Jan. 05, 2012

Changes to Lighting in your Home

A change is coming to the light bulbs you will find for sale in the United States.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 set energy efficiency standards for general use light bulbs.  Current incandescent light bulbs did not meet the energy standard and as a result, the phase out of general service incandescent 100 watt light bulbs began January 1, 2012.  By January 1, 2013, 75-watt bulbs will no longer be manufactured for sale in the U.S., followed by 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs on January 1, 2014. This trend has already started in other countries with similar legislation being implemented around the globe.

Due to the world-wide lighting changes, many light bulb manufacturers have begun developing other lighting options.  The larger lighting manufacturers have developed three core types of light bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL), Halogen, and Light-emitting Diode (LED).

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are emitted by full spectrum and fluorescent lights, as well as most compact fluorescent light bulbs.  The amount of ultraviolet light emitted from fluorescent lights is about the same as with incandescent lights.  However, anecdotally, many people with lupus have reported more adverse reactions or flares when exposed to fluorescent lighting.  And as much as 66 percent of people with lupus say that they experience some photosensitivity.

A few CFL’s with lower UV radiation are the Philips Marathon or Philips Daylight Energy Saving Bulbs (60-watt).  The halogen bulb is being marketed as the new incandescent; most of the newly developed halogen lamps have either a shield or coating to protect against heat output and UV radiation.  The LED bulbs are being touted as mercury free and minimal or no UV radiation.

Because the halogen and LED bulbs are newer technologies, we have yet to determine how they will affect people with lupus.  According to some dermatologists, longer wavelengths than ultraviolet may also be an issue in lupus, so it is hard to know without further study exactly how these other wavelengths and newer bulbs might affect some people with lupus.  We would like to hear from you to find out how halogen and LED bulbs may affect people with lupus.  If you try these new bulbs in your home, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to share whether or not they have any effect on you.

Regardless of the type of lighting used in your home or office, it is best to have lamps covered with a shade or filter.  You can ask a home lighting specialist at your local hardware store or call the manufacturer for more information about the new light bulb choices.  For light covers, try North Solar Screen’s bulb jackets, which block up to 99% of ultraviolet light (northsolarscreen.com) or NaturaLux (naturalux.com) offers fluorescent light filters.

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