Due to European legislation, the British government has begun the phase out of incandescent bulbs, to be replaced by energy-saving alternatives. The alternatives that are available on the market are Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL), Energy-Efficient Halogens (EEH) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). Whilst previous research has shown that CFLs emit UVC, UVB and UVA, there is conflicting data available on whether double enveloped CFLs are a safer alternative to single enveloped CFLs for individuals suffering from photosensitivity. The emission spectra of 106 single enveloped CFLs and 65 double enveloped CFLs were measured. There were 17 different models of single enveloped CFLs, including lamps from 6 different manufacturers (ranging from 8–20 W) and 9 models of double enveloped CFLs from 6 different manufacturers (7–15 W). In addition, the emission spectra of 53 LEDs and 56 EEHs were also analysed. The LEDs consisted of 8 different models, from 3 manufacturers, spanning between 2.5 and 12 W. There were 11 models of EEH from 6 different manufacturers with wattages ranging from 28–70 W. In order to reduce sample bias, some bulbs were provided by the lighting industry federation and others were purchased randomly from local retailers. The results validate previous research in that considerable variation exists in the UV emitted from CFLs. This variation in UV levels is true, not only within different makes and models but also, surprisingly, within a box of 8 seemingly identical bulbs supplied by a single manufacturer. It was concluded that double enveloped CFLs do reduce the levels of UVC and UVB and therefore are a safer alternative for photosensitive individuals. However, as some double enveloped CFLs and EEHs do emit UVA at levels that provoke a reaction in the skin of UVA sensitive individuals, newly emerging LEDs that have minimal UV levels may provide a safer alternative.
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Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences
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