Environmentalists have pushed to abolish traditional incandescent light bulbs, in order to reduce the amount of electricity needed to light up our homes.
However, a small but vocal minority has insisted that the curlicue-shaped compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) pose a threat to human health.
Now, a group of scientists at Stony Brook University has proven that CFLs do emit ultraviolet (UV) light rays that can harm human skin cells.
Cracks in CFL coating
In the first part of their study, the researchers purchased CFLs from different stores in two different counties. Then they measured the invisible UV rays given off by the bulbs when lit.
The rays appeared to escape through tiny cracks in the white phosphor coating on the inside of each CFL bulb’s glass. The phosphor particles actually glow with visible light as a result of an electrochemical reaction inside the bulb.
The scientists noted that these cracks in the phosphor were present in all the CFLs they studied. They found significant levels of UV were emitted from the bulbs.