Re: Flourescent lighting and dimmer swirtches
From: LK Dingeldein (
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 09:59:55 -0800 (PST)
I want to support the views expressed by Jenny Williams regarding going "green" 
and installing flourescent light bulbs. I add dimmer switches to this 
discussion as well as they are considered to be another green energy savings 
idea. THese lights and dimmers can cause health problems for some people. 
I have spent over a decade doing public policy advocacy on the health risks 
associated with electromagnetic fields, I feel strongly that the wholesale 
adaptation to flourescent lighting and dimmer switches by the green design and 
sustainability people needs deeper look. If we profess to be environmentalists, 
a healthy ecology needs to be considered as well.  Truly, these products offer 
a near term benefit. Our carbon "footprints" and energy costs are reduced by 
using these energy-saving technologies, However, the short and long term impact 
on human health and the environment needs to be considered as well. Among the 
major points I want to stress here are: Mercury from CFLs (compact flourescent 
lights could be released into the natural environment unless these bulbs are 
properly disposed of; school performance studies show that there are 
concentration and memory problems associated with use of flourescent lights in 
classrooms; many people complain of dry eyes, headaches and attentional 
deficits when working under these lights. These lights flicker and that flicker 
is picked up by the brain, even if one dos not perceive it consciously, causing 
health problems for some people; these lights hum and the sound is picked up by 
the brain, even if the ears cannot detect it. Some people find the "noise" 
intolerable; Some Waldorf schools I have visited string pastel colored gauze 
under these lights to soften the light effects and block the flicker; 
flourescent lights and dimmer switches put out a high intensity field in the 
microwave band. While these signals are relatively lower powered than say, your 
cell phone or a microwave oven, they are pervasive and can transmit 24/7, 
attaching to the electrical wiring in your home.  In short, these lights and 
dimmer switches create electro-pollution in your home. Ambient indoor air 
quality is affected. A growing number of people are experiencing chronic 
conditions that are immune system related and are environmentally caused or 
related (such as chronic fatique syndrome, fibromylagia, electrical 
sensitivity, multiple chemical sensitivity, etc.) When cleaning up the indoor 
environment, these people particularly need to take into account their chronic 
exposures to electrical and microwave sources. IN addition to the cell phones, 
cordless phones, microwave ovens and exposure to all sources into account.  
Clearly, a cleaner environment should not have flourescent lighting and dimmer 
switches (also cell phones, cordless phones, microwave ovens, electronic 
equipment, etc) especially where people sleep and children play. The late Dr. 
John Ott invented full spectrum lighting which offer another alternative to 
incandescent lights.  Of course, natural lighting (from the sun, moon and 
stars). Maybe we should think about letting the daily sun cycle to do 
productive work and save energy that way. not burning ourselves out 
turning night into day all the time. I am not going to go "luddite' over this 
but think about this - the electric light bulb was invented in 1800 but did not 
become a household product until Thomas Edison invented a bulb that used a 
carbon filament in 1879 that would allow it to burn up to 1500 hours. Can 
somoeone invent a non-carbon filament we change the filament?  in Sum, maybe it 
is time look at the human costs and benefits of that engineering feat others 
that followed (...the Wireless Age started 10 years ago)
I just sent a letter to Annie Bertold Bond about this issue as her latest issue 
of the Green Guide touts flourescent lights and dimmer switches for energy 
consersation reasons. Here is another point of view that might shape your 
consumer behavior and lifestyle choices. 

To a healthy planet,  

Libby Kelley, MHA
Public Health Advocate<><>

Libby Kelley Dingeldein
Milagro Community<>

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