Fluorescent lights and headaches - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Fluorescent lights lead to headaches

If you're like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in front of the computer or at your desk -- and you probably end up with a few headaches by the end of the day. 

"I recently noticed that I was getting a lot of eye strain and 'brain strain' no matter how many breaks I took," says Wellness Expert Peggy Hall. "It was getting harder for me to concentrate when I was working in the evenings, and I kept getting these dull headaches. I finally asked my husband to install a new lamp so I could see more clearly and have more light -- and that's when the light bulb went on in my mind!"

Peggy didn't realize that her husband had replaced all of her office lights with the CFL (compact fluorescent lights) curly light bulbs. They were trying to be energy-efficient, but Peggy soon learned that the difference in the CFL compared to the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs could be contributing to her eye strain and headaches.

Even though the modern fluorescent bulbs have been improved over those buzzing, flickering, blue-tinged lights of some years ago, today's CFLs still emit a rapid-flickering light that is undetectable to the human eye, but it affects the brain and leads to eye strain, headaches and in some cases, seizures.

The spectrum of light in the CFL bulbs is created by an exchange of gases, which is different than an incandescent light bulb (which works by heating up a small filament inside the globe). The dimness of the light of a CFL is not the best choice when it comes to reading, studying or working.

Peggy ended up switching out all the light bulbs in her office back to the old-fashioned "Thomas Edison" incandescent light bulbs and immediately noticed a difference.

According to Peggy, you should only use the CFLs in places were you don't need to do concentrated mental work, like in the garage, basement or storage closet. But for your task lighting and reading lamps, Peggy says you really can't beat one of the greatest inventions of modern time, the good-old fashioned light bulb.

But stock up on them while you can as they may be phased out!

Another thing to consider is the environmental aspect of the CFLs, which are toxic if broken.

"If you do break a CFL, you can't just sweep it up and toss it into the trash," Peggy explains.  "You need to clear the room of children and pets, put on a mask, and dispose of the damaged light bulb into a hazardous waste facility. That's because the CFLs contain the highly toxic element mercury, and must be handled with utmost care."

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow