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Nifty Neat Fluorescent Bulbs Cause Ultraviolet Skin Damage

Photo: Sun Ladder (CC)

From the office of unintended consequences:

A recent scientific report highlighted at Popular Science indicates that those energy-saving fluorescent bulbs may not be all they’re – ahem – cracked up to be. The study, led by a team at Stony Brook, revealed that microscopic fissures in the bulbs can expose skin to harmful UV rays, resulting in potential cellular damage.

Is it anything to worry about? Probably not, but it’s a reminder that there is always a potentially hazardous side to any technological innovation, some of which aren’t apparent until its too late.

I’m reminded of the “radium girls” who worked the lines painting clock dials with the radioactive substance at the Waterbury Clock Factory in Ottawa, IL. They’d lick their brushes to keep the tips pointed between clocks, and some of them would paint it on their buttons for fun. After all, radium was harmless, right?… Read the rest

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