Lupus and energy saving lightbulbs- they give off... - LUPUS UK

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Lupus and energy saving lightbulbs- they give off uva rays!


I have recently completed a study which looked at the effects of energy saving light bulbs on people who suffer from lupus.

Energy saving lightbulbs emmit amounts of uva and uvc rays, especially the spiral one. Any energy light saving bulbs emmit the rays but the ones not encased are the worst ones for it. Although I did not have a physical reaction to the lights many in the sample test of lupus patients did.

I have been told that when the stdu is complete the result will be put on lupus uk website, and that there is the hope that by taking the findings to downing street we can get the price of LED lights lowered as these retail at roughly £30 and are energy saving without the harmful rays.

I would advise anyone with lupus who has energy saving lights to look at replacing them with encased or different lightbulbs.

11 Replies

Thank you for this info whoopi I hate these light bulbs think theya re dreadful for the eyes as they take so long to get a proper light, and they are dangerous when broken they emmit a nasty gas I ahve read and if you do get one broken youa re supposed to leave the room to air for hours.

Will be great if we can get the price of the safe ones down


I worked out a while back that Energy saving lightbulbs made me ill. The irony was that as an environmentalist I had removed all the old fashioned incandescent bulbs and installed all energy savers. So "saving the earth" was making me ill! I believe there is some evidence too that the closer the bulbs are to you, the worse the effect, and as we have low ceilings I was frequently very close to mine.

Since I discovered this - we have lived with just LEDs in the main rooms - but just this morning I tripped over the flex and have smashed a £40 light bulb!


This is very interesting! I have energy saving bulbs and I get bad heads off them. No point saving the planet if it is going to make you ill!xx

Hi-So happy to see someone blog about this. Photosensitivity is a big issue with me and artificial sources of UV (as from fluorescent lights) are hard to avoid. Although it's estimated that 40-60% of people with lupus are photosensitive, most lupus experts recommend that all people with the disease avoid UV radiation. There is a wonderful website that has a lot of information about UV. Although I think the site is based in the US, the facts are not! Sun1 ( is not a commercial site. It exists for people who are photosensitive--whether they have lupus, xeroderma pigmentosum, or some other condition.

Fluorescent lights don't just give us headaches--they can make us sick!

megs_tom in reply to lupuswriter

Probably silly question, but do the strip lights (fluorescent) in schools give off UV? Just when Idid my last 6 week placement in school they had those lights and by the end of each day I had a migraine and felt drained and I swore the lights gave me the migraines as when it had been a really bright day and I had not needed the lights on I never felt like that. Xx

lupuswriter in reply to megs_tom

Hi-There is nothing silly about this question. I find contradictory material on the question of UV and interior lighting—maybe because there are vested interests (for example, businesses would have to invest in more expensive lighting) that would like this information not to become widely known. Anyway, the answer to your question is: all compact fluorescent lights emit UV radiation. Shielded fluorescent lights emit less radiation. I found a relatively recent (2009) research article from the University of Oklahoma,which discusses this issue. The article describes different kinds of UV radiation emitted from a variety of light sources. The authors of the article suggest that not only is UV from fluorescent bulbs dangerous for people who have lupus, but that maybe this kind of exposure is potentially harmful to everyone.(article location:

Thanks to whoopi for starting this discussion. I think we have to raise awareness and work to make public spaces and our homes safer for all of us.

Paul_HowardAdministrator in reply to megs_tom

Hi Megs_tom. I've spoken to many lupus patients who notice flare-like symptoms when exposed to strip lights. Many work places and shops have these. If you notice that they affect you, I would recommend wearing sun block to protect yourself. Your employer should also be prepared to make reasonable adjustments for you if they are affecting your health. Filter films to go over the lights can be bought. If you go to our eclipse website for light sensitivity you'll be able to find out more.

Hi megs_tom - don't know about everybody but they certainly make me sick. I sit under 2 at work and for me its like sitting on a sunbed all day. I wear factor 50 all over to protect my skin & have to re-apply immediately after washing my hands but when the sun shines by the time I get home my lungs are so swollen it hurts immensely to breathe. Sadly I can't move desks because there's 2 over everybody's desk! I had them removed but one of my colleagues complain it was making HER headache! Xx

megs_tom in reply to WestEndGirl

Aww my heart goes out to you, how horrible! As if things are not hard enough to live with without being made ill at work through lighting! Can you not ask your employer about changing the lighting and explain how it affects you? Big hugs to you xx

good thread and something I think needs more awareness raising!

I am uv sensitive and thought it had 'calmed down' as I hadn't really reacted for years. I started a new job in an office with old,common, generally accepted, long tube strip lights. It wasn't until I looked sunburned that I made the connection that it was the sensitivity and that I wasn't really the idiot who couldn't think in the office!! Most embarrassing - and concerning to my employer - in a new post.

Before being in this office I had managed to control my uv exposure without even thinking about it. My employer purchased filming from eclipse and we covered the windows and lights and it made all the difference. We have now moved office with smaller covered lights which do not seem to have an effect, However, I do find myself not even turning them on when I am in the office on my own. Don't know if that is instinct or habit!

Have just found this. Undiagnosed but photosensitive - bought a spiral daylight energy saving bulb yesterday and noticed my scalp itching, hence the googling to find out why. So I'm conducting an experiment to see how horrendous it makes me feel and if there's a link.

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