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Health Hazards: Lighting

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) evaluated, (b) commissioned and (c) undertaken on the effects of the use of low-energy fluorescent bulbs on public health. (249874)

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) advises the Department on scientific matters concerning optical radiation including low energy light bulbs. The HPA tested a sample of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and found that some emitted ultraviolet radiation which could, under certain conditions, expose people above international guidelines. As a result of its findings, the HPA issued precautionary advice on 9 October 2008 to the general public concerning the use of open CFLs in close-working situations. The HPA’s advice can be found at:

www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1223445516605?p=1153822623869

The HPA’s research was considered alongside other available evidence to inform a report by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). SCENIHR’s opinion on light sensitivity can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/scenihr_opinions_en.htm

During 2008, the Department undertook a literature review on lighting and light sensitive and neurological conditions.