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Do Fluorescent Lights Actually Cause Health Problems?

fluorescent light bulb

Weandrsquo;ve all seen them and weandrsquo;ve likely all been somewhere that uses them: bright white fluorescent lights.

Fluorescent lighting has been a staple in buildings for decades. Itandrsquo;s easy to see why: these lights are bright, energy-efficient, inexpensive, and long-lasting – and they require very little maintenance and extremely infrequent bulb changes.

However, studies have been done to find out if these lights are actually safe for use or repeated long-term exposure.

In this blog, our skilled electricians discuss if fluorescent lights are bad and take a look at what the experts have to say about the impact of fluorescent lights on our health.

Are Fluorescent Lights Bad For You?

Exposure to fluorescent lighting for long periods of time can be bad for some people. It can cause dizziness, eye strain, and migraines, but it can do this only if youandrsquo;re exposed to a large amount of radiation in a short amount of time.

The Canadian study found that these bulbs donandrsquo;t put off nearly that required amount of radiation and ultimately concluded that as long as the bulb is at least a foot away while using it, you wonandrsquo;t experience any harmful effects. As for those long tubes that light up your office, the simple cylindrical shape makes them even more effective at containing this radiation, which means youandrsquo;re even less prone to exposure than you would be with a CFL bulb.

Do Fluorescent Bulbs Emit Dangerous Radiation?

Thereandrsquo;s a common rumor floating around that fluorescent lights expose us to dangerous radiation that can cause cancer. The foundation of this rumor came from a 2009 study conducted by Canadian scientists who found that a compact fluorescent bulb, (CFL), gives off ultraviolet rays. CFL bulbs are the type of fluorescent lights where the tube is bent into a sort of spiral shape, and it screws directly into your lamp or light socket as a regular lightbulb would.

What about Migraines?

In a study conducted by the Cincinnati Childrenandrsquo;s Hospital Medical Center, researchers noted that people who get frequent migraines are often “photophobic,” or more sensitive to light – and they may be more prone to suffering from a migraine as a result of exposure to fluorescent lights. This is particularly true because fluorescent lights flicker at an extremely high speed. As the bulbs start to go, this flickering becomes visible to the human eye and can trigger a migraine.

However, other research has indicated that the lighting alone isnandrsquo;t usually the sole cause of office or school migrainesandmdash;while it plays a role, it isnandrsquo;t helped by the fact that most of the time these areas are extremely poorly ventilated. The poor indoor air quality often also contributes to headaches, and in many cases is the actual trigger that sets off the migraine.

Fluorescent light filters are inexpensive and easy to install and can significantly lessen the impact of fluorescent lights on those who suffer from the headaches which they may cause.

Do Fluorescent Lights Impact Your Sleep Pattern?

Some people have claimed that working under fluorescent lights for eight hours a day disrupts their circadian rhythm to the point where they canandrsquo;t sleep properly.

There is a small bit of truth to these rumors: fluorescent lights emit shades of blue light which does disrupt the bodyandrsquo;s production of melatonin, a hormone on which we depend to help us sleep. However, this really only has an impact on your sleep cycle if youandrsquo;re exposed to it in great amounts in the hours leading up to bed time. Unless you spend eight hours under fluorescent lights and then go straight to bed after that, you wonandrsquo;t be impacted.

Further research has also suggested the oppositeandmdash;some people report that working under fluorescent lights makes their eyes feel tired and their entire body feel less alert than those who see sunlight during the day. In some cases, this actually can make it easier to fall asleep, regardless of the blue light exposure.

Do you need a light fixture repaired or want to replace your fluorescent lights with energy-saving LED technology? Call Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar at (408) 868-5500 to schedule an appointment today.

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