Researchers from Stony Brook University have reported that compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs emit UVC and UVA radiation found to be damaging to human skin tissue in close proximity. CFL bulbs were designed to offer a more energy-efficient alternative to incandescent light bulbs.
Recently, CFL exposure was found to exacerbate existing skin conditions; however, the effects of CFL exposure on healthy skin tissue had not been thoroughly investigated. The team measured the amount of UV emissions and the integrity of each bulb’s phosphor coatings. Significant levels of UVC and UVA were found to be released from cracks in the phosphor coatings. Cells exposed to CFLs displayed a decrease in turn over rate, migration, collagen contraction and an increase in free radical damage. They found that the cells responded to UV radiation emitted from the CFL bulbs in a similar manner to UV radiation from the sun. Tests were repeated with incandescent light bulbs of the same intensity. The incandescent light bulbs, however, did no damage to healthy skin cells.
The researchers recommend being careful when using CFL bulbs, to avoid exposing skin at a close range and to place them behind a glass cover.
Find more on the results of this study, you can download the published article appearing in the July issue of Photochemistry and Photobiology in “The Effects of UV Emission from CFL Exposure on Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Keratinocytes in Vitro“.
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