Uh Oh: Study Shows That CFLs Could Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer

Let’s be clear: this is just one study

(13WMAZ) Florida residents are accustomed to hearing about skin cancer risks from the sun. Less familiar? Risks from light bulbs.

But fluorescent light bulbs do contain significant levels of ultraviolet radiation – the main skin cancer risk factor. And a 2012 study by researchers at Stony Brook University in New York found that close, prolonged exposure to compact fluorescent bulbs “exacerbated skin conditions,” including skin cancer.

Fluorescent bulbs aren’t new – most office buildings in America use the familiar long, flickering rods. What is relatively new is the arrival of the curlicue-shaped compact fluorescent bulbs. As part of the federally mandatory phase out of incandescent light bulbs – contributors to greenhouse gasses and possibly climate change – compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have become commonplace.

Jacksonville resident Gerie Leigh, an ardent environmentalist, was an early adopter of compact fluorescent bulbs, changing out every light in her house several years ago. But after six serious skin cancers in three years, and four just since last May – she’s changed them all again, this time to LED lights. (snip)

Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, who conducted the study at Stony Brook, could not comment directly on Leigh’s concerns, but told First Coast News that she believes there are concerns with prolonged exposure to CFLs. “What we found was that these bulbs would emit radiation where if you were exposed to them you got your daily dose not in eight hours, but in minutes,” she says. Her research found that cells exposed to close range compact fluorescent bulbs, “stopped growing and changed shape.” The cause appears to be cracking or deterioration of bulb’s protective white lining, which the study found could allow UVA and UVC to escape.

Good thing Los Federales mandated doing away with most standard light bulbs eh? Add this to the mercury issue, and that CFLs seem to be lasting around the same as old school light bulbs, and these are super fantastic replacements.

Save $10 on purchases of $49.99 & up on our Fruit Bouquets at 1800flowers.com. Promo Code: FRUIT49
If you liked my post, feel free to subscribe to my rss feeds.

Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed

6 Responses to “Uh Oh: Study Shows That CFLs Could Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer”

  1. John says:

    ICOULD??? will uou be converting all your stores to non cancer causing lighting ?

  2. tdothen says:

    I suppose it’s an obvious question, but …

    How did Ms. Leigh dispose of the potentially hazardous light bulbs that she removed?

  3. The Law of Unitended Consequences at it’s Zenith

  4. Jeffery says:

    Study Shows That CFLs Could Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer

    Not exactly. The study showed that defective bulbs emitted UVC (ultraviolet light in 100-280 nm wavelength), which is more energetic than UVA and UVB. This is where it gets interesting. In nature, UVC from the sun, because of its more energetic character (up to 12 eV!!), is strongly ionizing and is absorbed by… wait for it… the ozone layer (and other atmospheric components) that conservatives claim is unimportant!

    One of things that Professor Rafailovich proved is that life on Earth could not exist without the ozone layer, except in the deep ocean or underground! All hail the ozone layer and the Montreal Protocol of 1989, a big government, international agreement that saved your butt from UVC.

    A friend and colleague authored, The Dose Makes the Poison, reasserting that common maxim of toxicology. What dose of UVC do dermal fibroblasts and living keratinocytes (target cells in Dr. Rafailovich’s in vitro study) receive in the “real world”? The Beer-Lambert Law tells us the energy is attenuated exponentially as the radiation travels through an absorbing medium, e.g., air or especially the dead cell outer layer of human skin. It is possible that very high intensity UVC penetrates to the keratinocytes causing some damage, but there is no good evidence that CFLs increase skin cancer in humans. It requires continued attention, though – probably through government sponsored research. Unless you would require the manufacturers to prove their bulbs are safe.

    As the famous conservative FOX scientist Mike Huckabee proclaimed, “A beheading is a far greater threat than a sunburn!”.

  5. Jeffery says:


    Still no police. Do you plan to report me or not?

    What’s your take on this whole CFLs causing cancer concern?

    Do you think UVC from CFLs is a problem but UVC absorbed by the ozone layer is not?

  6. Jeffery says:

    Accidental firearm discharges will kill many, many more children than will CFL-induced cancers.

Pirate's Cove