Thursday, March 1, 2007

Preserve your health -- become an outlaw

The state of California is discussing banning incandescent bulbs.  I think this letter from a fellow patient who is terribly affected by fluorescents says it all:

<<Hello all

My good friend and fellow founder of the north London ME Network, Evelyne
Muller, has as part of her ME extreme sensitivity to fluorescent light (as
well as being unable to use computers for similar reasons).  She spotted an
article in the Guardian newspaper regarding a proposal to ban ordinary
(incandescent) bulbs and force us all to use long-life (fluorescent) bulbs in
the interest of the environment.  She dashed off a letter to the Guardian -
I've pasted it below.  It seems like we may have to get a campaign going on
this issue and we need to collect information about how many people could have
their lives even more limited by a potential ban on ordinary bulbs. If you are
affected by fluorescent lighting, even if only slightly, please let us know by
contacting Evelyne via the following email JanWhitmore@uwclub.net


Julia Cameron

----- Original Message -----
From: Jan Whitmore
To: letters@guardian.co.uk
Sent: 22 February 2007 21:24
Subject: "Should we ban these bulbs?" Article, G2 dated 22.2.07


Dear Editor

The issues raised by the question on your front page (February 22nd) - "If
Australia can ban these, why can't we?" - next to a picture of an incandescent
light bulb, concerns me deeply.  Fluorescent energy-saving bulbs can trigger a
whole array of horrendous symptoms, particularly amongst people with
neurological disorders.

I am equally as concerned to reduce the O2 emissions as those who propose the
ban.  I have been a green and ethical consumer for over twenty years, have had
solar panels on my house for five years and am a long-standing member of
Friends of the Earth.  However, choice in light bulbs is essential because,
just like food and medicines which we ingest, taking in different qualities of
light affects us differently as individuals and can cause damaging side
effects.  My own intolerance to fluorescent lighting developed after a bad
bout of glandular fever twenty-eight years ago, which damaged my inner ear,
caused visual and neurological impairment, and left me weak enough to have to
use a wheelchair for three years.  I was diagnosed with ME.  Too much exposure
to fluorescent lighting has caused me numerous relapses and other people I
have met with ME, MS, epilepsy, migraine, and simply sensitivity, also suffer
varying degrees of unwellness from energy-saving light bulbs.

Your reporter, Les Hickman in G2 (February 22 - "Should we ban these bulbs?"),
seems unaware of these health issues - as I am sure most people are, who are
not affected by them.  There is, however, already some research in the public
domain, even relating fluorescents to conditions mimicing dyslexia in young
children.  Much more research is necessary, particularly to produce
energy-saving bulbs that do not cause these distressing symptoms.

I say to those who want to ban the bulb that I admire your determined stance
to help our ailing planet, but please listen.  If I was sitting under
energy-saving light bulbs now, I could not write this letter.  I would
experience dizziness, visual and mental disorientation, pains in muscles,
swollen joints and increasing weakness from which it can take months and years
to recover.   Last year the first death from ME was recorded by the Coroner
for England and Wales.  This is a serious issue - and I wonder how others are
affected with less robust nervous symptoms, babies, for example.  In our zeal
to help the environment we must not blunt our humanity and go for the  quick
fix, however attractive.  We share life on this beautiful planet and need to
listen and learn from one another.

Education about energy efficiency and  removal of financial barriers are
vital, but a ban by those who cannot appreciate how lighting affects the more
sensitive among us will be inhumane, making some of us prisoners in our
candle-lit houses.

Yours sincerely

Evelyne Muller,
c/o JanWhitmore@uwclub.net   >>

Personally, I have some problems with fluorescents, nowhere near as bad as Evelyne's, but I still wouldn't want to deal with them.  If California bans incandescents, I'll bring them back from Nevada by the case rather than subject myself to the exacerbation of symptoms caused by fluorescents.

Although the manufacturers tell you that they have fixed some of the things people complained about in first-generation CFLs, the people whose health is affected by fluorescents say that they have not fixed the problems that cause the health issues.