light bulbs, energy bill disability

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ephemera, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    this was on another site & I thought it should be shared as this impacts so many of us (me, too)

    Lights Out.for Traditional Bulbs

    Dear Friends,

    The new energy bill just being signed today as we speak has in it a provision that will phase out incandescent lights in favor of florescents over the next
    4 to 12 years. I have just become aware of the provision through a Dec. 17 article in USA Today article "It's Lights Out for Traditional Bulbs," by Paul Davidson.

    This provision is devastating to myself and others with photosensitive disabilities. I have a photosensitive complex partial seizure disorder triggered by the low flicker rate in florescents, strobe lighting, and
    unmodified computer monitors. There are several disability populations adversely affected by the flicker in these lights including lupus, ADHD, autism spectrum, epilepsy, and other autoimmune and brain injuries. Persons
    with deafness are also affected as the "dirty noise" of florescents may degrade infrared listening devices. To these patient populations, the mandatory florescent law would constitute of denial of access, with no alternative solution.

    If you feel so lead, will you contact by phone or email your disability advocacy groups, congressional epresentatives today (I deleted the web address to post to this site) and ask them to correct this discriminatory portion of the Energy bill? Denial of accessibility to all facilities, employment, restaurants and even their own homes to people with these disabilities is an unheard of encroachment of civil rights similar to the dark ages before the ADA was signed into law. There would be a huge public outcry if we passed a bill taking away curb cuts or other disability access to facilities. Here, under this misguided portion of the Energy Bill, incandescents will disappear leaving us no choice in our own homes. A medical exemption would probably not be a solution due to the profitability factor, and denial of access to government and other public utilities still remaining.

    I am having a terrible time now getting someone to hire me under my Vocational Rehabilitation, medically certified accommodation request for incandescent or natural alternative lighting. If incandescents are removed from the market, it will be sunlight or candlelight. There will be no practical work or leisure options if this portion of the bill is allowed to stand. How ironic that the good our environmental movement, of whom I have been a
    staunch supporter, seeks to do, is now on the verge of damaging persons with disabilities. They will also be harming the environment as much as the coal companies through the addition of untold amounts of mercury in these bulbs being as an energy solution.

    We would appreciate your request to your representatives that this portion of the bill be amended as a civil rights violation, depriving persons with these photosensitive disabilities from equal access under the law. It would be an easier solution to fix it in this manner than as a result of an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit.

    Thank you so much,

    Margaret Holt Baird, Esq

    [This Message was Edited on 12/20/2007]
  2. meditationlotus

    meditationlotus New Member

    I will contact my representatives. I agree with you.

    I care very much about Global Warming. I so very much love nature and want to make it well again. But, I can't stand fluorescent lights. I don't get a rash or a seizure, but the lights are too bright or something. They irritate my nervous system, and I feel like they are sucking the energy right out of my body.

    Surely, there is another way, so that we don't have to be sicker.

    Thanks for posting.

    P.S. I didn't realize that flourescent bulbs put out mercury into the environment. Wow. We have much to solve, and not much time to solve it.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/20/2007]
  3. HurtsToMove

    HurtsToMove New Member

    Compared to incandescent lamps of the same luminous flux, CFLs use less energy and have a longer rated life. In the United States, a CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp’s lifetime compared to an incandescent lamp and save 2000 times their own weight in greenhouse gases.

    A June 2007 article calculated that the overall mercury emission by compact fluorescent lamps is less than the mercury released into the atmosphere by coal-fired power generation for series of equivalent incandescent lamps over the same period.

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (when coal power is used) the mercury released from powering an incandescent lamp for five years exceeds the total of (a) the mercury released by powering a comparably luminous CFL for the same period and (b) the mercury contained in the lamp.
  4. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    I really react to lighting now that my CFS has become severe. I must have my incandescent lighting. Having that fazed out is scary to me. Looks like I'll have to contact my reps too.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/20/2007]
  5. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    Thanks, everyone.

    As someone who is really impacted by these new light bulbs, I've sent this notice to friends who both need to know about my problems before I try to enter their homes & also to educate them in terms of this public health issue.
  6. RainSpirit

    RainSpirit New Member

    They make me sick..I tell people that I can relate with Gladis Kravits from Bewitched when she would get a "sick headache" :(

    That's the only way that I can explain it.
    I also lose what little energy I have, and desperately need to lie down.

    They have effected me this way as far back as I can remember.

    LED's don't seem to be any better as far as I'm concerned.

    I can see having to get special permission to have an incandescent bulb in the future. Which I'm sure wouldn't be any easier then it is to get pain med's now.

    It seems as though we are more and more living in some horrible futuristic movie, where even the simplest of things are forbidden.

    Having to go to the black market and risk our freedom just to turn on the light :(


    [This Message was Edited on 12/22/2007]
  7. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    RainSpirit, you are so perceptive. I wonder about the issue of future prescriptions for non-fluorescent bulbs.

    Have you found any solar lights that are helpful? I have trouble in the neighborhood when the icy blue lights come on for solar walk lights. The amber & green lights aren't as bad on my eyes & don't produce migraines or dizzy spells.

    best thoughts to you
  8. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I don't get sickened by them, but the new bulb fluorescents aren't terribly great. I've unscrewed the long bulbs at my desk at work, although I've replaced some others with full-spectrum bulbs.

    The new bulb fluorescents are supposed to save money as well, because you can use them longer, but I've had MORE fluorescents go out on me than I've had incandescents blow. And the cost to replace -- ouch! So I'm still using up the incandescents.

    We replaced our Christmas tree lights with LEDs this years, but the 'white' is more like 'blue-purple', although I guess we could try 'gold' as a color. That might be warmer. Anyhow, the new bulbs are SO BRIGHT, that I can't even see the ornaments on the tree when they're lit -- there's too much glare.

    There are (expensive) LED bulbs for home use, but they really don't yet work to replace anything brighter than a small reading lamp. They're just not ready for all-over lighting.

    Strangely, there is one type of fluorescent replacement bulb that I'm okay with. I think it is a Sylvania. I saw some in a hotel bathroom. They don't come on at full strength, but start out sort of pink at first and gradually go white (I can't perceive any flickering with these like old fashioned fluorescents). I lucked into some (I've been trying all sorts of fluorescents to see if I like any), and I have them now in my bathroom. They're the only ones that don't bother me.
  9. tansy

    tansy New Member

    DUBLIN (AFP) - Ireland is to ban the sale of traditional light bulbs from next year and promote the use of low-energy CFL bulbs, environment minister John Gormley said Thursday.

    He said the switch will see Ireland lead the way in Europe -- just as it taken the lead with its ban on smoking in public places and its levy on plastic shopping bags.

    "The ultimate aim of this measure is to increase energy efficiency in Irish homes and businesses by facilitating a move to energy efficient light bulbs," said Gormley, who leads Ireland's Green Party.

    "Ultimately, it will lead to savings of more than 180 million euros (263 million dollars) a year for Irish consumers and reduce emissions in Ireland by 800,000 tonnes, or one percent of its total."

    The Greens are in government in Ireland for the first time as part of Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's coalition.

    Gormley said the Irish initiative echoed the European Commission's intention to propose an EU-wide approach on minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.

    Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has been pressing for a changeover, saying that it would mean greater savings per household -- given how Irish homes use more energy for lighting than anywhere else in the European Union.
  10. jole

    jole Member

    hearing on a tv report that they already know that florescent lights bother many people and are trying to decide what to do about it, but for the life of me I don't remember what else they said. I just remember being happy that they knew that much.

    Wish I had paid closer attention, not that it would have mattered....doubt I would have remembered what they said anyway. But they are aware that not everyone can use them safely.
  11. GigglePoet

    GigglePoet New Member

    I found finding your message interesting as my mother and I were just talking about this today. I was telling her how we had gotten a bunch of these new floresant lightbulbs and how they made me sick, not in the way you are discribing, but I have MCS and just to take these out of the packages made me very sick as they had such a strong strong odor. I put them up into the sockets and felt even worse. It wasn't long before I took these down and took them back to store. They made me ache all over. I then found out there was murcury in them. I thought, wow, I want to contribute to helping our enviroment but if this is what you have for us no thank you! They will have to make some changes for sure. I feel for you all that are having problems. Seems our world gets narrower and narrower........

  12. msbsgblue

    msbsgblue Member

    Better start stocking up on old type now.
  13. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    From NY TimesJanuary 10, 2008, alas it's mostly about designers, nothing on the health risks we face everyday.

    Any Other Bright Ideas?

    WHEN Lloyd Levine, a California assemblyman, proposed last year that his state become the first in the country to ban energy-wasting incandescent light bulbs, his position was met with outrage.

    Manufacturers balked at the idea of outlawing an entire technology. Libertarians objected to the idea of government dictating what kind of bulbs people could use in their homes. Even some environmentalists who supported switching to more efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs expressed reservations about requiring consumers to adopt products containing mercury, with no provisions for safe disposal.

    But perhaps the most ardent dissenters were those who feared compact fluorescents would turn their home into a place with all the charm and warmth of a gas station restroom.

    The uproar was such that the bill never made it to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. Meanwhile, with concern about global warming growing, other states took up the issue (and California eventually adopted new standards), moving legislators on the Senate and House energy committees to take up the lighting issue on the national level last spring.

    After more than eight months of intense deliberations between Congress and bulb manufacturers, environmental groups and other parties, a law that requires light bulbs to become more energy efficient became part of the energy bill that President Bush signed into law on Dec. 19.

    Over a three-year period beginning in 2012, all new bulbs will have to use 25 percent to 30 percent less energy for the same light output as today’s typical incandescent bulbs. Given that the vast majority of bulbs now on the market that meet those standards are compact fluorescents, which use 70 percent less energy and last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescents, Americans may have little choice but to accept them as part of the future.

    For every eager adopter, though, there are plenty of holdouts. “I want to use fluorescents,” said Kath Brandon, a health care recruiter in Denver. “I try to live as green as possible. I telecommute, I recycle, I try to group all my errands together so I don’t have to needlessly burn extra gas.”

    But in her experience, compact fluorescents make her house look “dark, cloudy and cavelike.” The bulbs do not emit a “warm, comforting, inviting feeling,” she said. “Your home is your sanctuary,” she said. “It’s where you live and recharge, and it nurtures you.”

    The people who design and sell lighting have not been as quick as legislators and environmentalists to embrace compact fluorescents, judging by the dearth of fixtures designed for compact fluorescents in showrooms.

    “Designers hate them, and I hate them, too,” said Mitchell Steinberg, the founder of Lee’s Studio, a Manhattan shop that specializes in designer light fixtures. “The beauty of a light bulb is that it gives a warmth. It goes back to fire. I believe people have an innate feeling for fire. We like the setting sun. We like warm color. And these bulbs, although they’re getting better, they’re still not nearly as nice as a regular incandescent bulb.”

    To many people, giving up incandescent lighting means relinquishing some intangible, beloved quality associated with home in favor of a ghastly institutional glow. And the sheer number of choices (not only of compact fluorescent bulbs but of incandescent bulbs that claim to be energy efficient, halogens and alternatives like light-emitting diodes and induction lights), along with the weird shapes of compact fluorescents and the confusing packaging information that generally comes with them, has done little to encourage exploration.

    For all the efforts of Wal-Mart to generate sales of compact fluorescents since late 2006, the bulbs still account for less than 20 percent of bulb sales.

    In an attempt to determine whether energy-efficient lighting is as awful as Mr. Steinberg and others believe it to be, or whether some energy-efficient bulbs might cast an appealing light on a bedside table or a living room wall, the House & Home section asked several manufacturers to provide samples of their products. The bulbs had to work in a screw-in base and be appropriate for indoor use, and manufacturers were asked to choose models they believed were closest in light and color to traditional incandescents.

    Once the bulbs were collected — 21, including 14 compact fluorescents — a panel of staff members at The Times was asked to judge the quality of the lights. Identical ceramic table lamps with plain white shades were placed at the ends of a long table, one with a traditional 60-watt incandescent bulb for comparison.

    THE first compact fluorescent tested, an n:vision Soft White manufactured by TCP for Home Depot, evoked a collective groan. Although some liked its brightness and whiteness and the way its outer shell hid the coil and made it look more like a traditional incandescent bulb, others dismissed it as harsh, comparing it to hospital lighting.

    Sylvania’s Bright White Designers Choice was even less popular. Panelists decried the color as sickly and gluelike As other compact fluorescents were tried, the complaints grew louder. G.E.’s Energy Smart Daylight 15-watt bulb looked “icky frigid blue.” Sylvania’s Micro-Mini evoked a rainy day. One tester said the MiniBulb from MaxLite “makes me queasy.”

    The judges were fascinated by the way the complexion of the editor who was changing the bulbs shifted, from tan and fit to rosy to pallid to alabaster. After seeing his face under Greenlite’s 13-watt Mini, a writer barked, “Dermabrasion, right away!”

    The slight buzzing emitted by many of the compact fluorescents, including G.E. Energy Smart bulbs, Sylvania’s Designers Choice, and TCP’s Spring Light/Soft White, irritated panelists, as did the time it took for some bulbs to light and the flickering that sometimes ensued once they did.

    There were a few particularly interesting products, like the futuristic-looking eBulb from American Lighting Industry (951-328-8184), which uses induction technology, an old form of lighting sometimes used in places that are hard to reach, like tunnel ceilings. The $50 bulb uses 80 percent less power than incandescents, its maker said, and is expected to last 50,000 hours, or five times longer than many compact fluorescents, largely because of its round magnet, which helps it recycle electricity. Panelists described its color as “channeling Jules Verne” and said its light looked “O.K. for a tattoo parlor.”

    Some judges were enthusiastic about a dimmable compact fluorescent, the G.E. Energy Smart Dimmable, given that such bulbs have, until recently, been hard to find. But rather than moving smoothly from dark to light, as incandescents and halogens do, it functioned more like a bulb with three settings: high, low and off.

    Another object of excitement was the Pharox bulb ( from Lemnis Lighting, which uses a light-emitting diode, or L.E.D. This technology, which works by illuminating a semiconductor chip, is more efficient than compact fluorescent lighting. But because L.E.D.’s emit directional rather than diffuse light, they are typically implanted in flat surfaces like walls or light panels.

    Lemnis is one of a few companies that have managed to apply the technology to a screw-in bulb, but the panel complained about how green its color looked, particularly against the skin. (A photographer, echoing criticisms from others, thought the bulb cast a glow that gave a person nearby an “embalmed look.”)

    Not all the bulbs were met with negativity. Panelists favored the light cast by halogen bulbs (including the Daylight Plus and the BT15 from Sylvania, and G.E.’s Edison 60), which last twice as long as incandescents, requiring less energy for the production and distribution of replacements, and are therefore more efficient.

    One halogen model, the Philips Halogena, was not only pleasing to the eye — “nice, soft, golden light” one panelist said — but efficient enough to meet the criteria of the new energy bill. Panelists also admired Sylvania’s eLogic incandescent bulb (describing it as “creamy, “cozy for reading” and “nice, even, warm light”), the lone incandescent to be included because it lasts 50 percent longer, measures 30 percent smaller and uses 5 percent less energy than a standard incandescent.

    Although most of the compact fluorescents were deemed unacceptable by the panel, there were several that were found to be not only acceptable but attractive. The n:vision TCP Home Soft White, for example, was deemed “a warm pleasant light.” The TCP Spring Light/Soft White was “almost warmer than incandescent,” one person said. And the MaxLite SpiraMax was generally liked, considered “pretty good” and “clean.”

    IN the course of testing one of the compact fluorescents, the white fabric lampshade was replaced with an opaque cardboard one. Instantly, the color of the light on the wall, the look of surrounding objects and the sharpness of their shadows were dramatically altered, in ways both pleasant and not.

    It was a reminder, as one panelist said, that a bulb’s light may be “no more important than how it’s cast around the room” — or, as another put it, that “you have to look at all the variables: it’s not a one-bulb-fits-all situation.”

    Indeed, the right way to think about lighting, according to designers and other lighting professionals, is to go beyond the quest for a bulb that uses the least energy and to make sure you are applying the right technology.

    “Lighting doesn’t mean anything if you don’t put the light where you need it,” said Paul W. Eusterbrock, president and owner of the American branch of Holtkötter, a high-design German lighting company. Warm-toned compact fluorescents may work fine for lighting a whole room, for example, but fluorescent light does not project the same way that halogen light does, so for reading, a single adjustable halogen light could be both the best and the most energy-efficient choice.

    Tom Dixon, the British furniture and lighting designer, and an advocate for compact fluorescents, agreed that context is all-important, and that the ways light is cast and fixtures are arranged need to be thought through. Deployed properly, he said, energy-efficient lights can make for a beautiful interior. “What you do in the modern world is mix light qualities anyway,” he said. “You can use C.F.L.’s for overall lighting, and then pick out a couple of objects with halogen spots, and do an L.E.D. wash on the wall.”

    He believes the main problem with compact fluorescents is simply a distaste for change. “I’m sure there were the same arguments when gas lighting replaced candles,” he said. “The light’s quality is very different, and it’s going to take people some time to adjust to that.”

    The adjustment may not be as hard as some fear. Manufacturers, who are continuing to pursue better light quality for compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes, are also racing to develop incandescents and halogens that will meet the new national standards. One day soon there may be a much wider range of energy-efficient bulbs to choose from.

    Meanwhile, another European designer, Richard Sapper, may be a useful test case for Mr. Dixon’s theory of adaptability. An older man — 75 to Mr. Dixon’s 48 — he describes himself as something of a lighting traditionalist, even if he did pioneer the home halogen lamp with his 1972 Tizio, and design an elegant L.E.D. fixture, the Halley, 33 years later.

    He has definite ideas about light in general — for example that “northern light on a day without sun is the only kind that renders color naturally” — and about fluorescent light in particular: “Another problem, besides its color,” he said, “is that it’s always diffuse, whereas incandescent light is coming from a point. And coming from a point it has somehow the quality of sun.”

    So it’s perhaps surprising that at his home in Milan, apart from a few halogens on the living room ceiling and several of his own fixtures scattered about the house, all the bulbs have long since been replaced with compact fluorescents. “My wife is very aware of environmental problems,” he explained, and “she doesn’t give me a choice.”

    He wasn’t enthusiastic at first. Even now, he said, “I prefer traditional incandescent light. But you get used to it.”

  14. uncmom59

    uncmom59 New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    Here is the latest educational information on CFLs, including a couple of the most recent studies on CFLs and disabilities; and latest outrage across Europe as the incandescent ban takes effect there.


    Additionally, there are approximately 30 years of studies on Critical Flicker Frequency. The optometrists I spoke with were taught this information in their training. is a good site to locate a neuro-optometrist if you have these problems.

    One incident of the flicker photosensitivity was in a patient with a large frontal lobe brain tumor. The problem disappeared when the tumor was removed.

    It appears by looking at all of the other research and anecdotal patient emails we've received -not posted here - that there are two groups of CFL sensitive patients - the ones with a neurological injury/dysfunction to the flicker rate (migraines, epilepsy, FMS, MCS, TBI, etc.) and those with dermal/autoimmune/medication responses to the UVA/UVB in the lighting (lupus, XP, etc.)

    Hope everyone is doing better.

    I am practicing avoidance. Physicians from Duke and UNC Low Vision have given me prescription lenses fitting close to the face with polarizing filter and anti-glare on both sides of each lens for short-term situations that can't be avoided. Eyes can be closed for transient light around the edges.

    DISCLAIMER: Information shared for educational purposes only, not as medical or legal advice.

    Margaret Holt Baird
  15. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    thanks for posting this, and I will look into contacting my reps about it.....however, honestly, I am confused as to what kind of lights I am even using. I know that there are several places where the lights make me sick & foggy (like the grocery store) and I think those are fluorescent lights, and I definitely know that the flickering lights bother me a lot

    ....and I know that certain lights work well in my apt and others don't, but the packages don't actually say what kind they are - just stuff like daylight or soft white

    ....I also know that the computer had been causing me big problems lately (visual disturbances, nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc) and I have read about using a blue sheet or something like that to help with probably going to order one, bc not being able to use the computer much is killing me - I don't have much else left I can do or many other sources of support.....anyway, i was wondering what you meant about modifying computers?

    btw, I have ME/CFS, FMS, MCS and have had a few serious head injuries and migraines, and I have totally screwed up circadian rhythms, so I am nearly always up more during the night and not much during the day - all of these issues could be impacted by this light thing in a huge way - this could seriously destroy what little life I have left (if I can't function with those lights and am made sick by them and at the same time am mostly only awake when lights need to be used, then I am seriously screwed....and so are many, many others)[This Message was Edited on 09/17/2009]
  16. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

  17. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    this is very important and could impact a lot of people in a very negative way
  18. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    This was posted on Co-Cure recently:


    I am forwarding information on the new disability-related CFL
    fluorescent lighting web site: I have been
    contacted by numerous persons with CFS/ME, MCS, FMS, GWI, TBI, etc. that
    are having adverse health reactions while in this lighting. Some may
    find the information that Jerry, I and others cross-disability have been
    gathering to be educational.

    It is up and running with videos, news stories, research and technical
    papers all in a user-friendly format, literally loaded with information.
    Many people with various disabilities and medical conditions will find
    this to be very helpful. CFS/Myalgic Encephalopathy and Fibromyalgia are

    TBI frontal lobe disabled engineer, Jerry Straub has collaborated on
    gathering CFL information from persons in the US, England, and Australia
    since Christmas before last. This was when the incandescent lighting ban
    was announced (Energy Act of 2007), and he and I spoke out of
    desperation of being left "in the dark". Jerry's presentation is loss of
    his ability to walk, which he regained after post-accident
    neuro-optometric rehabilitation. He falls when CFLs are present, risking
    reinjury of his previously broken back. My presentation in the lights is
    right and left temporal lobe complex partial epilepsy triggered after
    onset of CFS/ME/MCS/FMS, driven by the flicker rate in florescents,
    strobe lights, emergency vehicles, CRT computer monitors?with low
    refresh rates, etc. This website is Jerry's gift to the disability
    community. His news story is on the website.

    I believe that it is also a call to action. Persons whose disabilities
    are adversely affected by fluorescents are asked to contact their
    federal Congressional representatives,, local and
    national media, and support groups. You may provide the website link to
    information, and possibly a request for disability accommodation by
    amendment to the Energy Act ban on incandescent lighting. It would also
    be helpful to contact the ACCESS Board, who promulgate disability
    barrier regulations, to develop a specific lighting disability access
    guideline. None yet exists for this barrier to a large group of persons
    with photosensitive disabilities.

    It could also be helpful to send an email accommodation request to:
    * The Department of Justice, Civil Rights, Disability Rights Section to
    give them awareness regarding this potential ADA civil rights
    inaccessibility issue.
    * The Dept. of Energy
    * Energy Subcommittee
    * The EPA

    Jerry has a copy of EPA's lack of action to Senator Carl Levin's request
    on behalf of Jerry to address the disability barrier problem presented
    by CFLs. The research is on the site, along with 30 some years of
    research on Critical Flicker Frequency from brain trauma, ie. tumor,
    traumatic brain injury, and acquired brain injury. The latter, in my lay
    opinion, could conceivably fit the CFS/ME, neurotoxin, neuroimmune or
    neuroborreliosis models that present with symptoms of brain injury
    including autonomic nervous system dysfunction.

    Jerry's additional notes below:

    Jerry Straub email:
    Res:? 517-263-0760? Cell:? 231-881-1000

    N. B. Interesting to note that the E.P.A. was among the first visitors
    to the site and they have visited it numerous times.