Study: Energy-Saving Light Bulbs Can Cause Skin Cancer

Saturday, 21 Jul 2012 11:39 PM

By Nick Sanchez

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Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs popular among environmentalists are harmful to skin, researchers at a New York university have found.

Phosphor coatings on the bulbs wear off, the study from Stony Brook University on Long Island reported in the study published by in the journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology.
 
The scientists, led by Miriam Rafailovich, collected CFL bulbs from across Long Island to measure the amount of UV the bulbs gave off. They were alarmed thow many of the bulbs' phosphor coatings were lacking, causing them to leak significant levels of UVC and UVA.

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“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said Rafailovich.
 
“Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs. Our research shows that it is best to avoid using them at close distances and that they are safest when placed behind an additional glass cover.”
 
Healthy human skin tissue cells, including fibroblasts, a type of cell found in connective tissue that produces collagen, and keratinocytes, an epidermal cell that produces keratin, were damaged by the CFL radiation.
 
Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs of the same intensity were found to have no adverse affect on the same cells.

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