CFL “Curly Bulbs”, Lupus, Behaviour Disorders, and more…

So I’ve got a house full of CFL bulbs. There are a few places where I don’t use them (mostly on dimmers) but if possible, I put one in. I’d rather the government let US make the choices we like and NOT mandate them, but that has not prevented my being an ‘early adopter’ and using them widely. (And when I say ‘early adopter’, I mean ‘way early’. I was using CFLs back when you had to special order them and use special adapters to add an outboard magnetic ballast to fixtures to make them work… circa the 1980s).

OK, I’ve ranted about the mandate and made a list of all the ways they are NOT the right bulb in some places. But… What if there were more widespread “issues” with them? Things that made school kids sick and set off Lupus sufferers?

Welcome to Canada:

In this video, a Lupus sufferer is shown to have a dramatic skin reaction to the bulb. It is asserted that this is from UV leakage.

Then we have the notion of ‘Dirty Electricity’. As near as I can tell, a tendency to put Radio Frequency Interference or RFI onto the household wiring. The assertion is that this can cause things from headaches to feeling sick.

It includes a neurologist saying that his migraine was triggered by a CFL. So makes me wonder if it’s time to wear a tin foil hat RFI shield… Or maybe I’ll just put a bunch of capacitors on the circuits… Then again, I have to wonder what that Wirless Router is doing to the local RF fields. And the airport radar just a couple of miles away. And the cell phone. And..

Here is Part 3 about Health Canada and what they are going to ‘do about it’. (I suggest buying a stock of light bulbs in the USA :-) At about 7 minutes in it turns into previews of coming stories…

CBS has discovered that the CFL has mercury in them and “that’s bad”…

But the Fox News 1/2 Hour News Hour does a better job of it:

But at least it’s not a paranoid rant about Brain Eating Vaccines…

Don’t know who the guy with the beard is at about 11 minutes in, but supposedly his demonic… Agenda 21 material.

Don’t know if I ought to laugh or cry. But maybe I’ll change out my CFLs for a week first.

In Conclusion

This post is courtesy of a side trip I was sent down via the recommendation from Scarlet Pumpernickel that I take a look at this link which claims that CFLs are killing us. It includes an assertion that Diabetic blood sugar can be ramped up via ‘dirty electricity’ and that it can cause behaviour disorders and asthma…

So, is it time to break out the candles and put in skylights?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to CFL “Curly Bulbs”, Lupus, Behaviour Disorders, and more…

  1. DocMartyn says:

    Actually Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real condition that causes all sorts of mental problems in different people. Light therapy is recommended as a first-line treatment for SAD and it works very well, but the light must have a ‘solar’ spectrum.

    Don’t knock it Chiefio.

  2. P.G. Sharrow says:

    15 years ago I started installing CFLs to limit our power usage in areas that needed some light at all times for safety. I also found them to be good for plant growing in low sun light times of the year. The cheapest seem to be the best “grow” lights. Still they are a hazardous waste problem and may trigger migraine. I hope at some time soon LEDs will become an affordable option. I may need to go to a low voltage lighting system to get rid of the crappy power supplies that seem to go with them, or maybe invent one. ;-) pg

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    I didn’t knock SAD or light therapy. Please show where I said anything against it. In fact, I’ve stated before and was tempted to put in this posting (but left out as a ‘distraction’ of sorts) that my spouse HAS mild SAD and we’ve ‘cured’ it with a ‘lizard lamp’. A CFL that is, by design, an emitter of UV (as lizards need it or they die…). Every day my spouse spends about 15 minutes under her Lizard Lamp during winter. Makes her Vit D level ‘proper’. For some ill defined reason, oral D doesn’t cut it. Not the same kind…

    Also, please note the ‘tag’ on this posting. “Humor”… I start at a mild CFL “issues’ level and slowly escalate to the Agenda 21 video… You get to pick where you think things have gone around the bend…

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    I’ve got 3 LED bulbs in use and one DOA at $15…

    My major complaint is just the directional nature of the light. Limits where I can use them. The price is the second issue. Final point is that the power supply is very hot and limits fixtures you can use (must have open air access). So no recessed cans where the directional light would work best… They really need to find a way to design a nearly uniform light field and make more efficient power supplies. I really don’t understand how an 8 Watt bulb can get hot with a fairly large finned radiator, but they do. Maybe because they use a plastic heat sink (no, honest, they do! Aluminum is apparently cheap enough for beer cans, but not for the heat sink on a $20 light bulb…)

    At any rate, I like the light quality, but not the physical limitations of light direction and heat limits…

    That, and a $20 price tag vs 19 Cents for an incandescent bulb in bulk…

  4. George says:

    The “dirtiest” of all is lightning. It emits energy from dc to daylight. The sun emits constant radio noise, too.

    I can possibly buy the UV light irritating people with autoimmune disorders. I can’t buy the “dirty electricity” bit.

  5. P.G. Sharrow says:

    My experience with power supplies is that they control dc voltage by burying the excess in a power sink. very wasteful and hot.
    This makes me think of a circuit I invented that created useful dc from a single wire that had low voltage ac on it.
    Might be a good winter project. ;-) pg

  6. Ralph B says:

    Funny you mention skylights…I recently purchased a house in FL and it has several skylights in it. I never thought about them before and didn’t give them a thought when purchasing. Now that we have them we love them. Being from New England where winters preclude skylights because of the energy drain I am probably more enthusiastic than a regular southerner. Our master bathroom kitchen, and den all have them and I really get a “lift” walking in those rooms.
    CFL’s I just don’t like and will happily pay a larger electric bill to use only incandescent’s. Coming home at night to that warm yellowish glow feels better and more inviting. At night on the lanai, yellow again is ahh so much more “homey”

  7. dearieme says:

    We were given three free CFLs on some sort of efficiency drive in the late 80s or early 90s. I installed two on the only domestic duties where their ugly light was tolerable, and kept the third as a spare. It’s still a spare. Otherwise we have built up a handy stock of incandescent bulbs to defeat the electro-fascist EU/UK governments, and have experimented with LEDs. We also have a couple of the anti-SAD lamps – highly recommended for anyone living north of 50N who gets the winter glooms.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    Gotto change to LEDs !! :-) Those are better, they contain arsenic instead…and, at least, it is sweet..

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    It especially makes no sense to use CFLs in the UK where you basically always need the ‘waste’ heat of an incandescent bulb. CFLs just move the power used from your lighting bill to your heating bill.

    I just did our ‘seasonal changeover’ from CFL to incandescents. As we don’t use air conditioning, I go for ‘least heat made’ during warm months. In the winter the ‘hot bulbs’ keep the central heat from turning on quite so often ( it isn’t as quiet as I’d like ;-)

    I put one of the LED bulbs in the garage (where waste heat does get wasted) as the CFL there took forever to warm up from ‘near frozen’) and where the directional light is a feature. It will stay there until spring, then come back inside the house… cutting heat load.

    It is so sad to see a CFL dimly glowing for several minutes trying desperately to get out of the ‘too frozen to make mercury vapor’ stage. Yeah, eventually they do. And yeah, some bulbs are much better than others at it. But when you just want to hit the light for 20 seconds to grab something from the ice locker of the garage… well, standing around for a few minutes is not a feature… At any rate, we have ‘fast bulbs’ for winter use in the garage… and the slow CFLs go elsewhere then.

    I have a stash of incandescent bulbs that ought to last the next couple of decades, but if you want to stretch them even further (like 3 x up to 10 x ) put them on dimmers. I’ve started putting in 150 W incandescents on my dimmers (that were originally 100 W ) as my typical settings down in the 75 W usage range means they will last roughly forever ;-0

    Life extension is roughly exponential with power reduction, and a dimmer reduces the ‘inrush current’ when cold too. The end result is a very long bulb life (and nice esthetics of controllable intensity). Where an undimmed bulb would run about 6 months, the ones on dimmers were lasting about 3 years. By raising the Wattage nominal, that ought to run out to about 15 years… It doesn’t hurt that 150 W “utility” bulbs are still available (Calif has banned the 100W) on the thesis that large power utility bulbs are for companies, not homes, and ‘special’ fixtures / uses… so, call it a feature and away we go…)

    I figure that, alone, will mean about 10 years before I actually start using my stash of 100 W bulbs ;-) Maybe I’ll hand them out as special gifts to less prepared friends ‘when the time comes’…

    Ah, well… most of the time the room is lit by the TV or computer screen anyway…

  10. Richard Ilfeld says:

    See the Current Bishop Hill for the Matt Ridley lecture on science vs. PseudoScience. Brief, well worth the read, and directly on ponit for this piece by EM.

  11. Richard Ilfeld says:

    Sorry, On Point. I have 17 home fixtures on dimmers & a lifetime supply of incandescents. I’ll let the early adopters suffer, then go LED when they are ready

  12. Power Grab says:

    What do you consider a “lifetime supply” of incandescents?

  13. dearieme says:

    “It especially makes no sense to use CFLs in the UK where you basically always need the ‘waste’ heat of an incandescent bulb.” Yeah, our identified duties are outside. But we really don’t want the heat from incandescent bulbs in the house in high summer- it can be a hot and sticky time. On the other hand, we do get long hours of daylight.

    We have a couple of dimmer switches. I’m not inclined to install more since I rather like the appearance of some of our 1920s switch sets.

  14. Kevin B says:

    In one of those weird coincidences, since I suffer from winter vitamin-D issues, I’ve just bought myself a UV light, and one of the contraindications to use mentioned is Lupus.

    I don’t know whether CFLs put out enough UV to cause problems to Lupus sufferers, but it appears they might.

    Another contraindication for UV is hperthyroidism but since I suffer from hypothyroidism I should be ok. I do take Cod Liver oil capsules, but they don’t do the trick like sunshine does so I’m hoping the UV light will.

    The endocrine system is perhaps less well studied than it might be these days where diet, nutrition and exercise are the fashionable fields, so the relationship between Vit-D, calcium, magnesium etc. and the various hormonal systems that control so many of the functions of our bodies is not much thought of. However, when it goes wrong, (as everything does when you get a bit older), it causes a lot of problems.

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    The difference in consumption is too big to discard these bulbs: One incandescent bulb of 100 watts is equivalent to one “curly” of just 21 watts…and these “curly bulbs” were invented by Nikola Tesla.
    Incandescents bulbs are hard to find now in my country, these will become a kind of high priced “antiques”.

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Kevin….and worse if you consider that bigger “bulb” above: The Sun. Have you wonder why we humans do not live much more than a Gleissberg cycle?
    It seems we can not withstand more than eight solar minima.
    I am old too so….we have to pack our stuff before leaving :-)

  17. Richard Ilfeld says:

    @PowerGrab – 1 per 2 yrs per fixture based on actuarial tables …
    thus fewer than I’d wish for but age is a fact of life.

  18. E.M.Smith says:

    @Power Grab:

    About 10 years for me. When / if I get to the last 3 years worth, I’ll go with ‘deep dimming’ to extend as needed and /or make my own. (It’s not that hard…)

    For now I’m also doing ‘inventory lifetime extension’ via buying more as they are needed (not hitting the inventory as long as the store has some) and moving to the larger still available ‘utility’ bulbs. Oh, and “industrial rough use” bulbs are still available and they are often designed for 20,000 hour lifetimes (if a bit yellow)…

    In short “10 years after current work arrounds run out in about 5 years”. It all fits in one dresser in the spare room. Realize that about 2/3 of my fixtures use some kind of LED or CFL bulb and the incandescents are largely on dimmers for extended life, so it’s not like I need to replace them every 750 hours of use…

    Oh, and ‘3 way lamp bulbs’ are still available. I run a couple in 3 way lamps, largely on ‘low’, so when that 50 Watt burns out, the 100W (of the 50-100-150 3 way) is still a working bulb. Basically, you can manufacture 100W bulbs out of 3 way bulbs if you run them mostly on ‘low’. That’s a nice inventory extender too.

  19. dearieme says:

    @Kevin B: this blog might interest you.

  20. TIM CLARK says:

    I’ve used a “sunlamp” since college. Some holistic quack said I had recurrent problems with fungal infections because I couldn’t metabolize D2 from milk.

    He was right.

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