With every passing day, electricity consumption is reaching new heights and so do the bills. But today’s customer is smart and purchase energy efficient appliances due to Effect of LED & CLF Bulbs, lightings and other electrical fittings to cut down the bills. There are two products which has revolutionized the way we lighten our homes and offices and these are compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED). These are considered as the next generation of lighting. LED has given tough competition to CFL with its no mercury content, superior quality lighting and less energy consumption features. There is one thing common between these two is that they are found to be harmful for human body. Let’s have an insight of these low energy light bulbs and find out how these can be risky to our health.
What are CFL and LED bulbs?
CFL and LED are energy efficient light bulbs used for lighting in the residential and commercial places. CFL or compact fluorescent lamp are mini version of large fluorescents and can be fitted into standard lamp socket and emit light similar to common incandescent bulb by consuming significantly less energy as compared to incandescent bulb.
LEDs are extremely energy efficient bulbs and used widely in various applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights, festival string lighting, traffic lights, car headlights and brake lights. It is clustered to use as battery powered flashlights and headlamps. Due its superior features and increasing popularity, its manufacturers have encased many LED bulbs (approx 180 bulbs) in a diffuser lens which help in spreading the light in wider beams and fix a standard base to this LED bulb so that it can be easily fit into common household lighting socket.
What are the benefits of CFL and LED?
Benefits of CFL lighting
- It is four times more efficient then incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer than that. It uses 50 – 80 percent less energy as compared to in candescent bulbs.
- Although the price of CFL is comparatively high than the conventional bulbs but its energy saving feature will certainly reduce your electricity bill and will save 570 kWh in its lifetime.
- Replacement of an incandescent bulb with a CFL can considerably reduce the emission of CO2, sulphur dioxide and high level nuclear waste which are generated during electricity production.
- CFL lights give warm and inviting light without any flickering or humming sound. Rare earth phosphorous is used for color and warmth in the new CFLs.
- It can be used anywhere such as table lamps, track lighting, ceiling fixtures and porch lights in place of incandescent light. Some of the CFL comes with a 3 way settings and also available with dimmer switch.
Benefits of LED lighting
- It has longer time span than CFL as it can last up to 10 times longer than CFL.
- It is more durable because it doesn’t have any filament. Its solid nature holds up well against jarring and bumping.
- It doesn’t get heated up and thus provide a cool but bright light unlike incandescent bulbs which gets hot and contribute to heat buildup.
- It doesn’t contain mercury which is the main component of CFL.
- It consumes 2 – 17 watt of electricity which makes it extremely energy efficient device.
- Although it is bit costly than the typical incandescent but its durable and long lasting feature worth the money you spend on it.
- Since it consumes very less energy therefore it is ideal for lighting in remote areas, appliances running on solar energy and portable generators.
How these can pose risk to our health?
First let’s talk about CFL which contains argon or mercury vapor within a spiral shaped tube instead of a glowing filament. When electricity is passed into the encased vapor, it gets heated up and produces ultraviolet light which then stimulates the fluorescent coating painted inside of the tube. This coating absorbs energy and thus emits light. Some of the rays are emitted in high levels by these lightings which can damage human eye and skin.
We all know that ultra violet rays are harmful for our skin but it is equally damaging to our eyes as well. Long term exposure to ultra violet light from CFLs can increase the risk of eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. These eye conditions are the major causes of blindness.
Skin damage effect of LED & CLF bulbs
CFL contains mercury as main component and it is less durable than LED means it can break down easily and inhalation of gaseous form of mercury can be very harmful to children. Although, a broken CFL bulb releases a tiny amount of mercury (0.04 – 0.7 milligram) but if it is left unattended for 24 hours then it can be harmful and any person who will come in contact with it will get affected.
Research states that the ultra violet radiation emitted from the CFL bulb is sufficient to cause the skin damage and the risk is higher if the bulb is less than a meter or so from the body which is very common in case of reading lamp.
Link to migraine
Flickering of CFL can cause headache, nausea, confusion and can even trigger migraine in some cases. Flickering lights can sometimes trigger epileptic fits in some cases.
Effect on internal organs
Red LEDs are made up of aluminum gallium, a toxic substance and chronic or acute toxicity of this substance can cause problem to internal organs like kidney, lungs and reproductive organs in animals. Studies have found that low intensity red LEDs have high content of lead and have cancerous as well as non cancerous potential. White LEDs have considerably low amount of lead but contains high amount of Nickel, another heavy metal that can cause allergic reaction.
Effect on environment
The copper content found in LEDs can become a threat to aquatic life if it gets accumulated in water bodies like river or lakes.
How to dispose CFL or LED?
This is advised to the householders to evacuate the room and leave it to ventilate for 15 minutes in case of any breakage of low energy bulb occurs. You should wear gloves while picking up the fragment and wiping the area. Put all the fragments in a plastic bag and seal it properly. Keep it away from the reach of children. Call your recycling center to check if they accept such material and in case they deny and you throw the broken bulb in trash then clean your hands properly.
You can also give the burned off low energy bulbs to your community household hazardous waste collection group so that they can hand them over to the facilities which can treat, recover or recycle them.