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CFL's: Are they dangerous???

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ben7

Member
Also if these are supposed to be efficient and save energy I would be curious to evaluate how much energy is involved in fabricating these things compared to simple incandescent bulbs.
Just break it down into it's parts, how much of certain elements that each part needs, and then figure out how much energy is used to produce the specific amount of each element, then add it all up.
 

lilimike

Member
Just break it down into it's parts, how much of certain elements that each part needs, and then figure out how much energy is used to produce the specific amount of each element, then add it all up.

I think I would be wasting a lot of energy doing this, I think I will just remain curious on that one. :rolleyes:

Mike
 

Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
I know a couple of people sensitive to CFL's (as in ALL fluorescent lighting, not just 'energy savers'), given the varying distance one is to a bulb, I doubt its any electrical noise that does it... even though it appears some are extremely sensitive to it, you'll have to be pretty close to get any kind of significant noise. I suspect its either the light itself, causing headaches from eye strain, given the overly defuse nature of the emitted light, or the high frequency sound from the inductor/transformer inside them. Just because we can't 'hear' 30kHz at relatively low volume, doesn't mean to say we can't detect it :)

Some have even complained about UV output. I guess thats down to how much phosphorous they coat the inside of the glass with - some 'sunlight' bulbs use less phosphorous intentionally to allow some UV out, but god knows what the restrictions are, depending on the wavelength, can't be too good for the eyes.
 

ben7

Member
I used to have a cfl in my bedroom. When I would have it on for a while it would make my eyes hurt. But now I have a cool led light(costly:(, but lasts longer&saves$$$$$$:D), no headaches and no sore eyes!

I think the twisty ones have an un-even coating of phosphorous in the tube. You can see when it is lit up, the bottom of the tube is darker, where a bunch of phosphorous has collected. So, a good amount of UV might leak out!

Oh I'm not talking about the bottom-bottom of the tube by the filaments.
 
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ben7

Member
An old Commercial Electric CFL. See what I was talking about?(extra phosphorous build up)
 

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Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
Oh wow, see what you mean.... as geeky as it is, I would be interested in the UV output of that part of the bulb. My only experience with headaches from UV exposure is playing around with my 180mW UV laser diode. After a few minutes of shining it on things to make pretty colours, it feels like I've been punched in the temple. Roll on cheap LED bulbs!
 
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Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
heh, interesting links. I'm dubious about any website called 'ban<something>' - obviously biased :) Theres a lot of scare mongering about mercury, because yes, its dangerous - but so is CO2, and oxygen :) its just a question of amounts, exposure, and how long one is exposed for. Mercury vapour dissipates into the atmosphere pretty quickly, and one would need to crack open a few thousand CFL's in a poorly ventilated room for weeks for any serious effects. Also note, mercury amalgam fillings have been used for decades without an epidemic of poisoning (although, its an amalgam, pretty well bonded and inert). That said, theres plenty of websites about how 'evil' they are too.

It also occurs naturally, after all, its not a 'man made' substance. But I'll agree, it isn't exactly ideal to have thousands of these things around.

That second link should be bookmarked by every engineer. The whole website is full of useful information!
 

ben7

Member
Mercury vapour dissipates into the atmosphere pretty quickly, and one would need to crack open a few thousand CFL's in a poorly ventilated room for weeks for any serious effects.
I'm not very scared about the mercury in cfls, a thermometer has more mercury in it than a cfl. It is just that we need people to come and pick these up, or closer dropoff points.

He He, we have a electronics recycling day here, but only once a year. By the time it comes, we'd probably have forgotten about the burned out cfls we have:p
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
At the end of my life I will be dead anyway.:p

How I manage get to there is my business and no one else's to regulate, legislate, or over see in order to protect me from myself.;)
 

Birdman Adam

New Member
I think the safety in CFL's varies so much by brand that you can't just say 'CFL's are dangerous'.

I have never had a problem with the Megalight bulbs I get for free from a relative who works there. I must have like 50 in my house!

On the other hand, you get some poorly designed and made bulbs and you can have problems - Ask Audioguru. I remember him saying he got free bulbs from his energy company that melted and bursted into flames.
 

Blueteeth

Well-Known Member
At the end of my life I will be dead anyway.:p

How I manage get to there is my business and no one else's to regulate, legislate, or over see in order to protect me from myself.;)
Whilst I almost agree with that (I'm getting old now, and even more cynical), many regulations are in place to protect us from what we don't know about, or can't see. As well as protect the young, and the environment. I'm sure even the most educated engineers would be rather miffed if they were hospitalised with methyl isocyanate poisoning from shop brought fruit.

Granted its gone way to far in some cases, but I guess 'too much' is better than 'too little'. Its easy to forget just how well protected we are from harmful radiation/chemicals - leaving many on the web to complain about rather pointless things like living within 5 miles of an electrical pylon causing baldness.

Sorry to hijack the thread with my pompous opinion :D
 

Sceadwian

Banned
ben7, I'd love for you to find a scientific study based on modern CFL's that prove a link between modern CFLs and heacache. I'm flicker sensative an I have no problems with modern flourescent lighting with electronic ballasts. A few anecdotal testimonies from random people on the Internet is not science.
 

ben7

Member
I'm flicker sensative an I have no problems with modern flourescent lighting with electronic ballasts.
Huh, that is actually weird. Mabye it is the frequency that they use in the cfls that gives us headaches. Either that or there is too small of a filter cap inside, causing it to flicker a little.
 

ben7

Member
I'm going on vacation for a week. Talk to ya later.:)
 

cr0sh

Member
Huh, that is actually weird. Mabye it is the frequency that they use in the cfls that gives us headaches. Either that or there is too small of a filter cap inside, causing it to flicker a little.
By frequency, do you mean the frequency of the flicker, or frequency of sound? Some CFLs I have noticed do make "noise" that can be heard; its never bothered me, but I imagine for some it could. It is typically high pitched (likely a resonant frequency with whatever frequency the ballast is running at)...
 

cr0sh

Member
Well - those definitely look like a "fire hazard"! I wonder if anyone has ever thought about building a web-site to report such bulbs, their manufacturer, a way to upload pics, and where they bought them from? If not, someone should create such a site (myburnedoutcfl.com?). It would be a useful resource on which bulbs to avoid, and maybe allow an ability to spot trends...?

That CFL to LED lamp also looks interesting - I'll have to keep that in mind next time a CFL dies in my house...
 
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