Fluorescent Lights Hazards – Why LED Lights Are the Superior Option

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) together with far more conventional fluorescent lamps are now becoming aggressively marketed as environmentally welcoming due to their decreased electrical energy consumption. Indeed, popular substitution of incandescent bulbs with CFLs will considerably decrease electrical energy demand even so, there are security difficulties that in the end contribute to creating LED lighting the top-quality choice. Comprehension fluorescent lighting hazards can help guarantee that fluorescent light bulbs are made use of and disposed of securely when outlining why LED lighting is the safest and most eco-welcoming lighting choice in the very long run.


The most normally cited fluorescent lighting hazard is mercury. Fluorescent and CFL bulbs contain a tiny total of mercury and are discovered with the elemental image Hg. When these bulbs are cold, some of the mercury in the lamp is in liquid variety, but when the lamp is working or when the lamp is hot, most of the mercury is in a gaseous or vapor variety.

Mercury vapor is exceptionally toxic. Even in liquid variety, call with mercury is viewed as daily life-threatening or a “significant” threat to wellness. Even quite tiny doses of mercury can trigger significant respiratory tract harm, mind harm, kidney harm, central anxious process harm, and many other serious health-related circumstances.

CFLs typical less than four milligrams of mercury, about the total that would address the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, more mature thermometers contain about 500 milligrams, an total equivalent to the mercury in 125 or far more CFLs. While the total of mercury in each individual fluorescent lamp is tiny, it is always vital to stay clear of breaking fluorescent lamps, and made use of bulbs need to be shipped to a hazardous waste handler. Never ever position fluorescent lamps in trash compactors or incinerators, considering that this will release the mercury and contaminate the bordering area.

Disposed of improperly, mercury can contaminate buildings, landfills, lakes, animals, fish, birds, humans, crops and rivers. In the US, the EPA has requested waste handlers to deal with fluorescent lamps as hazardous waste. With these types of a classification, fluorescent lamps are not to be sent to landfills, but in its place are to be sent to recycling centers that crack the lamps under specific circumstances and securely recuperate the mercury. Up to 95 % of the mercury contained in CFLs can be recovered if the bulbs are recycled correctly.

Mercury-containing lamps produced by households and tiny firms are not always topic to legal limitations with regards to their disposal. Point out legislation fluctuate and some states, these types of as California, Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont and Massachusetts, prohibit all mercury-containing lamps, which include CFLs, from becoming discarded in the stable waste stream. In addition, many local ordinances involve recycling of mercury-containing goods, which include lighting. It is best to check out with your municipality to understand irrespective of whether there are local prerequisites addressing mercury-containing waste disposal.

Since mercury will be introduced if a fluorescent lamp is broken, it is vital to put in fixtures in locations where the lamps are not most likely to be broken. Fixtures in locations near to the ground or in locations with moving devices should use steel or plastic shields to protect the lamp from becoming broken. If a fluorescent lamp breaks, there are quite a few security and cleanup difficulties which we explore in far more detail in the subsequent part.


Fluorescent lamps produce a number of hazards if broken. Depending on the form, there may possibly be a partial vacuum or the lamp may possibly be under stress. Breaking the glass can trigger shrapnel accidents, together with the release of mercury and other hazardous compounds.

The biggest instant harm threat from a broken lamp is from the phosphor-coated glass. If cut with fluorescent lamp glass, any phosphor that will get into the wound is most likely to stop blood clotting and will interfere with therapeutic. This kind of accidents should be treated seriously and instant health-related interest should be acquired for folks or pets that are cut. Professional medical personnel should be informed that the accidents had been induced by a broken fluorescent lamp, and that mercury was present.

To lower exposure to mercury vapor, EPA and other gurus recommend a few safeguards. Small children and pets should continue to be absent from the area, and windows should be opened for at minimum 15 minutes so that vapors may possibly disperse. Cleanup can be performed by hand making use of disposable materials. Use rubber disposable gloves and scoop up the materials with stiff paper or cardboard. Use sticky tape to select up tiny pieces and powder, clear the area with a damp paper towel, and dispose of the materials in an outside trash can. Never ever use a vacuum because this will only disperse the mercury vapor and go away particles trapped inside of the cleaner bag.


Never ever use a CFL with a dimmer in the circuit (unless of course it is exclusively made to perform with dimmers), even if the dimmer is established at the greatest environment. Carrying out so locations you at threat of fireplace and at the quite minimum will dramatically shorten the daily life of the lamp and the dimmer. Also most photocells, movement sensors and electric powered timers are not developed to perform with a CFL. Verify with the manufacturer for the use of a CFL for these kinds of fixtures.

To use a CFL on a dimmer change, you need to get a bulb that is exclusively made to perform with dimmers (check out the package). GE helps make a dimming compact fluorescent light bulb (known as the Vitality Intelligent Dimming Spirals®) that is specially developed for use with dimming switches. I really don’t recommend making use of regular compact fluorescent bulbs with dimming switches, considering that this can shorten bulb daily life. Applying a regular compact fluorescent bulb with a dimmer will also nullify the bulb’s warranty.

Ultimately, if a CFL bulb “buzzing” when it is installed in a fixture that is managed by a dimmer change, this is an sign that you have the improper form of CFL bulb installed.


Any fluorescent fixture that makes use of lamps lengthier than 24″ or that is made use of outdoor or in a damp, wet, or higher-humidity area need to have an electrical ground for the fixture and ballast. All quick-start out and instant-start out fluorescent fixtures need to have an electrical ground in purchase to function correctly. Fixtures with lengthier lamps function at bigger voltages, with some fixtures obtaining beginning voltages throughout the lamp as higher as 950 VAC. Voltages at this stage stand for a powerful shock hazard and improperly grounded fixtures or direct call with electrical connectors or other wiring can result in significant harm or death.

When servicing fluorescent fixtures and lamps, electrical energy to the complete fixture should be disconnected. This is not always practical in circumstances where a substantial amount of fixtures are managed from the very same energy handle (these types of as in open up place of work locations). In these conditions, insulating gloves and a nonmetallic ladder should be made use of if the fixtures need to be serviced when energy is present. This tips also applies when retrofitting a fluorescent fixture to mount LED tube lights.

Short-Wave Ultraviolet Mild

A very long-time period hazard from fluorescent lighting is the shorter-wave ultraviolet (UV) light that escapes the lamp. No subject how very well crafted, some limited-wave ultraviolet light escapes from each fluorescent lamp made. Short-wave UV light is 1 of the detrimental elements of the suns rays that get to the surface area of the Earth, which can immediately harm organic and natural tissue and set off cancers. Short-wave UV light can also age or harm paper, fabrics and other materials.

Commonly, fixtures with a plastic lens leak the smallest total of UV light, mainly because most of the ultraviolet light will get absorbed in the plastic lens. Fluorescent lighting in museums, archival libraries and manufacturing “clear place” locations ordinarily have UV-absorbing sheeting applied to the lamps or the fixture lens to do away with all UV light. LED bulbs do not make any UV light.

Flicker and Glare

Flicker and glare from fluorescent lights can also trigger problems and have been discovered to effect mastering and means to focus. While humans simply cannot see fluorescent lights flicker, the sensory process in some people can somehow detect the flicker. At any time considering that fluorescent lighting was released in workplaces, there have been complaints about problems, eye pressure and standard eye pain. These complaints have been involved with the light flicker from fluorescent lights. When in contrast to regular fluorescent lights with magnetic ballasts, the use of higher frequency electronic ballasts fluorescent lights resulted in far more than a 50% fall in complaints of eye pressure and problems. There tended to be less complaints of problems among personnel on bigger floors in contrast to people closer to ground stage that is, personnel exposed to far more purely natural light expert less wellness effects.

Lengthy-time period clinical research that conclude fluorescent lighting in educational facilities may possibly be linked to many educational and wellness complications. A 2006 study discovered that students in educational facilities with purely natural light in its place of fluorescent lighting had a ten% to 21% bigger mastering fee and bigger examination scores. Fluorescent lighting may possibly set off problems, migraines and other physical indications. Quite a few children have been mislabeled with mastering disabilities, Insert/ADHD, reading complications and dyslexia all because of students obtaining to perform under fluorescent lights. With neat-white fluorescent lighting, some students demonstrated hyperactivity, tiredness, irritability, and interest deficits.

Lamps working on alternating recent (AC) electric powered units make light flickering at a frequency of one hundred twenty Hertz (Hz, cycles for every second), two times the energy line frequency of 60 Hz (50 Hz in many countries outside North The us). Fundamentally, the energy is turning on and off one hundred twenty instances a second (really the voltage differs from +one hundred twenty volts to -one hundred twenty volts, 60 instances or cycles a second and is at zero volts two times in 1 cycle). Folks simply cannot detect the flicker in fluorescent lights that have a flicker fee of one hundred twenty cycles for every second (or one hundred twenty Hz).

Flicker is ordinarily a potential problem only with lighting that involve the use of ballasts, like fluorescent lights. Incandescent lights ordinarily do not trigger a flicker problem considering that the light filaments usually do not neat rapidly adequate (and make the light dimmer) throughout the “off” time as the voltage improvements in the AC energy line. New, energy-efficient electronic ballasts get the 60 Hz energy and change it to voltages at a considerably bigger frequency. The resulting flicker frequency is so higher that the human eye simply cannot detect any fluctuation in the light intensity – essentially flicker-absolutely free. An included reward is that electronic ballasts make less hum than that emitted by other sorts of ballasts.

Companies and regulators have taken actions to do away with this problem with LED lights. In the US, the new Vitality Star requirements for built-in LED substitution lamps incorporate a necessity for a hundred and fifty Hz procedure (now becoming challenged by brands who cite research that one hundred twenty Hz is ample). The majority of very low-frequency AC LED units already function in the rectified manner, which successfully doubles the luminous modulation frequency to 120Hz for 60Hz mains in the US. Regardless of many makes an attempt, laboratory investigations have not discovered statistically important evidence of luminous modulation with frequencies above 100Hz on human general performance, wellness, or comfort.

For practical tips about LED lights, which include all the things you at any time required to know about LED tube lights, be sure to go to ledtubelights.org and for goal evaluations of LED lighting goods, be sure to go to LED Mild Opinions.