should we take care of our earth and stop polluting and poisoning our environment - but let's think up some reasonable responses and not push the first crappy idea that comes to the top of our head like flourescent lighting. How silly and how

We have been in a period of increased solar activity, apparently it has been increasing for the last century but particularly in the last 20 years. The amount of greenhouses gases produced by this increase in solar activity dwarves any amount caused by human stupid (which does not mean I advocate continued human stupidity). Any radioactive output by the Sun effects the energy balance of the Earth's surface, atmosphere and climate. Was anyone aware that Venus has been heating up due to increased greenhouse gases caused by solar activity.

In this report, Scafetta, N. and West, B.J. 2006. Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900-2000 global surface warming. Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL025539. , it is summarized that: "The two researchers determined that the sun contributed some 46-49% of the 1900-2000 global warming of the earth; and considering that there may have been uncertainties of 20-30% in their sensitivity parameters, they suggest that the sun may possibly have been responsible for as much as 60% of the 20th-century temperature increase." Later researchers have indicated that "that some of these phenomena may to some degree be independent of, and thereby add to, the simple TSI forcing Scafetta and West employed, which suggests that the totality of solar activity effects on climate may be even greater than what they calculated."

It'll be a cold day in hell before I switch to fluorescent lighting in my home. It makes me feel sick, gives me headaches and is a VERY annoying light to read by.

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