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Sunday, October 12, 2008

World-News: Radiation fears over low-energy light bulbs


Radiation fears over low-energy light bulbs

Here is today's Irish Times update on LED lightbulbs and the related health issue.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Gormley to lay down light bulb standards
HARRY McGEE, Political Staff
THE GOVERNMENT will today formally launch the process that will lead to the phasing out of traditional light bulbs from March 2009. Minister for the Environment John Gormley will launch a consultation paper on his proposed energy efficiency and performance standard for light bulbs. The paper proposes the replacement of incandescent tungsten filament bulbs – including halogen – of 75 watts and over from March of next year, to be replaced by energy-efficient light bulbs. Mr Gormley is expected to contend that this move in itself will eliminate almost half of the most energy inefficient light bulbs. According to the proposals, all traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs will be phased out over a period of three years ending in March 2012. However, the proposals make no specific recommendations for incandescent spot and reflector bulbs, including dimmable bulbs. In respect of these classes of light bulb – where the technology is not at a similar stage of development – the proposals state: “From a national policy perspective, the next step will be a review of the standard in 2010 with a view to extending its scope to incandescent spot and reflector bulbs.” The department is also expected to say that no introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards will be introduced if there are no alternatives currently available. For example, the department concedes that “there is an issue in relation to dimming in the case of some CFL bulbs”. The consultation period will last for one month and once it is concluded, the department will seek EU Commission approval for its draft legislation, which it hopes to introduce in the Oireachtas by the New Year. Mr Gormley is expected to argue today that the timely introduction of the bulbs will have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as offering significant benefits to consumers. While the costs of CFL bulbs are higher, the department has said that these costs can be recouped within six months. The light-bulb initiative was announced by Mr Gormley at the time of the first carbon budget last year. It led to a protracted row between the Minister and the Opposition, primarily Labour’s environment spokeswoman Joanna Tuffy, over how quickly the changeover could be introduced and over alleged non-compliance with EU competition rules. If the legislation is enacted in the New Year, the Government contends that 80 per cent of traditional light bulbs will have become obsolete by March 2010. © 2008 The Irish Times
Friday, October 10, 2008
Radiation fears over low-energy light bulbs
SOME ENERGY-saving light bulbs emit ultraviolet radiation (UV) that could be harmful if placed too close to the skin, health experts say. The Department of the Environment said people would have an opportunity to air their concerns before traditional light bulbs were banned. A spokesman for the department said Minister for the Environment John Gormley had confirmed that a public consultation would be held. "Full consideration will be given to all views. He's not just going to bring this in and ride roughshod over everyone's concerns," he said. Britain's Health Protection Agency said some unencapsulated fluorescent light bulbs - where the shape of the coil is clearly visible - emit UV radiation that could make the skin red if used for long periods of time closer than 30cms (1ft) to the body. The agency issued the warning to people who sit close to a reading lamp or desk lamp, and the tens of thousands who suffer from medical conditions that make them sensitive to UV light. The health agency said people should not remain within 30cms of a light bulb for more than one hour a day, or should switch to an encapsulated style of energy-saving light bulb where the outer layer of glass looks more like a traditional bulb. The agency's chief executive Justin McCracken said: "We are advising people to avoid using the open light bulbs for prolonged close work until the problem is sorted out and to use encapsulated bulbs instead." - (Additional reporting PA)
© 2008 The Irish Times
This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
Informant: Imelda O'Connor

World-News: Radiation fears over low-energy light bulbs

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