Compact fluorescent light bulbs, a popular item nowadays, are causing concerns about safety. I get asked all the time if compact fluorescent light bulbs are dangerous because of the carcinogenic Dirty Electricity they cause. And the more the word gets out, the more people are asking these types of questions.
So are compact fluorescent light bulbs dangerous? Not only do compact fluorescent light bulbs contain the highly toxic chemical element mercury, but they manipulate the electrical current causing high frequency spikes and surges (dirty electricity) to be emitted by the electrical wiring into the rooms of the building. Dirty electricity is a form of EMF Radiation that independent peer reviewed scientific studies have linked to things like crib death, cancer, DNA damage, brain tumors, breast tumors and male infertility.
In this article I will go into more detail about these two elements of compact fluorescent light bulbs that are highly toxic. But first let me briefly explain what makes a light bulb “compact fluorescent”.
What Are Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs?
The above image is from a short article I found on the energystar.gov website called “Learn about CFLs“. I show it here because it will help my explanation of what compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) are, make more sense.
Instead of electricity running through a wire (filament), heating the wire, and creating light, as in the case with a standard incandescent light bulb, in a compact florescent light bulb an electric current is driven through a phosphor coated tube filled with argon and mercury vapor to create light.
The electrified argon and mercury vapor creates an invisible ultraviolet light that excites the phosphor coating on the tube emitting visible light.
It is the ballast in a compact fluorescent light bulb (like you see in the above image) that creates the dirty electricity. The ballast’s job is to adjust the voltage, current and waveform flowing through it to be ideal for the creation of the light. This is the manipulation of the current that we were talking about that creates the high frequency spikes and surges, a.k.a. dirty electricity.
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb Dangers
So while the mercury is only toxic to people if the light bulb breaks and the mercury escapes, the dirty electricity is toxic whenever the light is turned on.
In the website toxics.usgs.gov it says “Exposure to mercury may cause brain, liver, kidney and developmental disorders, particularly in young children and developing fetuses.” Nobody ever questions the extreme toxicity of mercury to the human body, except when mercury is included in medical injections. But I digress.
Dirty Electricity Toxicity – What Is It?
Electric fields and magnetic fields radiate from the electrical wiring in your home or office. Normally they don’t radiate more than a foot or so from the wiring itself and are relatively harmless.
However when electrical appliances, including things like CFL bulbs, try to alter the normal flow of alternating electrical current in some way, this creates high frequency spikes and surges that transmit along electrical wiring where only standard 50/60-Hz AC electricity should be. This is called electric smog or dirty electricity.
Because of the increased frequency and the surging, some of it becomes airborne and goes through the walls into the rooms of buildings. This dirty electricity radiates farther from the walls into the rooms of the building and is a highly toxic form of EMF Radiation.
There are many scientific studies that link the various forms of EMF Radiation to cancer and the other ailments I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Even the World Health Organization now lists EMF Radiation as a possible “carcinogen“.
Testing For Dirty Electricity
Replacing all of your CFL bulbs with halogen incandescent light bulbs, will reduce the dirty electricity in your home. However you will still want to test each circuit in your home for dirty electricity, because there are many other causes. However CFL bulbs are a significant contributor.
In the below video I take a meter and test for Dirty Electricity in one of the circuits in my home. Then I show you a simple solution that reduces the harmful radiation down to safe levels. The video is short but very much worth watching. I highly recommend it!
I have to laugh when I read some of the very biased agenda driven articles about dirty electricity such as sciencebasedmedicine.org’s article entitled “CFLs, Dirty Electricity and Bad Science“. In that article they say “What about CFLs specifically? They do indeed put out more EMF in certain frequencies than incandescent or halogen bulbs, but there is no evidence that this level of EMF poses any health consequences.” What a load of intentional nonsense.
Every device that manipulates the normal alternating current in any way creates dirty electricity. Sure having one compact fluorescent light bulb in your home wouldn’t increase your overall exposure to dirty electricity a lot. However most people are not going to just put one in their house.
People buy them to reduce electricity usage, so they will replace all their bulbs with these as they need replaced. This creates a significant amount of dirty electricity. I explain more about the dangers of dirty electricity (and EMF in general) in the below video as well as the best ways to protect yourself from it.
What other things besides compact fluorescent light bulbs cause dirty electricity?
Any appliance, machine or device that alters the normal AC current in any way, (for example changing AC to DC electricity) creates dirty electricity. Some equipment used by power companies create dirty electricity, so we get some from coming directly from them. Also any electric appliance wired or plugged into the wiring of our buildings, to the degree they alter the current, create dirty electricity.
Also faulty electrical wiring can cause dirty electricity such as not properly grounding a home.
What can we do to reduce the dirty electricity in our buildings?
First you need to check each circuit in your home with a meter such as the Graham-Stetzer Microsurge Meter. If the meter shows that your dirty electricity levels are too high on that circuit, you can plug in a Graham-Stetzer Filter. If that solves the problem, great, if not you then need to look at what devices or appliances are wired or plugged into that circuit.
Remove all of these devices and appliances and test again. If the circuit is still high and a filter does not correct the problem, you have an electrical problem and need to call an electrician.
Once you know your electrical wiring is good, if you still have circuits that you need filters on to get them into the safe range, they you can decide whether to buy individual Graham-Stetzer Filters to go in each problem circuit, or you can buy a whole house filter and have an electrician install it.
You can also decide which of the devices or appliances that you removed are worth reinstalling. You use the reading on the Graham-Stetzer Meter and your own tolerance for exposure to make that decision. In the below video I show you how to test each circuit in your home with the Graham-Stetzer Meter.
For information on the meter that allows you to measure the dirty electricity in your home please see our article entitled Graham Stetzer Microsurge Meter and Filters Review. Related Articles: “How “Electromagnetic Smog” Or “Dirty Electricity” Is Created” and “The 7 Worst Radiation Dangers In Your Home“.