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Fluorescent Lights

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Fluorescent Lighting may be Harmful

Some of the alleged issues with flourescent lighting are described below.

Defending Yourself When You Cannot Escape Fluorescent Lighting

Here is how I defend against fluorescent lights if I am forced to spend any length of time under them. I make an effort to unscrew the tubes near me or, if I can get cooperation, I ask the maintenance people to remove them. I then bring my own halogen uplift lamp to the site to compensate for the removed fluroescents. From the point of view of adequate lighting that is not really necessary for computer work but it seems to make people nervous if there is a low-light area in an office environment. One CEO quipped, "Are you having a seance?". If I am absolutely forbidden to remove the tubes I tape lead sheeting to the annodes (ends) of the tubes. At least that blocks the electromagnetic pollution they emit (see below). As an added bonus of working under halogen and incandescent lamps rather than fluorescents, the smooth, flicker-free light facilitates improved concentration and reduces fatigue and eyestrain.

A rather subtle effect was described to me recently: fluorescent lights are designed to fluoresce in the green and blue color range. Apparently, that is the color range used by the eye to perceive brightness. The result is that while fluorescent llights appear to be bright they don't really offer much in the way of actual illumination. In other words, despite the glare and unpleasantness of fluorescent lights you are still effectively working in the dark.

Alleged Health Issues with Fluorescent Lighting
Here are a few suspected hazards of working under fluorescents.

The anodes (the ends of the tubes) of fluorescent lights emit electromagnetic pollution.A study as long ago as August 1982 described in the Lancet journal showed clearly that fluorescent lighting, rather than sunlight may be responsible for a majority of cases of melanoma. And that, ironically the melanoma producing effects of fluorescent lighting can only be reversed through exposure to sunlight with no sunscreen.

Moreover, Lita Lee, PhD, notes: "Mounting evidence indicates that many of them [sunscreens] contain carcinogens and that the rise of skin cancers parallels the increase in sunscreen usage. The only sunscreen I recommend is coconut oil, although, believe me, you cannot slather this oil on your skin and bake in the sun all day. Adding a little iodine to the coconut oil for the first week of summer gives added protection; however, do not use the iodine for more than a week, as continued use will inhibit your thyroid function. In my opinion, the only other safe (non-carcinogenic) sunscreen would be one containing titanium dioxide." Sunscreen and melanoma aside here are some other suspected problems arising from exposure to fluorescent lighting.

The following are adapted from various sources on the web:

Fluorescent lighting can cause:

  • headache
  • eyestrain
  • eye irritation
  • fatigue
  • difficulty in concentration
  • increased rate of ‘misjudgments’ and accidents
  • malaise
  • irritability can be caused by noise, glare and flicker from fluorescent lighting.
  • hyperactivity 

Hyperactivity has been linked to the flickering produced by fluorescent lighting. Microwave emissions from fluorescent lighting are also suspected of contributing to these behavioral disorders. Other mild behavioral disorders in children may be made worse by working at school under fluorescent lighting.

There is also evidence that the following effects may be caused by exposure to fluorescent lights:

  • Increased risk of seizure in epilepsy sufferers
  • Higher incidence of miscarriage
  • Speeding up the aging of the retina. (That one sounds particularly bad)
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It will benefit your beauty to avoid fluorescents where possible.

Beauty: 

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