Energy-Saving Light Bulbs Blamed for Migraines
By Laura Clout
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 03/01/2008
The energy-saving light bulbs that will be made compulsory in homes in a few years can trigger migraines, campaigners have claimed. The Migraine Action Association (MAA) said some of its members alleged the fluorescent bulbs had led to attacks of the powerful headaches. Some energy-saving bulbs may trigger headaches.
By 2011, Britain will be the first European country to phase out traditional bulbs as part of a strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The MAA is calling on the Government to avoid a complete ban on old-style bulbs, by providing an opt-out for people with health problems. Last year it was claimed that the "green" bulbs can cause people with epilepsy to experience symptoms similar to the early stages of a fit.
There have also been complaints from people with lupus, a chronic immune disease that causes pain and extreme tiredness. Low energy light bulbs use only a quarter of the energy consumed by traditional versions and are estimated to save 2,000 times their weight in greenhouse gases. They are often five times more expensive but the greater efficiency means they can pay for themselves within months. Several versions use a technology similar to fluorescent strip lights and some migraine sufferers say they produce a flickering effect that triggers their condition.
Karen Manning, from the MAA, said: "When the Government announced that traditional light bulbs would be phased out, we were inundated with over 200 calls and emails from members who said the flickering had caused migraines."This is a debilitating condition which can often leave people bed-ridden for days."The bulbs do not necessarily affect every sufferer, but we are talking about up to six million people in the UK who suffer migraines - so this is a serious concern.
"We would ask the Government to avoid banning them completely and leave some opportunity for conventional bulbs to be purchased."The Lighting Association, which represents manufacturers, denied that modern designs produced a flicker.A spokesman said: "A small number of cases have been reported by people who suffer from reactions to certain types of linear fluorescent lamps. These were almost certainly triggered by old technology."