Toxic vapors and electrosmog from energy saving lamps
According to research by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), energy-saving lamps are supposed to remove harmful vapors when in use. The lamps separate, for example, the substance phenol, which is suspected of causing cancer. Critics are now confirmed by the results of the NDR. By the end of these years, all old light bulbs should be replaced by energy-saving lamps. However, the Federal Environment Agency warns of premature "hysteria" and sees hardly any health risks for consumers. The lamps emit the substance phenol, which is suspected of causing cancer.
Energy saving lamps massively reduce CO2 emissions. Energy saving should start with energy saving lamps. A key advantage over conventional light bulbs is the general light output. Because an energy-saving lamp can convert around 25 percent of the electric current into light. With conventional incandescent lamps, just five percent of the electricity is converted into light. The rest of the electricity is given off as heat. The use of energy-saving lamps can greatly reduce CO2 emissions. All of this sounds very good at first, in order to prepare for the upcoming nuclear energy phase-out. However, according to research by the NDR, the energy-saving lamps emit quite a few harmful vapors in use. This has resulted in analyzes carried out on behalf of the broadcaster. The focus of the criticism is above all the chemical substance phenol, which is suspected of promoting cancer.
Energy-saving lamps separate pollutants The NDR had a selection of different energy-saving lamps examined in a legally certified laboratory. During the investigations, the testers were able to identify a whole series of "toxic substances", as the transmitter announced. It is particularly worrying that the tested lamps emit chemical substances in the form of vapors to the surrounding environment, as the broadcaster quoted an expert and expert on indoor pollutants. A lamp producer had already responded to the reports and announced that it would "trace back the way in which the substances mentioned were introduced," as the NDR reported. The measured substances could also be produced by adhesives or individual components of the products. These are now being examined in more detail in order to eliminate the harmful separations.
Environment Agency warns of hysteria: "Verifiable values are very low" In the Federal Environment Agency, the NDR report is viewed rather critically. One should "not overestimate the results", as a spokesman told the press on Monday. Although it cannot be ruled out that pollutants actually escape "where a carcinogenic potential cannot be excluded", the concentrations are relatively low. One does not want to deny, however, that the harmful substances phenol, naphthalene and styrene can escape from the lamps during use. In addition, so-called aromatics can be detected, which can lead to irritation of the mucous membrane and irritation of the conjunctiva. However, according to the Federal Environment Agency, the outflowing values are so low that it can be assumed that there are "no health risks". Accordingly, consumers would not have to fear "health consequences" when using the lamps. In addition, the experts only used new brands and let them burn for three days in a specially designed chamber. That the lamps actually emit toxic gases was "to be expected", as a spokesman for the authority said. Under normal conditions in the living space, the outflows are very low and therefore "negligible".
High concentration of mercury Since September 2009, conventional light bulbs have been replaced by energy-efficient lamps throughout the European Union (EU). By the beginning of 2012, all old light bulbs should disappear from the market. In Germany it has become almost impossible to buy old lamps. Only a few specialty stores have hoarded supplies for customers. This is not the first time that experts have criticized energy-saving lamps. In addition to harmful emissions, the lamps also contain high concentrations of mercury. However, mercury can only have health consequences for people if the bulb breaks and chemical gases escape. In such a case, the defective lamps must be disposed of immediately, the hands washed thoroughly and all rooms flooded with fresh air.
Electrosmog through energy-efficient lamps In February this year, an ARD magazine reported on tests in which considerable electrosmog was measured in new energy-saving lamps. The lamps would cause 20 times more smog than, for example, limit values for PC monitors. According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the saving lamps send at up to 60 kilohertz. That roughly corresponds to the frequency of a cordless telephone. Since not only one lamp burns in an apartment, the load can quickly increase. In the opinion of the Bavarian Environment Agency, "an impairment of health" is nevertheless not to be expected. In individual studies, no exceedances were found, as it was said.
However, the negative reports will give the critics enough food to campaign against energy-efficient lamps. The fact remains that despite the ecological benefit, health risks from electrosmog and poisonous vapors must be excluded. Manufacturers will have to work harder on this in the future. (sb)
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