CFLs andLEDs in the media


Newspaper reports

May 2019

15 May 2019, LED lights in your house can cause irreversible damage to the eyes and lead to a vision-robbing condition, French health authority warns.

  • LED lights can permanently damage the retina and disturb natural sleep rhythms, France's government-run health watchdog has said.
  • The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) warned powerful LED lights are 'photo-toxic'.
  • In a 400-page report, the body cautioned it can cause an irreversible loss of retinal cells and lead to a common cause of blindness.
  • ANSES urged officials to revise the maximum limit for exposure to LED lights, which emit 'blue light' at much higher quantities.
  • LED phone, tablet and laptop screens do not pose a risk of eye damage - but the intense bulbs used in car headlights may, it suggested.

June 2018

20 June 2018, Light pollution linked to decline in insects. " 'Half of all insect species are nocturnal,' says Dr. Grubisic. 'As such, they depend on darkness and natural light from the moon and stars for orientation and movement or to escape from predators, and to go about their nightly tasks of seeking food and reproducing. 'An artificially-lit night disturbs this natural behaviour and has a negative impact on their chances of survival.' The scientists analysed all recent studies on the effects of artificial light at night on insects, and found that there is strong evidence to suggest a credible link between light pollution and declines in insect populations.

'Our overview study shows that artificial light at night is widely present and can have complex impacts in agricultural areas, with unknown consequences for biodiversity and crop production,' Dr. Franz Hoelker, head of the Light Pollution and Ecophysiology research group at IGB, told Lux. 'Therefore light pollution should be generally considered as a potential ecosystem disturbance in future studies to identify ways in which practical steps can be taken to reduce environmental concerns.' "

April 2018

27 April 2018, Study links LED streetlights to breast and prostate cancer. "BLUE LIGHT from LED street lights is linked to a 'significant increase' in the risk of breast and prostate cancer, new research has concluded. A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and involving the University of Exeter found that participants living in large cities with heavy exposure to blue lights at night had double the risk of prostate cancer and 1.5 times higher risk of breast cancer. This was compared to populations with less exposure to blue light."

10 April 2018, The future's orange: City considers amber street lights. "As local authorities all over the world move to white LED street lighting, one community at least is considering bucking the trend. The city of Dunedin, the second largest on the south island of New Zealand, is exploring the possibility of installing amber LED lighting which will look similar to the current low-pressure sodium lighting. (...) Broughton emphasised that there was no perfect choice, as all LED coloured lights had downsides as well. If Dunedin does adopt amber LED street lights it will be following in the footsteps of Flagstaff in the American state of Arizona."

4 April 2018, Street light flicker is new hazard, says watchdog. "Flicker from LED street lights could be becoming a health hazard, the UK government's official health watchdog for England has warned. (...) 'An extreme example is daylight-running lights on cars. These are clearly visible to other road users and pedestrians. At night, if they do not dim, they can be very dazzling and more so for young children who have higher transmission of light through to the retina and older people who will suffer from scattering of the light, particularly in the lens of the eye. 'This means that older drivers, in particular, will be dazzled by oncoming vehicles with the risk that they may not see hazards until too late. The problem is exacerbated by fog."

Expert warned about 100 Hz. "Flicker expert Professor Arnold Wilkins, emeritus professor at the University of Essex and a leading expert in photosensitivity and physiology, warned of the dangers of 100 Hz flicker at the Lighting Fixture Design Conference in London last year. Although people can only directly perceive fluctuations at frequencies up to about 70 Hz, human vision is adversely affected by light fluctuations up to 200 Hz. Visual performance is especially degraded by flicker in the 100 Hz to 200 Hz range and in general, younger people are likely to perceive lower level and higher frequency flicker than older observers. 'There's a huge range of susceptibility in the population with those [who get] migraines at one extreme. And it probably contributes to dyslexia but we don't know for certain. '100 hertz should be avoided.' The solution is to upgrade to high frequency control gear for fluorescent or LED. 'It's a simple as that.' "

November 2017

22 November 2017: Five Years of Satellite Images Show Global Light Pollution Increasing at a Rate of Two Percent Per Year

Five years of advanced satellite images show that there is more artificial light at night across the globe, and that light at night is getting brighter. The rate of growth is approximately two percent each year in both the amount of areas lit and the radiance of the light. (...) The team, led by Dr. Christopher Kyba of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany, analyzed five years of images from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership [Suomi-NPP] satellite, operated jointly by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA]and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]. (...) Increases were seen almost everywhere the team looked, with some of the largest gains in regions that were previously unlit. (...) Kyba's team found that the energy saving effects of LED lighting on country-level energy budgets are lower than expected from the increase in the efficiency of LEDs compared to older lamps. (...) The VIIRS instrument used in this study is relatively insensitive to blue light. White LED light is rich in blue colors, and so partially escapes detection by VIIRS. That can lead to an underestimation of the problem of light pollution.

More information: George Dvorsky, The Switch to Outdoor LED Lighting Has Completely Backfired

September 2017

16 September 2017: When conventional halogen lights are replaced with LED lights, the transformer can become a cause of radio interference, especially regarding the DAB radios. On (Switzerland) it is said that the problem is normally resolved by replacing the transformer with a correctly rated one. But what when your car digital radio is interfered by LEDs in the street?

In Germany, it seems the situation is more dramatic because of the inadequate implementation of the EU Directive (2014/30/EU) relating to the Electromagnetic Compatibility of Equipment. The reason to not fully implement the Directive was that radio can also be heard over the internet. Consequence: cheap goods from China are imported without interference suppression.

A clear example of interference is shown in the first video on the German webpage Warum der Radioempfang im Dunkeln oft besser ist. The next video is English spoken and gives very interesting facts about the situation in Geneva.

August 2017

18 August 2017: Two-minute explainer: (In)visible random flicker

  • "Typically, we expect flicker to be something that most of us can see, but that's the easy part and easily remedied.
  • More difficult is the flicker that is generated but cannot be seen except via testing equipment on the lab bench. Once that flicker is identified, then, again, it can be dealt with.
  • But what about the flicker that is not a regular feature of a circuit and only occurs when a particular set of circumstances comes together? And what if that set of circumstances varies from circuit to circuit?"

18 August 2017: US lawmakers continue to fight light ban "Last month the House passed an amendment proposed by Representative Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, to prevent the US Energy Department from enforcing efficiency rules that were introduced with support from both sides of the house under the George W Bush administration 10 years ago. Burgess, who has opposed the bulb ban for years, said Congress "should fight to preserve the free market" and that the regulations will "take away consumer choice when constituents are deciding which light bulbs they will use in their homes"." More information on the webpage of Lux review.

July 2016

July 2016: Athena (Belgian monthly magazine (French language)) "Attention aux LED!" [Attention to LED!] "In general, white light of a LED results from a blue LED associated with a yellow luminophore. Despite this trick, the blue content remains always proportionally higher than in daylight, especially at sunrise and sunset is. And some experts doubt about the sustainability of the luminophore, which could be less than that of the diode, what thus further could increase the share of light emitted in blue. The physiological effects of blue light that stimulates retinal photo-pigments (melanopsin molecules) leads to synchronizing biological and chronological clocks. If, during daytime, blue light has beneficial effects on biorhythms, however nighttime artificial light has short-term negative effects (sleep disturbances and daytime alertness) and long term effects (mood disorders, carcinogens, cardiovascular, etc.). Mediated by melanopsin, these effects will thus be stimulated by a lighting with a superabundance of blue light. This finding raises the question of the impact on the biological clock by our PCs, tablets, e-book, smartphones, etc."

June 2016

14 June 2016 "" Blue LED energy shortens shelf life of milk, according to Cornell researchers "Refrigerator grocery case lighting was one of the first lighting applications in which the solid-state lighting (SSL) alternative to fluorescent tubes gained a foothold. (...) LEDs offer reliable operation in the cold environment, do not generate heat that would increase refrigeration electrical costs, and provide directional light to better focus on the merchandise. (...) But the latest research may change things, at least in dairy cases. The research is summarized on the Cornell Chronicle website through which the university distributes research news to the media. The researchers stated that it has been well understood that exposure to sun and artificial light could degrade "milk sensory quality and nutritional content." Apparently riboflavin and other elements in milk are photosensitive and riboflavin absorbs light in a narrow band that is in the same range as the typical blue peak of LEDs in the 460-nm range.

The impact of the LED lighting doesn't spoil the milk but simply degrades the quality. The researchers had test subjects taste milk that had been under LED lights for as little as four hours and compare the taste to milk that has been stored for two weeks but shielded from LED exposure. The testers overwhelmingly preferred the older milk over the LED-exposed milk. The milk exposed to LED lighting was said to taste of "cardboard or plastic." (...) Researchers said the LED lighting even impacts milk in opaque plastic packages.

10 June 2016: "" The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness

An interesting reference in this article is "Christian B. Luginbuhl e.a., Lighting and astronomy. "

  • Box 2: LEDs for outdoor lighting. The typical white LED used for outdoor lighting is made from a blue LED that emits light at about 450 nm and a phosphor that converts some of the blue light to green and red. (...) The blue emission is particularly harmful to astronomers and to the environment. Rayleigh scattering, responsible for the daytime blue sky, has a λ4 wavelength dependence: The 450-nm emission is nearly three times as strongly scattered as is the astronomers' preferred low-pressure sodium emission at 589 nm."
  • At large distances (50, 100 or 200 km), the scattered light (scattered by molecules and aerosols) is very disturbing for astronomers. A "fixture with an unshielded fraction of only 3% produces between 80% and 290% more sky glow than a fully shielded fixture with the same light output, with the worst value occurring for the most distant light sources."

And some excerpts from 'The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness':

  • The sky brightness outside cities is dominated by the component of the light escaping at low angles above the horizon plane.
  • Very remarkable is Fig. 5, A and B.
    Maps of Europe's artificial sky brightness, in twofold increasing steps, as a ratio to the natural sky brightness (assumed to be 174 μcd/m2).

    (A) The map shows the artificial sky brightness in V-band, as in the other maps. (B) The map shows the forecast of the perceived sky brightness for a dark-adapted eye after a transition toward 4000K CCT LED technology, without increasing the photopic flux of currently installed lamps." [The meaning of each color level is indicated in the article. Red means large total brightness, blue means less total brightness].

    "We show an illustrative forecast map of Europe for the possible effect on scotopic perception of the sky for a transition from high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting to white light-emitting diode (LED) lighting. Assuming that the photopic flux and upward emission function remain equal, a 4000K white LED light is about 2.5 times more polluting for the scotopic band of the spectrum than is HPS lighting. Higher correlated color temperature (CCT) sources are more polluting, whereas lower CCT sources are less. This implies that unless blue-light emission is restricted, a transition toward this technology can be expected to more than double the night sky brightness as perceived by our dark-adapted eyes.
  • Conclusions: "The results presented here demonstrate that light pollution is a global issue. Most of the world is affected by this problem, and humanity has enveloped our planet in a luminous fog that prevents most of Earth's population from having the opportunity to observe our galaxy. This has a consequent potential impact on culture that is of unprecedented magnitude. Moreover, light pollution causes global ecological consequences, poses public health issues, and wastes energy and money. Light pollution needs to be addressed immediately because, even though it can be instantly mitigated (by turning off lights), its consequences cannot (for example, loss of biodiversity and culture). Fortunately, techniques to substantially reduce light pollution are already known. (...) The main prescriptions to lower light pollution are as follows: full shielding of lights (that is, do not allow luminaires to directly send any light at and above the horizon or outside the area to be lit), using the minimum light for the task, shutting off light or lowering its levels substantially when the area is not in use, decreasing the total installed flux (as is happening to most other pollutants), and strongly limiting the "blue" light that interferes with circadian rhythms and scotopic vision."

3 June 2016: Het Laatste Nieuws (Belgian newspaper) "Te veel ledlicht zorgt voor slaapproblemen" [Too much LED light causes sleep problems] The Superior Health Council of Belgium published this report . It aims at providing Public Health authorities, manufacturers and general population with specific recommendations on specific target groups (youth under 8 years; people with some eye and skin pathology), general prevention, scientific research and legislation aspects to control the Belgian market.

"Following the recommendations of the ANSES and the Dutch Health Council, the Superior Health Council recommends:

To the attention of the industry

  1. Manufacturers should limit the fraction of blue LED light as much as possible, especially in screens, night lamps, bedroom lighting.

To the attention of the government

  1. Only LED lights of risk category 0 and 1 (see European Norm EN 62471), should be available to the general public on the market.
  2. Children under 8 years must be discouraged to use toys with LED screens, at least at the end of the day.
  3. Each LED lamp should have been labeled with information on the recommended use, risk and any contraindications (eg. desk lamp, bedside lamp or nursery).
  4. The general public should be given information on:
    • risk of using LED lighting: direct lighting or close LED lamps, especially with prolonged use for children younger than 8 years, people operated on cataract or without lens and persons suffering from macular degeneration, photodermatoses or using photosensitive medication or cosmetics (certain medicines, creams or ointments);
    • risk of using devices with a LED screen: use by children (under 8 years), prolonged or close use during the evening or at night.
  5. Due to the lack of data, further investigation is needed:
    • the risks of LED lighting for the eyes and the skin in relation to the type of lighting, exposure pattern and characteristics of the person (healthy or with a condition that poses a risk);
    • fluctuations (stroboscopic effect) of the light intensity of the LEDs and their possible impact on health;
    • aging effects of the spectrum determining phosphors in LEDs."

According to Dr. Jacques Vanderstraeten of the SHC, an excessive exposure to LED light can damage the retina and cause sleep problems. These risks are in the early morning and evening greatest: "The light spectrum that emits LED lighting has a higher proportion of 'blue light' than natural sunlight. During the morning and evening the difference is greatest, so the effects of LEDs at those times are the strongest". Especially the elderly and young children should be cautious, according to doctor Vanderstraeten, with LED lighting, because their retina is more sensitive.

February 2016

16 February 2016: "" An Unloved Light Bulb Shows Signs of Burning Out "Introduced in the mid-1980s, CFLs progressively got cheaper and more efficient, using 75 percent less energy than a regular incandescent bulb. But they never quite overcame the problems that made them unlovable: They needed time to light up fully, the light often felt harsh, and the glass tubes contained toxic mercury, prompting an unsettling cleanup checklist for any poor soul who happens to shatter one."

Here, you can also answer the question: "Have you adjusted to life without traditional incandescent bulbs?" On 18 February 2016, the result of the poll was (total of 8226 votes):

  • Yes, I’ve found efficient lighting that works for me (52.8%)
  • Almost, but I’m still learning about the options (11.9%)
  • No, I still want the old incandescents back (35.3%)
The rights of the consumer have to be respected!

January 2016

12 January 2016: "" A lightbulb moment for the old-fashioned filament "Light is an emotional and emotive matter," says the design critic Stephen Bayley. "I like it that [Henry David] Thoreau said candles illuminate darkness, but artificial light destroys it. Our affection for outlawed incandescent Edison bulbs is surely based on some lingering sense that the warm glow from a hot filament is closer to primitive candles than the chilly hiss and fizz of alien electrons."

11 January 2016: Old-fashioned light bulbs could be set for comeback after 'light recycling' breakthrough "A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a way of capturing the infrared heat released when the tungsten filament of an incandescent bulb is heated to about 2,700C, and converting this waste energy into visible light. (...) The scientists have called the technology "light recycling" because it takes the useless wavelengths of infrared light, which no-body can see, and converts them to visible light. (...) In order for the device to work, the scientists had to redesign the traditional incandescent filament of the old light bulb. "In a regular light bulb, the filament is a long and curly piece of tungsten wire. Here, the filament is laser-machined out of a flat sheet of tungsten: it is completely planar," said Peter Bermel, a member of the MIT team."

  • The efficiency of conventional incandescent lights is between 2 and 3 percent,
  • while that of fluorescents is currently between 7 and 13 percent,
  • and that of compact LEDs between 5 and 15 percent, the MIT scientists said.
  • In contrast, the prototype device has so far reached about 6.6 per cent efficiency, which is a threefold improvement on existing incandescent light bulbs, but with further design improvements it should be possible to reach 40 per cent efficiency, they said."

11 January 2016: "" Tailoring high-temperature radiation and the resurrection of the incandescent source "In incandescent light bulbs, most of the energy is lost as heat. (...) Here, we show that a plain incandescent tungsten filament (3,000 K) surrounded by a cold-side nanophotonic interference system optimized to reflect infrared light and transmit visible light for a wide range of angles could become a light source that reaches luminous efficiencies (˜ 40%) surpassing existing lighting technologies, and nearing a limit for lighting applications. We experimentally demonstrate a proof-of-principle incandescent emitter with efficiency approaching that of commercial fluorescent or light-emitting diode bulbs, but with exceptional reproduction of colours and scalable power."

9 January 2016: "" Consument heeft lak aan het gloeilampendictaat [Consumer does not care about the light bulbs dictation] "The consumer did accept this pushing less than imagined in the headquarters in Brussels and Eindhoven. So retailers until this day do find hassle gaps in the law, parallel trade is rampant, everywhere incandescent bulbs are for sale and our homes are full of them. Clearly, we don’t let us fool on a large scale. There is still civil disobedience if the pedantic arbitrariness from headquarters of Europe is too flashy. (...) The incandescent ban came at the insistence of an industry which, as now appears however, has no benefit from the self-invented incandescent lamp ban and from the pushing on of CFLs and LED lamps, with the help of the authorities. Siemens has already placed the lamp sector at some distance. Philips will disclose in the coming months, how to reject the light division, at least what's left of it: by selling it or by bringing it as an autonomous company to the stock exchange."

December 2015

17 December 2015: Beyond VW - other firms deceiving their customers "Manufacturers and importers are responsible for declaring the energy efficiency of their TVs, fridges and other products regulated by the EU Ecodesign Directive and Energy Labelling Directive, while authorities are responsible for testing those claims. Authorities are entitled to apply a margin for error, or 'tolerance', to allow for variations in the accuracy of their lab tests. Tolerances vary by product, but are typically around 10% in Europe.

Coolproducts has spoken to a whistleblower in the lighting industry who says his firm started out honest, but was forced to 'cheat to compete'. The senior executive with over 20 years experience in the industry said:

"Tolerances are out of date. The legislation needs to catch up with advances in production and testing. This particular game has been played for a long time. Today, 2-3 percent tolerances are far more realistic.

We have no choice but to cheat and that's not right. It's not cheating exactly, but being economical with the truth. Firms want to build products more cheaply so install lower grade components knowing that the tolerances can absorb the loss of performance. They are also exaggerating product lifetimes. The situation is getting worse now with fragmentation of the market bringing more pressure. Market surveillance is Europe is very bad, but getting better."

According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard (17 December 2015) "Lampen geven te weinig licht" [Lamps emit too little light] the Swedish consumer association magazine Råd & Rön revealed that the intensity of light emitted by halogen light bulbs of big brand names was overstated by as much as 25 %.
Brand, type and year of productioni Indicated lumen Real lumen Difference (lumen)
Philips 42W, 2012 630 560 - 70
Ikea 53W, 2012 850 717 - 133
Osram 42W B22, 2013 630 500 - 130

August 2015

11 August 2015 in the Belgian newspaper "Le Soir" "Le LED fait l'ombre aux autres lumières" [The LEDs overshadow the other lamps] Starting 1 September, Ikea will only sell LEDs. Ikea has 315 department stores in 27 countries. "We want to encourage our customers to take advantage of the energy and money savings and reduce CO2 emissions." (...) Specifically, the company has gradually emptied its stocks of compact fluorescent lamps and incandescents (halogen), leaving on the shelves only LEDs with a range of luminaires but also a wide enough assortment of bulbs to suit all ceiling lights, wall lights and other existing desk lamps. (...) But all is not lovely in the garden of LED. "Although the new generation no longer gives the effect of "white tiles in a butcher's", this source of light is still struggling to get closer to the color temperature of natural light", says Pasquale Nardonne, professor of physics at the Free University of Brussels. Also remains this demerit: Surely, the LED is more environmentally friendly to use. But to know the real environmental impact, we must also take into account its conditions of production. Purifying silicon, which makes the heart beat of these diodes is a very energy intensive industrial work ..."

May 2015

15 May 2015 in "": 12 Hacks For The Best Sleep Ever. " Jennifer Adams, a sleep environmentalist, designer, entrepreneur and author of the book "Bedrooms That Inspire: Rest, Relaxation & Romance" has the following advice:"We’re all replacing the light bulbs in our homes with LED bulbs because they are more energy efficient and they put out a beautiful quality of light, but the challenge is that they mimic daylight," Adams told The Huffington Post. "So if you add the LED bulbs to your lamps in your bedroom, it can make it harder to fall asleep. I recommend that everyone keep their bedrooms, especially the bedside lamps, with just a regular, old-fashioned halogen or incandescent light bulb with that soft, warm light. I also like the ones you can dim easily."

November 2014

23 November 2014 in "": Finnish teenagers with sleeping disorders double in last 20 years. "Around 20% of teenage girls and 10% of teenage boys in Finland now suffer from chronic fatigue, according to findings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare. Researchers studied more than a million teenagers between the ages of 13-17 and found levels of insomnia at a record high. (...) The results are a concern for the Finnish authorities as studies suggest that prolonged sleeplessness can lead to depression, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases in later life. (...) More research into the causes was needed, said Kronholm, who has been studying sleep patterns for 30 years, "but based on previous literature, I suspect that energy drinks have an undeniable impact." He also pointed to "the 'screen time' hypothesis". Studies show that exposure to bright light from the screens of iPads, tablets, computers and mobile phones can halt the natural production of melatonin and prevent sleep." [Also blue light from LEDs, substituting the incandescent light bulbs, may be a cause.]

October 2014

31 October 2014 in the Belgian newspaper "Het Laatste Nieuws", my comment: "In yesterday's newspaper, we see how Minister Turtelboom helps replacing incandescent bulbs by CFLs in a house in Ostend. The question is whether she would prove a service to the residents with her action. While CFLs consume less power than incandescent bulbs, these lamps have numerous drawbacks, such as a longer warm-up time, reduced brightness over time, do not show a true representation of colors, contain a little mercury what means that these lamps may not be used in families with children, are difficult to dim or cannot be dimmed at all, are sooner broken down by frequent switching on and off, etc. But the worst of all is that studies show that the light of certain energy saving lamps contain UV radiation, which can be dangerous to the skin and eyes. Because CFLs need mercury and rare earth metals, they also cause great pollution to the air and soil. Therefore, it is totally unwise for a minister to press CFLs to the residents of this house. Rik Gheysens"

August 2014 5 August 2014: Student eye checks after shock tests A global charity will test children's eyes in 16 low-income parts of New Zealand after an initial test found that 63 per cent of children at a West Auckland primary school needed full eye examinations. (...) But a community programme at Reporoa and Broadlands, south of Rotorua, has also found a surprisingly high 30 per cent of year 4 children needing corrective lenses - mostly for Irlen Syndrome, a little-known condition caused by sensitivity to light.

Reporoa pharmacist and dairy farmer Karen Barker, who set up a charitable trust to do Irlens tests in local schools after her own children were diagnosed with the condition, said 42 per cent of the 30 per cent who needed glasses needed Irlens tints only, 36 per cent had both Irlens and optometric problems, 12 per cent had only optometric problems and 9 per cent had other issues. She said Irlens problems may have become widespread only recently due to fluorescent lighting, computer screens and whiteboards.

July 2014

Yahoo News 29 July 2014: Osram to cut almost 8,000 jobs in switch to LED A new savings program is announced by Osram that will include almost 8,000 jobs, or around 23 percent of its staff! 1,700 would be in Germany and 6,100 internationally. This is the second program of jobs cut by the company. The first one was called "Push" and this program runs out at the end of this year. It involved cutting 8,700 jobs or 21 percent of its workforce and closing a quarter its 43 factories. 31 July 2014: Hat das Glühbirnen-Verbot der EU Schuld? [Is the EU to blame?] What's the reason of these jobs cuts? "Professor Jörg Funder, trade expert and professor at the University of Applied Sciences, stated that the problems of the Group are related to the EU legislation: "Through the EU regulation, the traditional large scale light bulb business of Osram is broken away. There, Osram was a leader." The problem was obviously that the company's losses could not be tempered by the energy-saving lamps. For one thing, the buyers were cautious, the light was too cold, too bright, on the other hand, there were suddenly more competitors who could respond. Third is the fact that the buying cycles are greater for energy-saving lamps, so the profit margins turn ultimately lower.

An analyst for a private bank, just watching the developments in the Group, mentions another reason for the decline in sales: "The demand for LED lamps has increased. This is also related to the ban of conventional light bulbs. In this area there is much low-cost competition from Asia. With the production of LED lamps Osram makes great losses." CEO Wolfgang Dehen confirmed this: However, the production of new LED lights is not yet profitable. Here Osram plans to reach breakeven in 2015." 31 July 2014: Der Wandel in der Lichttechnik hat Osram überrascht [The change in lighting technology has surprised Osram] "Currently Osram has 33,900 employees, including 9,500 in Germany. Wolfgang Dehen makes it clear that even the recent job cuts are not yet the end of the cuts. According to the Osram-Chief, the rapid slump in business is the consequence of the falling price of LED products. That's why an increasing number of consumers would switch to LED lamps. The switch is faster than expected by Osram, Dehen admits. Here we already see the next market upheaval and thus new burdens for Osram. Dehen pointed out that at the EU level, in the context of the earlier conventional light bulb ban, also since long a ban on certain halogen light bulbs is being discussed, i.e. a ban from 2017. "We do not know how the policy will decide." Therefore, Osram initially has factored in a ban of halogen lamps."

June 2014

Lux Magazine 20 June 2014: Minister rejects call for bulb ban exemption

Energy minister Greg Barker has rejected a call for the UK to be exempted from the European Union’s ban on incandescent lamps. In the House of Commons yesterday, Conservative MP David Nuttall said that the UK should push for a ‘complete exemption’ from the rules that have phased out incandescent lamps, as part of a renegotiation of its membership of the EU.

Nuttall said the UK should be given back 'the right to be able to use whatever light bulbs we want – without being told what to do by the EU'. But Barker defended the ban, saying: 'By having energy-efficient light bulbs, we are driving innovation and driving down people’s electricity bills. We do not want to go back to having high-cost energy bills and turning our back on innovation.' Labour MP Sheila Gilmore also asked whether people with 'photosensitive health conditions' might be allowed to continue to use incandescent lamps.

Barker said: 'The UK is sympathetic to concerns raised about the potential health impacts of lighting... and will press the European Commission to take this into account in the upcoming review.' Also: Energy minister rejects call for bulb ban exemption.

May 2014

12 May 2014: The medical experts who refuse to use low-energy lightbulbs in their homes: Professors have stocked up on old-style bulbs to protect against skin cancer and blindness. So should YOU be worried?

"Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims. With macular degeneration, the macula, which is at the centre of the retina, becomes damaged with age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. These are two of the leading causes of blindness in Britain.

Meanwhile, an EU spokesperson told the Mail that 'based on scientific evidence, an EU scientific committee in 2008 and the UK's Health Protection Agency came to the conclusion that in normal use compact fluorescent lamps do not pose risks to the general public'. However, Professor Moseley is not convinced. He says that what's needed is better legislation from the EU on the quality and safety of low-energy lighting. 'But they are very reluctant,' he says. 'Their feeling is that it is the sufferers' problem. In Brussels, the carbon emission targets take precedence.'"

April 2014

22 April 2014: Coming to a street near you - the lights that keep you awake and could make people ill...

"Studies have indicated that LED lights disrupt sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone which governs our sleep patterns. All light consists of different colour combinations, and visible light falls on a rainbow-like spectrum, which extends from red to blue. Natural light combines all the colours of the spectrum, but the light given off by LEDs is overwhelmingly blue. Too much ‘blue light’ suppresses our biological clock, resulting in lower-quality sleep. This in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It damages the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to depression and anxiety. It has even been suggested that too much exposure to LED light causes blindness. Last year, a Spanish study suggested that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage cells in the retina. By way of illustrating just how potent their glare can be, consider that LED lights are generally banned in art galleries because they bleach the paint on works on display. ‘They are dangerous and potentially damaging,’ says Simon Nicholas, a 53-year-old chartered engineer who successfully campaigned to stop LED lights being erected in Trafford until further research is done."

January 2014

New alarming results: The great LED lightbulb rip-off: One in four expensive 'long-life' bulbs doesn't last anything like as long as the makers claim, Daily Mail, 26 January 2014

  • Consumer group Which? tested 46 types of light bulb for endurance
  • More than a quarter did not meet claims of a 15,000-hour life
  • Disappointing result comes despite claims of them lasting 25,000 hours
  • Some even fell below the legal minimum of 6,000 hours

According to Commission Regulation (EU) No 1194/2012 of 12 December 2012, from 1 March 2014 on, 90% of any batch of LED bulbs should last at least 6,000 hours. But five types from the 46 tested types stopped working before 6,000 hours!

December 2013

7 December 2013: University of Groningen chronobiologist Maan van de Werken discovered yellow light healthier for people working at night

Night work is becoming increasingly common in our 24-hour economy. But people who spend long periods working shifts have a higher risk of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity or depression. ‘It is therefore important to work out exactly what is causing these risks’, says Van de Werken.

Artificial lighting is a factor known to affect the way our body reacts to working at night. ‘The blue component in white light keeps people awake better than yellow light’, explains Van de Werken. For her study, she asked test subjects to stay awake for one night in yellow, white or half-light.

‘We saw that white light strongly suppresses the hormone melatonin.’

More information can also be found on the website of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. The title of her thesis is 'Dawn, light at night and the clock. Impact on human alertness, performance and physiology'.

November 2013

20 November 2013: Flemish television, Eén, "Also tested on humans: Sleep and light".

To become acquainted with the melatonin production, the melatonin was measured from members of a family during a week at home (using laptops, ipads, gsm, etc.) and during a week in the countryside (without the modern gadgets, even without a watch). The result was that the melatonin production began earlier and at a higher level in the countryside. The reasons for this are explained in this video.


Smartphones give remarkably much light at evening.
I will place this in historical perspective. In the beginning it was dark at night. At a certain time, there was the candle! With this invention, one could remain active during the night.
In 1879, the incandescent light bulb appears, thanks to Thomas Edison.
1953: entry of the catode ray tube (television), followed by the colour television.
Twenty years later, the personal computer begins to enter in our houses. Since then, much other light giving objects enter our rooms: laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.
Last years, also the LED lighting is coming in our houses. This rectangular form contains also LEDs and gives bluish cold light. All the new screens (smartphones, ...) are giving mostly blue light.
Filip Van den Abeele: "Scientific research has shown that our brains are very sensitive to blue light. The light comes in through our eyes. Our retina contains receptors that receive light, which also regulate our biological clock. These receptors are very sensitive to blue light which will somehow disturb our sleep patterns. It has been shown that blue light will slow the production of melatonin. We are constantly surrounded by screens, by light, by bluish light. The more we are exposed to the blue light, the more the production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) is delayed."

My report in reply to the Ecodesign Consultation Forum to be held in Brussels (25 November 2013) where probably a postponement of the ban on halogen lamps will be discussed.

It is unfortunate that not was singled out in the program that the incandescent and halogen bulbs emit predominantly red light that is much less harmful to humans. It was also not mentioned that a lack of melatonin may result in serious diseases. So it was totally wrong from the European Commission to ban incandescent and soon also halogen lamps.

July 2013

July 10, 2013: The German website has this article "Bulb glitch: Peer Steinbrück does what Sigmar Gabriel does not want" (Glühbirnen-Panne: Peer Steinbrück tut, was Sigmar Gabriel nicht will)

Recently the known SPD chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück admitted to hoard hundreds of light bulbs because of the EU ban. (...) But the idea to ban the incandescents came precisely from the SPD party leader Sigmar Gabriel!

Steinbrück had recently announced that he was not an advocate of the excessive over-regulations of the EU and that he was hoarding around 100 bulbs in the basement in response to the EU ban "because I do not know if I still can get these bulbs within five years for my French lampholders."

"Bild"-newspaper on Wednesday reported that the controversial idea of the European light bulb ban was not born in Brussels. Instead, it was a proposal of Gabriel! According to the report, in February 2007 Gabriel, as Federal Environment Minister, had required in a letter to the then EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas the light bulb ban. In this letter Gabriel had declared himself in favour of "ambitious efficiency criteria for lamps": "Europe cannot really afford any more products like conventional light bulbs which have an efficiency rate of only five percent."

That Steinbrück was stockpiling the bulbs, Gabriel cannot appreciate: He has discouraged strongly the consumers in May 2009 to stockpile bulbs. "Hoarding of old light bulbs not only damage the environment but also their own household budget," according to a press release of Gabriel at that time.

My remark: It is an excellent time to emphasize in Germany the unequalled quality of incandescent light bulbs. This quality has a price. On the contrary CFLs and LEDS are damaging the environment on a large scale. Stockpiling the incandescent light bulbs is the best solution when the best performing lamps are taken out of the market.

April 2013

April 15, 2013: This article from one of the many light sensitive persons in the UK was published in Chronicle (Newcastle Upon Tyne).

April 3, 2013: Die Welt."Schande" - Wut der Tschechen auf die EU-Fahne ("Shame" - Fury of the Czechs about the EU flag)

Since Wednesday 3 April, the venerable Prague Castle has a new flag. Almost ten years after the year the Czech Republic joined the EU, the EU flag is blowing alongside the Czech national flag. The historical moment was accompanied by whistles and boos by a few dozen demonstrators who watched the action from a few hundred meters away.

The new Czech President Milos Zeman had invited EU Commission President Jose Barroso for the solemn act. Today, no European state alone can defend its interests, the EU Commission president said. The hoisting of the flag of Europe at the Prague Castle is a symbol for the common interests of the Czech Republic and the EU.

Zeman told, moreover, that his affection for Europe also have limits. So he made it clear to Barroso that Europe should stay out of certain things. In particular, he cited the decision to abolish the old incandescent bulbs, "I know what I'm talking. I recently screwed one of the new EU-compliant bulbs in my cottage. Since then, the room looks like a morgue."

January 2013

January 8, 2013: In France, since January 1, the incandescent light bulbs have disappeared from the shelves with the exception of the 15 and 25W bulbs. As a substitute, CFLs are available. With these lamps, the manufacturers are promising the consumers thousands of hours of additional use in order to justify a much higher price. But this is not always the case, as has been proven by the French consumers' organization "UFC Que Choisir". In 2012, the organization of consumers has scrutinized 29 CFLs. Only one third of them reached the promised number of 5000 hours! (Source: News bulletin from January 8, 2013 at 13 hours, on the television channel France 2)

My remark: It is very important to stress that CFLs and LEDs produce a different type of light in comparison with incandescent light. So, they cannot be called 'substitute products'! A ban of incandescent light bulbs has led to a very reduced choice of light products.

January 4, 2013: The Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, February 15, 2011: It was found that over a period of more than one hundred years many original yellow colors on Vincent van Gogh's paintings slowly became brown. An international team of scientists suspected that the discoloration could be caused by the chrome that the painter used in his paint. On January 4, 2013, De Volkskrant reported the reason of this discoloration, referring to the doctorate of Letizia Monico at the universities of Antwerp and Perugia. 'Our research shows that middle chrome yellow, which is a yellow hue with warm glow and is most often used, is chemically fairly stable.'

Van Gogh also uses the lighter lemon yellow and even pale primrose yellow. 'They react very intensely to light beams. During our tests, after only a few days, they colour to brown and olive green. These unstable forms of chrome yellow paint we found among others in some very famous paintings, such as the Portrait of Gauguin and Vase with sunflowers.'

Also other painters used both the stable and unstable forms of chrome yellow paint such as Paul Cézanne and according to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard of 4 January 2013, also Rik Wouters.

Because the lemon and primrose yellow extra sensitive to blue and green, it is risky to illuminate those artworks with LEDs because they emit a high proportion of blue light. LEDs can damage the paintings of great masters!

October 2012

Belgian newspaper "De Standaard", October 1, 2012: One of the major specialists in the field of recycling of fluorescent lamps is the Belgian waste management company Indaver. In the coming years, this company will be more and more the starting point for the recycling of CFLs, explains spokesman Jos Artois. Until recent years, the mercury-containing powder from fluorescent lamps and energy saving lamps was simply deposited in a landfill. "But since some years we do it no longer. Everything is now stored. Awaiting starting up installations where such substances can be recycled."

One of the leaders in research in the field is the French chemical company Rhodia. The growing interest of Rhodia for the powder in the lamps is explained by the price of rare earth metals. Rhodia, taken over last year by Solvay, invested in its French offices in Saint-Fons (in the Rhone Valley) and La Rochelle (on the Atlantic coast) EUR 15 million in recycling plants. In Saint-Fons, the emphasis lies on the separation of the rare earth metals from the glass remnants. La Rochelle is responsible for the purification of the substances. In this way, fluorescent lamps and CFLs are now completely recycled. But the question remains: How long has mercury been released in the environment before the beginning of the storage of the mercury containing powder.

August 2012

Le Soir, 30 augustus 2012: Extinction totale des feux pour les vieilles ampoules (Total extinction for old bulbs)

The Directive RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment) generally forbids mercury in electronic and electronical equipment but made an exemption for mercury in compact fluorescent lamps not exceeding 5 mg per lamp. In 2012, the mercury content is lowered to 3.5 mg and in 2013, it will be 2.5 mg. Meanwhile, the limit of 3.5 mg is exceeded by some manufacturers of CFLs with a 'fast start'. The case has been made a subject of an investigation campaign from the Administration of Environment. "The results of the inspections will only be known in October", has been said.

In May 2012, 'Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats' (see below) concluded that a double envelope CFL (from a certain brand name) with the function 'fast start' started as slow as the other lamps in the test without this function.

May 2012

Website Test-Aankoop, May 24 2012: CFLs (in the lab en in the waste collect centers): not always saving and environmentally friendly

In the June issue of the periodical "Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats", 13 double shell compact fluorescent lamps with a brightness between 500 and 700 lumen and with an E-27 fitting were investigated. Some conclusions are:

  • A certain model should, according to the packaging, have a lifetime of 8000 hours (= 8 years). Four of the five test samples were already broken down before they burned 5000 hours. The only still burning lamp reached at that moment only 70% of its brightness.
  • A sample of another model failed already after burning 1800 hours. " The samples which reached 5000 hours, had lost at that moment more 35% to even 80% of their brightness. Moreover, this lamp could hardly be switched on and off 5000 times." This lamp can actually no longer be named a 'low-energy light bulb'.

The Belgian newspaper "De Morgen", May 25, 2012: "CFLs are not always environmentally friendly"

In the June issue of the periodical "Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats", 13 [double envelope] CFLs were investigated. The results are:

  • No lamp reached half the full intensity of light within 30 seconds. ""These teething troubles can no longer be justified ", said spokesman Ivo Mechels.
  • The lifetime of the lamps does not appear to correspond to the promised lifetime on the packaging. "Six of the thirteen species scored very poorly", said Mechels.
  • The collection of broken bulbs is not always as it should. "They usually end up in an ordinary plastic bin. In places lay broken lamps. That mercury is released in this way, one hardly does realize it.

Another Belgian newspaper "De Standaard", May 25, 2012, writes: "The CFL is almost dead"

" CFLs are less efficient and ecological than their manufacturer tries to make you believe. And he seems to lose his faith itself." Ivo Mechels of Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats: "CFLs are more sparing and last longer than conventional incandescent bulbs. But they still have teething problems and that would not be allowed. This is no new technology anymore, so manufacturers can no longer hide behind it."

According to Stefaan Forment, researcher of the Laboratory of Lighting Technology of Ghent's Catholic College St Lieven, manufacturers seem to believe much more in LED lamps.

November 2011

Svenska Dagbladet, November 21, 2011: Kvicksilvret i lampor går rätt ut naturen (The mercury of the lamps is leaking out in our land)

CFLs with mercury was presented as an environmental benefit. But there are large gaps in recycling. Svenska Dagbladet can now tell you that each year 200,000 CFLs are wrongly thrown in the bottle bank. From there they spread further toxins into our country.

  • Sweden introduced in 2009 a total ban on mercury but CFLs were excluded. Inhalation of the metallic mercury contained in lamps can, at worst, damage the brain and kidneys. Insomnia, irritability and personality changes are some examples of what can result in prolonged exposure.
  • One must be terribly careful with mercury and certainly not inhale it, says Jörn Nielsen, Chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Lund University. The Section has done case studies on companies that work with recycling products, including fluorescent lamps. Several of the surveyed people were approaching intoxication.
  • The week after the Svenska Dagbladet has visited Swedish glass recycling, SGA [Svensk glasåtervinnings anläggning (Swedish glass recycling facility)], did for the first time in years an analysis to see how many lamps they are getting into. The statistically significant survey shows that Swedes are throwing in a year about a million lamps in glass recycling. Of these, 200,000 CFLs.
  • Last March the glass recycling and electrical industries met and agreed the seriousness of the problem. However nothing has been achieved in resolving the situation. Frank Tholfsson, CEO of Swedish Glass Recycling (SGA) is quoted as saying of the lighting industry that “They have not taken the necessary steps, we still get this hazardous waste in our glass. Today there are no suitable collection.” SGA have been raising concerns on this issue since the beginning of the incandescent lamps phase out. (
  • For us this is a health and safety problem, but mercury is also leaking out into the countryside on their way to our facility. In addition to the difficult recovery process of the glass, due to the bulbs, mercury will leak into the air during handling. Mercury, spread in nature, can be transformed into methylmercury, which among other things can cause fetal harm if you eat too much of certain kinds of fish.
  • It is a little remarkable that mercury is present in lamps. We have classified mercury as a very, very dangerous poison (...), says Ulf Skyllberg, professor of soil chemistry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The motive for the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs was that energy-efficient light bulbs would have significant environmental benefits. But the price for environmental benefits has been questioned from several directions.

Johan Eriksson: A dark European chapter

  • Minna Gillberg, environmental expert and former advisor to Margot Wallström during her time as the EU's Environment Commissioner, questions the environmental benefits of energy saving products."It's dangerous how irresponsible this was handled. There is no automatic recovery system, and no collection statistics. First, decades were needed to clear the Sweden of mercury, then it was spread out again, completely out of control. It is absolutely ridiculous," she says to Svenska Dagbladet (SVD).
  • In addition to pose a serious health hazard to those working in glass recycling, mercury is also wasted in our country. There is not much mercury in each bulb, but only one teaspoon of environmental poison is said to be enough to poison an entire lake.
  • The old bulbs did, however excellent. So why we changed to something more expensive, poorer and more dangerous to the environment? Yes, the EU! A bunch of climate obsessed energy-fascists in Brussels believe that too much of the energy that an incandescent bulb consumes goes to heat instead of light. Last time I checked, however, heat was much less environmentally damaging than mercury ...
  • The new energy-saving bulbs are so bad that there is already a thriving black market for ordinary banned light bulbs. People are hoarding up. And travel to Norway to fill the trailer with ordinary light bulbs.
  • "The environmental benefits we are talking is actually a political advantage. From this perspective the environmental benefits we speak of becomes rather an expression of a symbolic climate policy that does not benefit the environment or human health", says Minna Gillberg to the SVD.

Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek has expressed concern and disappointment that the recycling of CFLs has not been properly addressed. She is considering reviewing legislation: “If necessary we will also look at producer responsibility for electrical waste, I am fully prepared to strengthen the legislation. We will review the issue with the environment ministry experts.” (

March 2010

17 March 2010: The Unholy Alliance between Philips and the Greens - A Guest Weblog by Joost van Kasteren and Henk Tennekes "Philips started lobbying to phase out the very product on which its original success is based [i.e., the incandescent bulb]. They started this campaign around the turn of the century, ten years ago. Their line of thought is clear: banning incandescent bulbs creates an interesting market for new kinds of home lighting, such as "energy savers" (CFL's, compact fluorescent lamps) and LED's (light emitting diodes). The mark-up on these new products is substantially higher than that on old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. (...) Is it fair to judge light bulbs on the efficiency with which they convert watts into lumens? The combined lobby from Big Business and Big Environment has attempted to convince us that old-fashioned bulbs waste a lot of energy. (...) There is yet another problem: the quality of the light produced by CFL's and LED's. Their light is unnatural; it is unsuitable for an atmosphere of coziness in living rooms, not to mention bedrooms. (...) In 2006, Dutch legislators caved in under the combined lobbying pressure by Philips and Greenpeace. A parliamentary majority in The Hague embraced the idea of banning incandescent bulbs and ordered the Dutch Environment Minister, Jacqueline Cramer, to lobby for an extension of the ban to all states in the European Union."

Last updated on 16 May 2019