'Green' Bulbs Release Toxins, Carginogens

They should not be used near head, says new report out of Germany
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2011 8:17 AM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2011 6:51 AM CDT

(Newser) Paging Stephen Colbert: There's apparently a new reason to be wary of energy-saving lightbulbs. In a new report, scientists in Germany warn that compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) emit carcinogenic chemicals and toxins—including phenol, naphthalene, and styrene—when turned on, resulting in what one scientists describes as "electrical smog." Because of that, they should be used "very economically" and "should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head," he adds.

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British experts, however, say that more research is needed, and officials insist the bulbs are safe, the Telegraph reports. They do contain mercury, but in such a small amount that officials say it would be "unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp should be broken." The latest report follows claims from scientists and other organizations that the bulbs could contribute to higher breast cancer rates and cause skin problems or migraines. Click to read Rand Paul's beef with the bulbs, or for a funnier take, Colbert's opinion. (Read more compact fluorescent bulbs stories.)

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