October 13, 2008
A meeting of EU energy ministers decided last week to go ahead with the ban of traditional light bulbs which, from 2010, should be replaced with “efficient” fluorescent lamps. The switchover will affect all of the European Union’s 500 million citizens.
According to The Telegraph, this measure alone “will reduce domestic energy consumption for lighting by 60 per cent in the EU, equivalent to saving 30 million tons of CO2 pollution every year.”
“There have been concerns low energy bulbs can cause headaches, rashes and even sunburn. If the bulbs break the toxic mercury inside can cause migraine and dizziness.”
Leaving alone the fact that mercury can cause much more than just “migraine and dizziness,” the EU ministers seem to have completely ignored the medical studies showing a strong link between long-term exposure to fluorescent lighting and melanoma.
To those who don’t know what it is, melanoma is a malignant tumor (a type of skin cancer) which accounts for 75 percent of all deaths associated with skin cancer.
Australian biochemist, medical researcher and natural therapist Dr. Walter Last wrote in NEXUS Magazine (Volume 15, Number 2, February-March 2008):
“With the present campaign [in Australia] to replace all incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones by 2009-2010, I expect a melanoma epidemic in 10 to 20 years’ time.”
Dr. Last is not alone to raise the alarm. In 1992, the American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 135, No. 7: 749-762) has published the research-article, signed by the Canadian researchers Stephen D. Walter, Loraine D. Marrett, Harry S. Shannon, Lynn From and Clyde Hertzman, with the following conclusion:
The Association of Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma and Fluorescent Light Exposure
Data are presented from an interview case-control study (583 cases and 608 controls), performed in southern Ontario, Canada, from October 1984 to September 1986, on the association of cutaneous malignant melanoma with exposure to fluorescent light. Males showed a significant trend with cumulative years of occupational exposure and with various indices of exposure to domestic fluorescent light. The risk was more pronounced for lesions on the arms and for superficial spreading melanomas. There was no consistent association in females. These effects were similar when adjusted for other major risk factors for melanoma, including the amount of time spent outdoors occupationally. Comparisons of melanoma cases interviewed before or after diagnosis revealed no evidence of rumination bias. Comparisons of sample data from the same cases and controls by interview and mail questionnaire showed reasonable levels of reliability with no evidence of recall bias. A small sample of subjects was also selected for exposure validation with employers; this revealed very accurate recall of occupational exposure. On the basis of these results, previous epkJemiologic studies, and clinical and animal evidence, the authors conclude that fluorescent light exposure remains a potential risk factor for melanoma.
To reduce the pollution is certainly a good idea. It wouldn’t be bad either to do it without reducing too much the population.