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Energy-saving light bulbs can fry your skin: Study

July 20, 2012 (TSR) - Energy-saving light bulbs might be good for the environment but they can fry your skin, a new study claims.

Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York State examined the impact of the efficient compact fluorescent bulbs – or CFL bulbs – on human skin cells prompted by a similar study undertaken in Europe.

They discovered that healthy skin exposed to light from the environmentally-friendly globes – which use a quarter of the energy of ordinary bulbs to produce the same amount of light – experienced the same kind of damage that is found with ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Energy-saving: Compact fluorescent bulbs, like that pictured, might be good for the environment but they can fry your skin, a new study claims.

‘Despite their large energy savings, consumers should be careful when using compact fluorescent light bulbs,’ Stony Brook University Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Miriam Rafailovich said.

She warned families to be careful when handling or standing near to the lights. 

‘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,’ Ms Rafailovich said.

The scientists tested a number of CFL bulbs from across New York State to determine their UV emissions and the integrity of each bulb’s phosphor coatings.

Results revealed significant levels of UV, which appeared to originate from cracks in the phosphor coatings that were present in all CFL bulbs studied.

They also tested the impact on collagen-producing skin cells and the epidermal cell that generated keratin from the light.

Comparing skin cells exposed to the energy saving bulbs with those exposed to old-fashioned, energy-sucking incandescent light bulbs, they discovered that only the efficient light bulbs damaged skin.

Cells exposed to CFLs experienced the same trauma as sun burnt skin, they found.

The cells exhibited a decrease in the proliferation rate, a significant increase in the production of reactive oxygen species, and a decrease in their ability to contract collagen.

Ms Rafailovich said incandescent light of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells at all.

Source: Daily Mail

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